what is one to believe?
if one were to believe our president, iraq and saddam hussein will be spreading death and destruction across the middle east, and perhaps the world, if we don’t do our “duty” (i.e., bring death and destruction to the iraqi regime as soon as possible).
then again, there are many people far more informed than yours truly who would say the opposite – hussein does not pose an imminent threat, and we should let weapons inspectors do their job. after all, how hard do you think it would be to find a few roomfulls of nasty biological agents in an area the size of california?? i think i’d like to have more than a month or so to do the job…
and so, i will sit briefly in my political analysts’s virtual armchair and offer my thoughts…
logic does not appear to be in the extensive vocabulary of our president. or at least, he doesn’t appeal to logic in making his arguments. emotion rules the day when he speaks about the “threats” to american liberty posed by iraq.
a few points…
1. iraq probably has some nasty stuff, but why would they use it?
saddam hussein may be a lunatic, and an oppressive dictator who tortures his own people, but i would argue that he is not stupid. he has not stayed in power this long, with this much opposition, without having a few high-octane brain cells. what could he possibly gain by using WMDs (weapons of mass destruction, for those not in tune with the argot of global warfare)? if he has them and used them, the world would come down on him like rain in seattle…it would all be over. it just doesn’t make sense that iraq would poison israeli infidels with anthrax, or blow up the saudis just for kicks, or lob a few SCUD missiles towards the US (damn, you mean they don’t fly 10000 miles?).
2. why are we so concerned about this NOW?
saddam hussein has always been a bad person. ok, so maybe we didn’t think he was so bad when we gave him weapons to fight iran, but who’s counting? since the gulf war, he has been a megalomaniacal tyrant bent on building weapons and bolstering his position within the country. what has changed in the last few months to merit this intensity of attention, this drive to disarm now, or face the consequences? hmmm…let’s see…we haven’t caught osama bin laden. the US economy is flagging and dragging. the so-called “war on terrorism” isn’t really playing as well as it used to. i know! let’s manufacture a new enemy to distract and despise!
3. links to al qaeda? give me a break…please.
i have read numerous articles by supposedly intelligent journalists, and heard countless reasons, that make a good case why the iraqis would have absolutely no interestin dealing with terrorists like al qaeda. hussein’s regime is secular – they have no links to islamic fundamentalism or its cause. they don’t even like those guys, because they’re more nuts than hussein is himself. where is the evidence that hussein has been concocting nefarious plots with osama and his buddies? (silence) well, there was that meeting that might have happened in prague between an iraqi official and some al qaeda operative… (silence) maybe colin powell will lay it all out for us next week at the UN.
4. hussein does not hold a monopoly on brutal despotism. why do we turn a blind eye or seek diplomacy over war with nations other than iraq?
hussein is a convenient, recognizable, target. with sufficient horsepower in the propaganda machine, he can be portrayed in a way that creates fear and doubt and the apparent need for action. brutal, tribal regimes in africa that slaughter their enemies with abandon? not our problem. north korea? hmmm…that’s a tough one. let’s let diplomacy take its course. saudi arabia? well, yeah, they don’t really treat their women very well, and they’re kind of mean, but they’re our buddies!
in short, i would argue, from a strictly logical standpoint, that military action in iraq makes no sense, at least not at the moment. the downside would be terrible. the upside? what upside? regime change? put it this way – any person who can unify the Ba’ath party, the Kurds, and the sunni muslims deserves the nobel peace prize – twice.
and now it is time for me to leave the political armchair and move someplace a little more comfortable and a little less ambiguous…
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