Wednesday, December 04, 2002

on iraq. one thing is missing from what i have seen of the talking heads and what i have read, and this is a serious discussion of the impact of such an event on regional stability and what exactly happens after said invasion.

let's look at the example of the recent war with afghanistan. yes, this could be considered "an effective" carpet-bombing campaign that seemed to rid us of some demons, which is what i am gathering is suggested for iraq. but if you continue reading coverage of the current status of the country, which you will notice is quickly fading and being buried on page A22, you would know that the united states has turned down offers from countries such as germany for more peace-keeping troops. this is interesting, especially considering that recent reports also confirm that the taliban is regrouping and seizing control over territory in the country again. it is not enough to simply run over to a country, carpet-bomb the place, and not be around to nation-build, and even go so far as to refuse offers of help from allies in this spectrum. herein lies the problem itself: we can bomb all the countries in the world back into the stone age, but unless we kill everyone there, there will be rebuilding to do, or we will face the same problems of terrorist-harbouring repressive states. i'm going to assume that there isn't a serious contigency that still exists on the planet that would support killing everyone. it is a simple concept: clean up after yourself. if you're going to a place to 'help rid' the plague of totalitarianism and to make the world 'safe for democracy,' nation-building is required. it is an important and vital step in combating terrorism, one which i do not see the bush administration pursuing in an active manner.

for this reason, i reject out of hand the idea of war with iraq. we still have serious work to do in afghanistan, and now the administration is suggesting that we go carpet-bomb iraq and "take saddam out"? i have yet to hear one serious plan for how this administration plans to deal with a post-saddam iraq. don't get me wrong; i am no fan of saddam. is there anyone who is? but there is a question here that relates to general values and knowledge.

iraq is a substantially sized country smack in the middle of a tumultuous region. in the south, there are shi'a muslims, providing a linkage to iraq's neighbor iran. in the north, there are kurds, who are the victims of saddam's chemical weapons experiments, as we all know by now. we are speaking of a country essentially made up by the british in the 1920's, its various factions only held together over time by a strong, heavy-handed and not necessarily benevolent leadership.

let us focus on the kurds. this is a group of people who have been struggling for independence for decades now. in iraq's neighbor turkey, the kurds wage a serious battle for independence, even using terrorism.

how come none of the talking heads on television are asking the obvious question, which is: what on earth makes us think that in a new iraq, an iraq without saddam, the kurds in the north will not try to splinter off and form kurdistan with the kurds of turkey, thereby destablizing turkey (one of the main U.S. allies in the region)? how on earth does the bush administration plan to maintain iraq as a stable state at all, much less with a u.s.-imposed leader? the world has yet to see this administration demonstrate its prowess in creating a viable state in afghanistan; why should we give it a mandate to go to iraq now?

other things that must be considered while entertaining the prospect of war with iraq: the almost inevitable repercussions on the people of the state of israel. while we listen to talking heads speak daily of saddam's lunacy, the truth is that these people must not actually believe he is really crazy or that he has weapons of mass destruction, or they are desperately irresponsible people. because let us speak realistically here. donald rumsfeld was on television the other day saying that even if the inspectors don't find anything, it's because saddam has already hidden everything. slow down, back up---think. you're saddam. the inspectors are in your country, but you are still watching cnn and hearing rumsfeld say he isn't satisfied. you know that if the u.s. invades this time, they are taking you out, period. this mission cannot fail. what, exactly, do you, saddam hussein, have to lose by launching whatever weapons you have at israel, the major ally of the u.s. in the region and the one within in closest 'acceptable' striking distance, both politically and geographically? "preemptively"? for all these comparisons to hitler, somehow it is not coming up that hitler's last order was to destroy germany. if saddam is a madman, what makes us think that if we back him into a corner where he seemingly has no way out diplomatically, which is where the bush administration is putting him now---what on earth makes us think he won't try to take down as many israeli lives as possible with him, preemptively or after an invasion? is this an acceptable risk to the bush administration and the congress that gives the executive a blank check to run after anyone as it sees fit?

there are a lot of questions that need to be answered. i'll probably add to this particular diatribe at a later date.

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