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Saturday, April 19, 2003
Instead of replying individually to all these emails I'm getting, here's a summary of my thoughts on the war's outcome so far:
Why I Still Oppose This War Having Been Fought
It is truly wonderful to see Iraqis in the streets celebrating their release from Sadaam's hell. It is also worth considering that sometimes we can do the right thing (get rid of Sadaam) for the wrong reason (oil and geostrategic positioning) with the wrong methods (full-scale war that kills nearly 2000 civilians, injures thousands more, and massacres tens of thousands of Iraqi soldiers) with additional results we don't want (fueling recruitment for Al Qaeda; providing "the-U.S.-did-it-so-we-can-also" justification for other countries to wage war on those who haven't attacked them).
Also remember, the Lebanese greeted the Israelis in 1982 with smiles and flowers, but when the Israelis refused to leave, the Lebanese drove them out with violence. So let's just wait and see how long we stay in Iraq, whether the Iraqi government that eventually takes over is truly an independent democracy or really a U.S. puppet regime, and how well the average Iraqi is doing once a U.S.-type capitalist, World Bank-friendly economy starts its inevitable creation of massive income inequality.
Oh yeah, and what happens if the Iraqi people democratically decide they want a virulently anti-Israeli Islamic theocracy as their form of government?
Are We Safer?
Amidst all our self-congratulatory bluster about how well the war went, how do we know that our worst fears have not come true, and that when the invasion started, or sometime thereafter, Saddam did not indeed pass on WMD's -- anthrax, nerve gas, etc. -- to Al Qaeda or others? Saddam could well have distributed such WMD's to trusted aides around the world, with instructions to pass the poisons on to their local Al Qaeda rep in the event of an invasion or some other specified event thereafter.
Since those WMD's would likely not be used immediately, but would only be used after long and careful planning by Al Qaeda, as in their other attacks, it will be some time before we can be sure that this transfer of WMD's did not take place.
On the Right-wing's Newfound Concern for the Iraqi People
Even after it was clear that Saddam Hussein had gassed the Kurds, killing thousands in 1983, Donald Rumsfeld went immediately afterwards to Iraq to curry favor with Saddam. So now when Rumsfeld talks about his concern for the well-being of the Iraqi people, excuse me if those of us with some historical facts in our brains don't believe him (and feel like puking).
When Saddam was committing the majority of his human rights abuses, the U.S. was his ally. Indeed, we helped put his Baathist Party in power decades ago. While the right-wing was supporting Saddam all this time, the left-wing and human rights groups were condemning Saddam's human rights abuses and calling for the U.S. to end its support of his brutal dictatorship. Just like the left-wing and human rights groups called on the U.S. to end its support of numerous other brutal dictatorships around the world.
As long as a dictator does our bidding, the U.S. will support him. Look at Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the �stans even now. When the U.S. government and right-wing decided to no longer support Saddam, then all of a sudden the well-being of the Iraqi people was a big thing to them. And the imbecilic American public buys into that, supporting a war to "liberate" the Iraqi people whom the war doesn't kill.
So don't ask me why I'm not in favor of getting rid of Saddam. I was. But not the way we did so, and not by the people who did it, who don't give a damn about the Iraqi people.
The Bushians don't even give a damn about the American people, let alone the Iraqis!
On Our "Historic" Military Accomplishment
If I hear one more time from a right-wing nutjob commentator about how this is the greatest military accomplishment in the history of the universe... I have no indication that the men and women in our armed forces aren't performing excellently, according to their training. I have no beef with them. That being said, the major accomplishment cited halfway through the war was getting 250 miles to "within 50 miles of Bagdhad" so quickly. Well, they were essentially unopposed as they traveled in mechanized vehicles at top speed through a virtually uninhabited portion of the desert. That's not a military feat. That's a driving accomplishment. We controlled broad swatches of desolate terrain. How many cities did we hold? How much of a percentage of the Iraqi population was under our control? By the latter two measures, this was not the greatest military drive in the history of the universe.
Now that we do control the cities and the country after a three week war, the triumphalism has gotten even more deafening.
But let's remember: this is all against a country with less than 1/10 our population and a military that is, compared to ours, like a skinny little 5 year old against Mike Tyson. If Mike Tyson easily beats the crap out of the kid, no one would or should be surprised. And everyone would think he was pretty much a deluded asshole if Mike Tyson then bragged about what a great fight he had just undertaken.
Oh yeah, one other thing. If the 5 year didn't fight by the Marquis of Queensbury rules, and tried to kick Tyson in the balls or the like, would anyone say the 5 year old was fighting "unfairly?" Give the 5 year old another 15 years, 200 pounds of muscle and years of training, and then he might not resort to "dirty" fighting. Get the meaning?
Jack Clark 8:03 PM [+]