Why Iraq and why now?

I actually wrote this before the president’s speech, but didn’t get it posted until after. Timing is everything.

One should never discuss politics or religion unless prepared to have a battle of wills. I suppose sexuality could be added to that old axiom, but that tends to be either political or religious depending on your point of view.

The USA certainly is embroiled in a real battle royale between peace-loving hippies out of touch with reality and the gun-toting neanderthal warmongers. That should offend just about everyone.

I spent 12 years in the US Army; I am proud of the time I served and feel that my contribution helped to improve our national defense just a bit. I’m also a strong proponent of civil liberties, which always led to amusing conversations when I was in the Army.

One of the things which bothers me about many of the debates in which I find myself online lately is the inability of most people to concede a point. The unwavering ability to believe oneself perfectly informed about every issue is rampant, it seems. I don’t know everything, and I’m occasionally wrong (not as often as some people, but enough to keep me humble). Here are a few random thoughts on the current imbroglio.

Iraq’s threat to the US – There really isn’t one, is there? I firmly believe that Saddam Hussein is a bad person; he indiscriminately kills his own people and is an ardent expansionist with delusions of grandeur. Iraq would probably be better off with one of his rivals in power. He’s also no threat to the US or its citizens. He has shown no missile ability which can even reliably hit Israel, much less the United States or its territories. If he’s so much of a threat to this great nation, why did we have to forge documents to that effect? If he’s such a terror now, why wasn’t he a terror in August 2001? Why do we have to take him out now , and why without international support?

Afghanistan – Why are we not finishing the job we promised we’d do there? President Karzai needs help with his nascent government. We pledged to assist him in the rather arduous task of creating an entire free society out of whole cloth. But we have basically thrown the Afghan people to the wolves, in the persons of various warlords we neglected to remove from positions of power.

Hussein is a bad guy – Yes, he is.Ⴕt to justify our actions in Iraq based on some human rights issue is disingenuous. If we were worried about human rights violations, why not check out our friends in Turkey or Saudi
Arabia
or Egypt?

Al Qaeda – There is no credible evidence of Bin Laden and Hussein cooperating, and many reasons to believe they dislike each other and each others’ methods. Besides that, shouldn’t we be hunting down Bin Laden, who we know is a terrorist?

DPRK – North Korea to most of you, the DPRK is known to have ballistic missiles (Iraq almost certainly has none). The DPRK is known to have chem and bio stockpiles of enormous size (Iraq probably has some but less). The DPRK is run by an unpredictable lunatic who has been a sheltered hermit his entire life (need I say we supported Iraq 15 years ago?). The DPRK is suspected of having one or two nuclear warheads, and has recently restarted the nuclear reactor at Yongbyon to produce more plutonium (Iraq has no credible nuke program). And we are ignoring Kim Jong Il why?

I can go on for pages, but this is the basic crux of things. Much more would be mere dissembling. The shorter arguments, while easier to understand, are also harder to refute.

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Gary

Random gibberish from my mind, mostly dealing with technology, cooking, politics, and my family. Occasional cat posts - be warned.

3 thoughts on “Why Iraq and why now?”

  1. Most of what you’ve just said, I’ve been saying to many of my friends too. Saddam IS a bad man, no doubt about that. But he’s also a mostly impotent petty tyrant and local bully. The biggest threat he’s ever been has been to Kuwait. He’s really just a small evil fish in a great big pond. He’s the sort of thing that a small strike force could deal with, not an entire army. Most of Iraq would probably thank us. But the world will not thank us for sending in mass troops to demoralize and demolish a nation in order to take out one dictator based on spurious evidence of collaboration with terrorists. It should have been a HUGE wake-up to Bush that very few other countries supported action against Iraq. It seems to me if several dozen heads of state say, this is a bad idea, then maybe it’s truly a bad idea.

    Peter Jennings has just informed us that the US is being taken to “Terror Alert: High”. Bush apparently says that we can almost assuredly expect some sort of retaliatory attack against US concerns/property over this ultimatum. So, more innocent americans get to die for Bush’s Christian Democracy Driven Jihad. Fucking wonderful.

  2. The link you cite does not support the assertion that the United States forged documents. If anything, it supports the idea that the United States relied on poorly forged documents — evidence of incompetence, which is bad enough, but not of duplicity, as you imply.

    Iraq is not a clear and immediate threat to the United States or its allies. Iraq is likely to become a clear and immediate threat to the United States and its allies, to the extent that it is permitted to retain prohibited weapons and develop more of them. See also, North Korea.

    The Bush administration is wrong not to be helping the Karzai government in Afghanistan more than it is. That said, the idea that we’ve thrown Karzai to the wolves is unvarnished hyperbole.

    The argument that unless we deal with human rights abuses everywhere (Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Egypt), we cannot deal with human rights abuses anywhere (Iraq) is profoundly stupid, and probably dishonest to boot — unless we can count on your support when we move to overthrow Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, et cetera.

    There is no persuasive evidence establishing a link between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda. There is substantial evidence establishing links between Saddam Hussein and international terrorism (e.g., his subsidizing of Palestinian terror-bombings, his sheltering of the PLF and Abu Nidal, and so on). The fact that Iraq has no clear relationship with al Qaeda is only a relevant anti-war argument insofar as you construe the War On Terror as the War On Al Qaeda And Osama Bin Laden.

    We are pursuing Osama Bin Laden/al Qaeda. You may have noticed the recent capture of Khalid Sheik Mohammed.

    We are ignoring North Korea because a military solution would come at a higher cost; because we refuse to pay diplomatic tribute to Pyongyang; and because time is on our side given the increasingly desperate economic crisis faced by Kim Jong Il’s government.

    I can go on for pages, but this is the basic crux of things. Much more would be mere dissembling. The shorter arguments, while easier to understand, are also harder to refute.

  3. If the intelligence organizations of the US chose to rely on (apparently amateurishly) forged documents, and publicized them to an international forum, they believed them without reading them. That’s as close to forging them as is possible to get without actually opening up the engraving stand themselves.

    If the DPRK is a threat, why not go after it? Iraq is contained, and can continue to be contained for the foreseeable future, through the use of the sanctions and observers we’ve had in place for 12 years. Why now?

    The President equates Bin Laden with the War on Terror, so I feel it’s a reasonable connection to make myself.

    We are throwing Karzai to the wolves. Numerous news reports say the same thing – there is realistically no government outside Kabul. Also, the military of Afghanistan is so underfunded they have only been able to attract 1500 soldiers to be trained. That’s not even a decent-sized Regiment.

    I do not imply that we should overthrow anyone, unless they are a clear and present danger. Saying that they might be a danger someday is not the same as their being a danger today. The human rights abuses in Iraq are horrible, it is true. But why are we so willing to use them as an excuse to bomb the country when we are unwilling to even acknowledge the existence of human rights abuses in our allies? And let’s be honest, Saudi Arabia is no friend, merely a short-term ally.

    Yes, Hussein is a bad guy. Yes, he supports the suicide bombers in Palestine. Yes, he should be removed from power. But, why are we doing it and why is it urgent?

    I don’t give answers, I merely pose questions. More people should think. You obviously have. Kudos for a good, well-spoken response.

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