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Dee Yun: (contact-deleteme[at]-deleteme-direman [dot] com) 2007-01-29 08:19:46
I Ask Vargas For a Nuke, and He Draws a Gigantic Dildo...
I suppose that could qualify as a weapon of mass destruction.
Time to spiel... I'm merely a casual observer of history, as opposed to a scholar in the field of geopolitics, but I have some insights I wanted to share. Our current involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan and our "War on Terror" is just the next step in the blind two-pronged chain of knee-jerk ideological foreign policy decisions.
After losing Iran as an ally to a fundamentalist religious revolution, we got into bed with Saddam Hussein. At the time, it seemed prudent to strengthen Iraq as a safeguard against Iranian hostility. This involved financing and arming his regime, ironically, with the only WMDs Iraq ever possessed: nerve gas.
Hussein is a fascinating historical figure. It's easy to paint him as "evil" (which he was), but that's a simple term for people who need simple handles. He wasn't a "madman", but a classic Machiavellian pragmatist. Ruthless and utterly amoral, he was a dictator who operated by cold, hard calculated moves. He paid lip service to Islam, but ran one of the few secular governments in the Middle East. Exercising tyranny and death, he kept three distinctly hostile peoples united as a nation, and his borders secure.
He also went to tremendous lengths to abide by American will.
It's important to understand the motivations of individuals. Politicians and pundits have continuously painted him as an enemy of the United States, but careful examination of the full range of his actions reveals much to the contrary. When he employed nerve gas (again, supplied by us) on the Kurds, our Congress mucked around with the notion of an official condemnation of the atrocity. It failed to pass. Even still, it must be noted that Hussein took note and never employed those weapons again.
If the transcripts are accurate, Hussein consulted with our ambassador, April Gillespie, on our stance in his land dispute with Kuwait. Her response to Hussein was, "We have no opinion on the Arab-Arab conflicts, like your border disagreement with Kuwait." An oil-hungry tyrant couldn't ask for a brighter green light. This is classic American diplomatic bungling. As I mentioned in my last post, historically, our diplomacy and intelligence work is as awful as our pure military prowess is unsurpassed. I lean heavily toward accepting these transcripts as accurate, because the White House's response was the classic "non-denial denial".
There was a subsequent assassination attempt on Bush Sr. Cries of "Hussein tried to bomb Bush" rang loud until it was revealed that a radical faction was responsible. More recently, an anthrax scare kept fingers pointed at Baghdad until investigations revealed the point of origin to be a domestic lab. He's clearly identifiable as a "villain"; it's easy to make the leap to "enemy". But consider motivation; why would he attempt to assassinate our President, when we left him in power and had a nation to reestablish control over? What possible benefit to his beleaguered regime would there be in launching biological attacks?
Which brings us up to the invasion. As far as I can tell, he complied with every U.N. request for compliance to weapons sanctions. W. Bush clearly had an agenda to invade, regardless of Hussein's actions. I carefully followed the rhetoric at the time, and kept an open mind up until Colin Powell's presentation of "evidence" to the United Nations. A minimum of research revealed to me that said evidence was based on British intelligence almost a decade old. At that point, I tried convincing everyone about the fallacy of the reasons for the military action and the sheer cost that would be involved, but for the most part, people dismissed me as "unpatriotic" in a blind frenzy of flag waving and ribbon pinning.
The result of our invasion is that Al Queda is now operating in Iraq. There were never any ties before. Osama Bin Ladin despised Hussein for being a bad Muslim (even offered Saudi Arabia's ruler to send mujahideen to fight Iraq after they invaded Kuwait), and Hussein's tyranny kept the flow of terrorists out. There were never any ties before, but they're there now. We've lost over 3000 soldiers. We're approaching federal bankruptcy.
We also opened Pandora's Box with the policy of "preemption". It just seemed to be the coward's suckerpunch to hit them before they could hit us, even before I rejected our President's justifications. In retrospect, we've set a dangerous precedent: Japan, whose constitution allows only for defensive armed forces, is bandying about talk of attacking North Korea. If preemption is a defensive action, who's to stop them? Could China now employ such empty rhetoric to justify an invasion of Taiwan? We now have no moral ground to comment on Russia and Chechnya.
We now have rogue nuclear threats. Both Iran and North Korea are expending enormous financial and political currency to achieve nuclear status. Forget our relationship with them, their own allies are exerting tremendous pressure on them for this pursuit. Economically crippling U.N. sanctions are not deterring them. Why now, suddenly, in the face of so much cost are they continuing this path? The easy answer is, "Duh, they're the Axis of Evil". That actually is the proper answer as well, but it requires a bit more thought. Bush dubbed these three nations with the moniker, and invaded one of them. Now what's the one thing, the only thing, that would make the United States think twice of taking military action against them?
As for the "War on Terror", all we've accomplished in Iraq is going up and smacking the beehive. We've only fostered a new generation of extremist Muslims who are now willing to take action to destroy us. They're loaded guns looking to spill blood; I can only pray that they don't have another capable leader like Osama bin Laden to point them and pull the trigger.
And on that note, I'll save the second prong, bin Laden and Afghanistan, for the next post.