Tuesday, April 13, 2004


CNN.com headline this morning (morning relative to EST)... "Iraqi clerics say coalition 'must pay' for crisis."

Not getting into the debate over whether or not the US should have invaded last year, I think the attitude exemplified by the headline above is both interesting and telling. One result of the US toppling of the Bath party has been a chance for self determination for Iraqis. Now distrust of the US is predictable and understandable. But, boy, wouldn't it be nice if these Iraqi militants put as much effort into positive reconstruction efforts as they do into trying to die a martyr?

Toppling Saddam was a nice goal, but trust the Bush administration to get into a mess without thinking it through. Our stated goal of democratizing Iraq always bothered me. In order to be legitimate, Democracy has to be first desired, then earned. Democracy imposed on an unwilling population isn't democracy. The Bushites seem to have the evangelical view of Democracy. It seems to me that they felt it they showed up, waved the flag and gave personal testimonials, then the Iraqi's would accept George Washington into their hearts, and embrace Baseball, Apple Pie and America. Not to mention we expect a Muslim nation to freely accept a secular government not headed by a tyrant? And we're dealing with a culture where there is no concept not only of secular government, but also of self determination. Do we really think that Iraqi's understand the responsibilities of living in a Democracy?

And all this gives rise to the question of who exactly we're at war with, and what our goals are. Again, I don't trust the Bushites to have thought this through. But we are at war with someone or something. Terrorism? Militant Islam? If we were truly at war with Terrorism, then all the dictator states that we can knock off seem like various warm ups prior to confronting the abomination that is Saudi Arabia. And, actually, the same thing could be said for Militant Islam.

So what should out short term goals be in Iraq? My fear is that we've set ourselves up in a situation where our stated goals are unachievable. Can we set up a stable legitimate government in a country that will resent anything that has our support? I don't think so. What happens if we set up a puppet and pull our troops out? The government would collapse in revolution and an anti-American nutball would probably take over, and one who is probably sympathetic to all the bad guys.

To be honest, I was hawkish on Iraq in the beginning. I felt that the UN had an obligation to follow through with the stated consequences of Saddam's behavior, and the UN pretty much failed completely. (As an aside, I think the UN is a good thing in general, if for no other reason than it gets all the nations in the same room talking to each other. But the UN has become morally corrupt. Check out the Durban racism conference that turned into a farce of antisemitism.) Now the real question becomes does the US have the responsibility or the right to go and take care of Iraq by ourselves. I think the answer to this is no unless Iraq posed a threat to the US. The Bushites realized this and tried to sell it as a "yes" to the American public via WMDs, terrorist links etc. Were we lied to? I would love to see some accountability by the administration here.

Unfortunately for those who were doves on the subject of Iraq, liberal voices against the war (in the American Media at least) were annoying at best, and flat out ignorant at worst. I remember discussing this with Mr. Hominid and Mr. Max Leader at the time, and lamenting any real public discourse. Debate over the war went something like this.

Dove: It's all about Oil!
Hawk: Saddam's Bad!
Repeat as needed.

simplistic and ignorant. Of course, looking at gas prices now, the conspiracy theorist in me wonders "Maybe it was all about oil."

And as a final thought in what's becoming a disjointed and unfocused rant, the non competitive awarding of contracts to Uncle Dick's company, Halliburton, bothers me. It stinks of corruption. Anyone who has worked for a government contractor in the US knows that no matter how dire the need, it's just not done like that. Now where's the opposition party? the Dems are so unfocused and incompetent that they can't even operate as a legit opposition anymore.

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