The US government is showing far too much of the former, and far too little of the latter.
The US government has gone out of it’s way, yet straight to it’s interests – over and over and over.
What are the arguments for going to war?
I’d like to address what you might have to say, there are many arguments – most of which I consider preposterous, however, since you must believe in the credibility of at least some of them…here it goes, in no particular order.
1. A war on Iraq is part of the ‘War on Terror’ – do you go for that? Even knowing that whether or not Osama Bin Laden & Al Qaeda were responsible for the WTC horror – they are certainly not affliated with Saddam Hussein – in fact, if anything – Osama Bin Laden has constantly villified Saddam Hussein, as an oppressor of his people. Iraq has not engaged in any aggresions of any kind since the Gulf War (I should say the ‘first’ Gulf War, since there obviously may be sequels…) – if anything – he has been relatively sedate. The war on terror – if that were the motive – and looking at motives is necessary – as is looking towards potential results – does not start with Iraq. I suggest you sample world opion and see who the majority of the world community (I’m assuming you support democratic principles…) do think is a regime inspiring terror.
2. Sadam Hussein might be in possession of Weapons of Mass destruction – do you go for that one? If so, doesn’t it bother you in the least that the US government possesses untold thousands of these? That it is refusing to disarm, that if anything the defense budget is becoming quite astronomical? The facts are these; Who *does* have nuclear capability? The United States, The United Kingdom, France, Pakistan, India, Russia, and China. I got this from CNN just now. Oddly enough, the ONLY country in the category of ‘Undeclared Nuclear Nations’ is Israel. Surprised? I’m not. In fact, Israel has at least 200-300 nuclear missiles. Uninspected, undeclared, and armed to the teeth. And I will say this; how is the US reacting to the Northern Korean situation? I would say, with some degree of caution, maybe even fear. In this conflict – it is the US government that’s blinking – not Korea. When Bush said “Sanctions!”, they said “War!” – when they said “War!”, Bush said “Diplomacy!”. I can’t help but think that if the US government actually believed, for a split-second that Iraq had these weapons, they’d be behaving much differently.
3. Cheap Oil. Yes, absolutely. If that’s your argument, then I can’t debate it. I can only react with an all too familiar nausea…and an overriding sensation that you have forgotten not only what’s inside Spiderman, but what’s inside Daredevil, Captain America (who comic book readers might rememeber had to give up his costume and shield – issues #323-#327? – something like that, I forget – because he would not serve what he considered a government that had failed the ideals of America…), and a host of other heroes. Yeah, if your car’s gas is worth that much, and it is much, then I cannot debate your point. I have however read a piece by Robert Redford (but as you say, what would he know…) saying that the highest patriotism would consist in weaning America off fossil fuels. The US just might be a serious Oil Junkie in need of habilitation. How does a junkie behave? Well, I had a friend who was one, and he told me straight “Sure, you’re my friend, but if I were still on the stuff – I’d lie to you, steal from you. It wouldn’t matter.” Something which might go towards explaining how Madeline Albright had no qualms about the ‘collatoral damage’ of over 500,000 Iraq children in the aftermath of the first (rememeber, we need a sequel..) Gulf War. “It was worth it.” She said.
4. Saddam Hussein is a despot – we must liberate the Iraqi people – do you go for that one? It is the most tempting, it is the devil’s sweet tongue, waxing scripture as it were. It is the feel-good, oil-rich, super moral imperative of them all. Except, it has a few flaws. It’s like burning down Waco (including the children inside…) in a so-called attempt to liberate them from the mad cultish supposed-paedophilliacs holding them hostage. It is Kipling’s white man’s burden all over again. It is colonial, it is arrogant, and is assumes a moral naivete I cannot believe you could contain. First of all – to get rational – lest you accuse me of hyper rhetoric, who’s to liberate it? The people must liberate it. The US was not ‘liberated’ by the French, or the British, it’s own people did. They will take what they can, and they will do what they must. You cannot force a democracy down somebody’s throat – and if you think that’s what’s happened in Afghanistan – well – Hamid Karzai’s entire security staff is American – could it be that he doesn’t trust his ‘fellow’ countrymen? Could it be that they both chose him and yet want to kill him? Maybe – but I’m not willing to call an entire country schizophrenic. Also – even if, even if – the argument of liberation from outside were credible, and I maintain that it is most certainly not – who do you think is qualified for that role? In 1973, on September 11, of all dates – Chile’s first democratically elected leader was assasinated in the aftermath of a coup d’etat – orchestrated with gleeful aid by the US government of the time – mainly on the pretext that Salvador Allende was a socialist, and therefore evil whether or not he had been democratically elected. In any case, after ‘liberating’ Chile, the US government promptly helped place none other than General Pinochet- and that’s a story you might want to look up.
I can come up with more, but I’m out of steam and this is just painful.