gun 1: The Kurds.
Several thousand villages obliterated with the use of both chemical
and biological agents. And we should include the Shiites he has also gassed.
gun 2: The Iranians.
Thousands of Iranians were gassed in the greatest use of gas since
Smoking gun 3:
The first UN Inspectors documented that Iraq had ten thousand
liters of Anthrax and large amounts of Mustard Gas, plus some VX.
He clearly was making it. For
what? Just to see if he could
do it? For termites and
So we know, KNOW, that in
the early 1990 he had a LOT of the stuff and that fact has never been
seriously questioned. But to
date, not a single credible bit of evidence has been forthcoming that he
destroyed it; in fact he now denies EVER having it.
Listen to that uncontested fact ring in your ears for a moment: he
denies having the very stuff we all know he used on his neighbors and his
own people. Is that credible
to you? When, if war comes, he threatens to use chemicals which he also
says he does not and has never had, does that not seem just a touch
Now, you tell me why the obvious
conclusion is NOT that he still has it and would use it?
You tell me why we should believe ANYthing he says in this regard? Let’s say that I am standing alone in a room
with nothing around me and with a book in my hand, but am blindfolded and
with my ears plugged. If I
let go of the book I do not have to see or hear it hit the floor to know
that it did.
But, OK, there
is no hard evidence at this point so on what do we rely. Well
according to the Woodward (no lover of Bush) book, when the CIA director
went to Bush and said it was a "slam dunk" that IRaq had the stuff, Bush
was not sure. So he asked the allies, the British in particular.
MI5 assured him that to the best of their knowledge yes they had
biologicals and gas and were trying to develop nuclear capabilities.
Still unsure, Bush asked his then new bud, Putin, what the Russians
believed and was assured that GRU (Russian foreign intelligence; KGB is
actually for intenal security) too was confident Saddam had these
Now I ask you,
if both your own and your friend's and your former enemy's intelligence,
all agree they have it, do you not have some reasonable standing to
believe they probably do, in fact, have it?
Iraq really is trying to comply with the UN and they and inspectors
just need more time
This is possibly the most inane of all the
arguments and completely misunderstands what the resolutions demand and
the nature of the inspectors, not to mention the facts.
First, re-read the resolution
itself and see if it is ambiguous to you or there is any question what it
would take in order to comply.
The salient point re the
inspectors is that the inspectors are not there now, and were not ever
there originally, to engage in a seek-and-destroy mission. They were
and are there only to
verify the destruction of those already identified weapons.
fact, although it would appear that the protestors think that inspectors
are sort of 'detectives' needing to ferret out Saddam’s weapons, nothing
could be farther from the truth. Every
demand made of Saddam has been consistent in its requirements: he is to
provide evidence of his compliance to the inspectors and they verify that
what he says happened HAS happened. At
no time were they charged with investigation.
In fact when they started to seriously do just that in the
early 1990s, they were charged with spying by Iraq.
Well, of course they were. But
that is exactly what a spy does and it was the only way they were going to
find what they were supposed to be seeing.
Spies are sort of like international detectives trying to find
information about the other team. Saddam was right, that was not what inspectors were supposed to be doing.
But it is now precisely what the protestors want them to do.
Doesn’t the illogic and circular reasoning of this sequence start
to reveal itself to you by now? It
really isn’t that complex or difficult to grasp.
Neither the protestors nor
Saddam nor the U.N. can have it both ways.
When the original inspectors got close to his weapons Saddam kicked
them out as spies. So if you
exchanged the current inspectors with real “detectives” do you think
Saddam would stand for it now when he didn’t then?
Especially now that he has made a public denial to the world of
having the stuff or ever having it? Seeing
the antics of the French and Germans willing to ignore all provocation to
avoid the war, he has little more to fear if he kicks out the inspectors
again than he did the first time.
Or do you want the inspectors
to work regardless of how you define their role? If so, then you need
to get behind the power that is the only one applying pressure to him to
do as he agreed and make Saddam believe we are unified behind that
requirement. If you really
wanted this to happen you would add your voice to all the pressure
possible to get Saddam to act properly.
So why aren’t you? Is
it because you really are supporting Saddam?
Because you really are opposed to the U.S. and think America is
inherently the bad guy here? Before
you try to distance yourself from that position I’d ask, additionally,
why you are joining your voice in events initiated, planned, and promoted
primarily by the CWP and some other organizations that have, as their
avowed purpose, the downfall of us and our whole system.
The CWP? Oh yeah, it
is the Communist Worker’s Party. Didn’t
know that’s who bankrolled the major protest events?
Why not? Are you so
politically naïve that you don’t care into whose bed you climb so long
as it give voice to your one issue? If
that is the case then throw away any claim to knowing or caring to know
the broader issues at play here.
The inspectors were not chased
from Iraq by the U.S. (despite what some would have you believe).
In fact we were instrumental in getting them there in the first
place. They were blocked from doing their job when they started to get
close to the truth by the Iraqi dictator who then charged them with
spying. The U.N. pulled them out of Iraq when it started to fear for
their safety and it was clear they were absolutely prohibited from doing
their job. For over a decade since then, Iraq has had a chance to do as
ordered but they did not make the slightest gesture, even a phony one, to
make it appear as if they were interested in compliance.
So instead of complying, Iraq
took those years complete its programs and then to hide its evidence. In
diddling around to decide if it had the nerve to uphold its own
directives, the U.N. managed to give them even more time certain in which
it only worked to clean up its evidence, not to disarm.
The French would have us
believe that Iraq cannot comply in a short time period but that is utter
foolishness. All Saddam has
to do to stop the whole thing is to show us some evidence that he did as
he promised. All he would
have to do is say he has changed his mind and wants to come clean and
start delivering records of weapons and lab locations to the inspectors
and records of weapons destruction. We
now know that the Iraqis keep careful and detail records so if those
actions were every truly taken there would be records that could be
delivered. Heck they could even fabricate them at this point and we’d
probably accept it but they haven’t even done that.
Iraq should start destroying
the stuff and inviting them to watch: not 16 of several hundred missiles
that aren’t even part of the Weapons of Mass Destruction that are the
point of all this, but real destruction of the missiles and the facilities
of construction AND the WMD stuff.
Saddam could start that process
and stop the war in an afternoon. That
is essentially what South Africa did when told to dismantle their weapons.
They said O.K., here they are, here’s what we are doing to
destroy them, please come verify it. And that is what happened.
It did not take 12 years, it did not take 4 months, it did not take
weeks. The process was
started in a matter of hours.
Of course, in the end, Saddam
is supposed to not just say he did it, but also show us with some
historically believable evidence such as photos, invoices, records,
journals, ANY thing. That might take some time to put together but
the process can be seriously started nearly instantly. Yet he provides an
old document that doesn't even address the issue or acknowledge the very
history he agreed to. This is
not compliance or even the promise of compliance.
It is avoidance and denial. And
it is accepted by some who can only be in even greater denial.
On Sunday following the latest
report by Dr. Blix, the Iraqis held a press conference in which they
stated that Blix, in the U.N. had said they were fully complying.
He said no such thing; he said they were showing “some signs”
of compliance. He further
said that they were destroying some missiles but were doing it only for
political reasons, not because they accepted there was a problem.
Now, of course, the Al-Samoud missiles are not even part of the
Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) that previous inspectors and at previous
times even Iraq itself, said it had and now denies utterly EVER happening.
Then of course some small amounts of chemical weaponry was found
and they said, oh, well, it was only for defense.
Then some more was found and they said oh, well, but it was a small
program and was destroyed. Does
no one get it that both of those re-steps absolutely contradict their
first position and the one they now hold again?
And then an interesting thing happened, Saddam threatened to use WMD on US
if we attacked.
Does no one notice a contradiction in the position that denies
having something and then threatens to use that something if a fight
The bottom line is that there
is not the slightest indication that Iraq intends to voluntarily comply
with ANY of the now 18 resolutions from the U.N.
It is the ultimate act of denial towards geo-political reality to
pretend otherwise. The only way anyone could argue that this is a
rush to war has been asleep for 12 years. Or they've been in a cave
for the last 18 months. O.J. was still leaping counters for rental
cars when Saddam was required to disarm by the U.N. so how on earth could
anyone contend this is a "rush" of any kind?
War would mostly just hurt the innocent people of Iraq.
can be no soft-peddling it: innocent people are always hurt and killed in wars.
It is one of the many tragedies of war that innocent people caught in
harms way are often caught up in the chaos and danger.
It has been this way from the time the first nomads charged across
the steppes through the villages of their foes.
But there is a difference. Until
very recently, non-combatant deaths were either part of a strategic plan
to terrorize and demoralize the enemy and done on purpose, or were part of
collateral damage considered to be an unfortunate by product but basically
unavoidable in full scale conflicts.
At least now, we—and only we—are making efforts to minimize the
cost to innocents caught in the line of fire.
It is Saddam, not us, who uses human shields and places military
targets near and sometimes in places such as hospitals and mosques.
But in many ways that really begs the point.
In order for this argument to have any weight, it has to be based
on the premises that after the smoke clears, the Iraqi people, in the
aggregate, would have been better off had we done nothing than they will
be if we go in and remove Saddam and disarm their country.
So, to aid our inquiry, let’s
have a recounting of some historical facts that are pretty much not in
It is not the
U.S. that dropped gas on the Iraqi Kurds and Shiites alike.
It was Iraq’s dictator. And
the victims were his OWN PEOPLE. And
while we're on it, it is NOT the U.S. that uses human shields of its own
people. It is Iraq. And it is because Saddam knows, which you
apparently do not, that we are far more concerned about hurting the Iraqi
people than HE is.
It was not the U.S.
that invaded—with an eye towards conquering and holding forever—a
neighboring nation and when driven back set ablaze that nation’s only
resource out of spite and with criminal disregard for the broad ecological
disaster that might ensue. It
It was not the U.S.
that used poison gas—including mustard gas—on another neighbor in a
ferocious attempt to overrun. them. It was Iraq. And it was not the U.S.
that used the same gas on its own people to put down dissent. That
too was Iraq.
It is not the U.S.
that Amnesty International says daily tortures, maims, kills, and
intimidates a huge percentage of the Iraqi population to stifle dissent,
gain information, or purely for sick and evil pleasure. It is Iraq.
It was not the
President of the U.S. that killed members of his own family who dared to
oppose his ideological and military views. It was the dictator of Iraq.
Nor is it the
U.S. President, no matter how much you dislike him or his policies, that
is so depraved that he revels in listing to tapes of screaming torture
victims and worse, enjoys watching the torture itself!
It was not the U.S.
that, in the midst of a conflict, launched missiles at a neighboring
country who was steadfastly remaining out of the fray. It was Iraq.
I’m sorry to impose some
reality on the reveries of the protestors, but it is not the U.S. that is
visiting pain and suffering on the people of Iraq, it is the dictator of
Iraq and no one knows that better than the people of Iraq themselves. So
if the protestors truly feel for them and their pain, then you need to aim
your care and your protest at the real source of their misery: their own
Let’s get real!
Is it even remotely possible that you think that any American
President has ever treated or currently treats his own people or even
those of other countries as the current President of Iraq treats his?
Have you read your world
history lately? What other country in the history of the world has
spent the kind of effort and money the U.S. routinely does to rebuild the
countries of the enemies it has defeated? We have thus far spent
over $690 million to help rebuild and stabilize Afghanistan after
defeating the Taliban. Is it possible that you think that you, who
can engage in a public protest over policies of this country and choose
whether to be hungry or not are in worse shape or have fewer freedoms or
human rights than the citizens of Iraq? Or, for that matter, the citizens
of most of the third world that you seem so concerned about?
It was a common cliché that even led to a movie (The Mouse that
Roared) that what a small country should do is declare war on the U.S.
and then quickly surrender so we’d build/re-build the country and
And therefore I have to ask you
all, “Is it even remotely possible that you wish for the people of Iraq
a continuation of what they now have and, more, for us to share the same
I'm asking that seemingly
absurd question because of the seemingly absurd impression your position
leaves that you seem to have far more sympathy for Saddam’s government
and his policies than for ours.
That you think he is
a more humane ruler than Bush. If you truly believe that then you truly need to immigrate to
a better place.
clear also that while we are trying to minimize innocents from loss of
life, Saddam is busily trying to put his own people in the maximum
jeopardy hoping we will be revolted by it.
Well I am revolted by it, but by HIS actions not ours.
And I am completely un-persuaded that continuing life under such a
regime is better than what will await them when we have ousted Saddam.
Have you all not read your own history?
Do you not remember Patrick Henry’s famous speech?
Liberty and freedom are the core foundation for meaningful lives.
There is more to live than simply staying alive.
While students were marching downtown, Iraqi exiles were themselves
holding a rally. If you cared
so much for them why weren’t you at THEIR rally to hear what they really
think, not what you want them to think.
You would not have liked to hear them joining voices to plead with
us to do whatever we had to do to free them from Saddam’s brutal regime.
A stunning thing happened when I watched a
reporter who, two days before reporting from Baghdad, had told of the fear
of the locals facing attack, was now out of Iraq and told the audience
that he had been surrounded by handlers and could not speak freely but the
truth was the Iraqi people were asking him when we were coming to free
Setting aside for the moment the ethical cowardice
the reporter exhibited by reporting the first segment or the ethical
poverty betrayed by having at least one of those reports being a
bald-faced lie, it shows that
the probability is that the Iraqi people are so brutalized by the regime
that in their minds they rather risk death by accident than continue as
I know that for soft Americans and Europeans
who have no concept of what the Iraqi people endure daily, they cannot
conceive of a situation that is worth than death.
And I am happy for them that their lives have been so protected
from evil they’ve never had to think about it or face it.
But the ugly truth is that evil exists and when you live under it,
you reach a point where dying to free yourself, or even by accident in
that attempt, is better than what you have.
I pray, for the protestors, that they never have to face a life
that brings that awful truth home to roost for them.
And if we do quit now, what do
you think, based on recent history of the same players (so this does not
require a lot of research on your part), Saddam will do to his people
then? and do you seriously think they will be better off if we
simply stop and pull out tomorrow?
The War will make the Arab/Muslim world angry (or angrier) at us
I know that most students these days are
completely unburdened by knowledge of history generally, much less that of
the Middle East, especially as it stretches back over the millennia to the
days of the Babylonians, Assyrians, Persians, et al as well as the history
of the Muslim empires some of which is mentioned above.
There isn’t time or space for too many
details here—that would take several volumes— but I can at least point
you to the salient topical areas and bottom lines.
If you don’t agree—or don’t want to agree—with my
comments then I recommend the very available historical and theological
literature that will give you the facts from which you can properly judge
my conclusions. And I would suggest you will never understand this until you
read the Qur'an for yourself. Don't
accept what I or the apologists for Islam say, read the document for
yourself; it is easy to get and is even translated in several versions
argued that you didn’t have to read Mein Kampf to understand
Hitler. He was simply a hate-filled simplistic thinker with a great gift
of oratory. But in this case,
because the logic is so alien to us, it is almost impossible to believe
the bottom line without reading the premises first hand. Besides, we were
already at war with Hitler in a single focused conflict.
But the conflict between the Muslim and non-Muslim world is a
larger issue and will not go away with a victory or loss with Iraq.
It is, I believe, imperative that we understand the foundations of
this larger and future conflict.
Remember the discussion of Saladin above?
It started saying how Islam had spread quickly.
From the very beginning, Muhammad’s warrior history was evident
in his writings. He grew up
in, lived and believed in that warrior ethic and the Qur’an is infused
throughout with it.
Surah II, 216 states clearly, “Warfare is ordained for you
though it is hateful to you. It may happen that you hate something that is
good for you or love a thing that is bad for you.
Allah knoweth, you know not.”
And it worked.
Under Turkish leadership Islam expanded enormously.
The Moors claimed southern Europe and Sulleiman The Magnificent
expanded Muslim rule will into middle Europe.
The Ottoman Turks brought Islam to a major portion of the world
from Europe to India. It had
embraced the knowledge of the world in science and most arts (though icons
and portraits were forbidden as idolatrous).
Islam made a bold promise to the
believers, for example:
Surah XXIV, 55. Allah has
promised such of you as believe in him and do good works that He will sure
make them to succeed in the earth even as he caused those who were
before them to succeed. (XXXIX, 10) O, my bondsmen who believe! Observe
your duty to your Lord. For those who do good in the world
there is good, and Allah's world is spacious. Truly the steadfast
will be paid their wages without stint.
Allah would give them
the world, the Imams and Mullahs told them, if they were just willing to live a righteous life and fight in his
name to achieve it. And
until the growth of scientific knowledge began to bump into theological
tenets of the Prophet, it seemed to be working extremely well and providing a
reinforcement of the rightness of the beliefs.
At that point the western world began its slow
climb into the modern era and the Muslim world sat on the plateau it had
reached. As the western
world continued to grow, expand, and progress, the world of Islam began to
shrink and fall away because economically, scientifically, industrially it
could not longer keep up. Mired
in an obsolete world view that essentially let fundamentalists ignore half
the population’s brain power and potential contributions and who
rewarded dissent with grim death, it had no chance. Islam had, in
some senses, failed to learn the lessons of its fellow theologies in that
when scripture that, in context, referred to man's cosmic, heavenly goal
was interpreted to daily life, all manner of aberrations could be done in
the name of the scriptures and of God.
But when you believe, as the
followers of Muhammad were told, that if you obeyed the Prophet’s words
that you were destined to greatness,
heresy (which was a danger that made the Spanish Inquisition seem like
child’s play) could make one even think that perhaps the problem lay
internally in the system. Therefore,
by definition and by faith it absolutely had to come from outside.
From them. From
those people who were somehow getting ahead and had to be doing it by the
work of Satan since it was the only workable explanation. From us. We
are the ones seen as persecuting the believers and waging an insidious
covert war specifically keeping them from their promised glory.
Their sacred text allows for no other conclusion. No fundamentalist
interpretation need be applied here, only a simple reading of the words
and an acceptance that they mean what they say just as the followers of
Islam believe them to.
Well, happily for them, the Qur'an has a
solution for the problem. And it is
a simple and incredibly effective one.
Kill the infidel who is holding back the Faithful.
Don’t forget, that’s us. And
it’s a very difficult position to face since there is no room for
You don’t believe it?
Would you believe the Qur'an itself?
Let’s see what, in addition to the section above, it says with a
Surah III, 196-197.
Let not the vicissitude of the success of those who disbelieve
deceive thee. It is but a
brief comfort. And afterward
their habitation will be hell, an ill abode.
Surah V, 10.
They who disbelieve and deny our revelations, such are the rightful
owners of hell. .. (14) And with those who say, “Lo, we are
Christians,” we made a covenant but they forgot a part of that whereof
they were admonished. Therefore
we have stirred up enmity and hatred among them till the day of
resurrection. (51.) Oh ye who believe! Take not the Jews and Christians for
friends. They are friends to
one another. He among you who
takes them for friends is one of them.
Allah does not guide wrongdoing folk.
Surah VIII, 12-13.
… So make those who believe stand firm.
I (Allah) will throw fear into the hearts of those who disbelieve.
Then smite the necks and smite of them each finger.
That is because they oppose Allah and his messenger.
Lo! Allah is severe in
Tell those who disbelieve that if they cease from persecution of the
believers that which is past shall be forgiven them.
But if they return thereto, then the example of the men of old hath
already gone before them for a warning.
Fight them until the persecution is no more and religion is all for
Allah. (65) O Prophet, exhort the believers to fight.
If there be of you (believers) twenty steadfast they shall overcome
two hundred and if there be one thousand steadfast they shall overcome two
thousand by permission of Allah. Allah
is with the steadfast. It is
not for any prophet to have captives until he hath made slaughter in the
Surah IX, 36. … Wage war on all the idolaters
as they are waging war on all of you.
And know that Allah is with those who keep their duty unto him.
(123) O ye who believe! Fight those of the disbelievers who are near to
you and let them find harshness in you and know that Allah is with those
who keep their duty unto Him.
There are 114 Surahs in the Qur'an.
And from X to CXIV they continue with this same hatred and
encouragement of violence against the disbelievers and those who, in their
view, persecute them. Don’t
be fooled by people trying to put a polite spin on this.
Islam is a VERY peaceful religion if you are also Muslim AND of the
But if you are not; if you are, by their definition, a disbeliever,
then it has no patience, no room, and no quarter for you.
Sunni and Shia are anxious to kill each other over subtle disagreements in
dogma, why would you not think they would delight in killing complete
I’m not exactly sure how you get angrier than that.
Nor am I sure how to make them LESS angry except by throwing away
our intellects, our industry, and reverting to a feudal society so they can
get ahead again. And less you
fall for the “out of context” argument, that war between believers and
non-believers IS the context in which the entire text is framed.
Such a war was happening when it was written and it formed the
framework of its core thoughts and ideas.
They were, in their minds, fighting for their lives and beliefs and
there could be no quarter in such a conflict with such high cosmic stakes.
And for them, they still are.
For the brief period when Muhammad was gathering forces in Mecca he
preached tolerance to keep a low profile. But by the time he arrived
at Medina with his Muslim armies, all pretense was thrown away and the
merciless brutality of actions against the non-believers was unrelenting.
That is an essential understanding required if we are to make any sense
at all of the actions of the Muslim world about both this and other
actions. We in the secular west are wont to give short shrift to
theology ourselves and therefore, in our hubris, to other cultures as
well. It is and will continue to be a huge, potentially catastrophic
Of course, there are other
failings of simple observation and logic that are hard to comprehend. Saddam has killed, outside any
even stretched authority of the Qur'an, over a million and a half fellow
Muslims. How the rest of the world of Islam can ignore that in what
has to be a voluntary act of supreme denial, and not be thrilled that the
only country in the world that could bring an end to that horror show, is
coming forward to take on that task, is beyond me. But the answer is
simple. When it comes down to it, even marginal muslims are
preferable to non-muslims.
They just don’t understand us and we need to show our good side.
In a word: Bull Puckey.
Every one of the 9/11 Hijackers lived in this country for several
years and in the west, including Europe, for even longer. Most of the
Qaeda operatives including Bin Laden were educated in the west, many in
the U.S. They knew what we had, what we offered, and they rejected it
completely. Now partially
their thoughts were helped by the educators in academia who also seem to
think and teach that the U.S. is an awful place and the heart of all
things ill in the world. That
is an issue for another day, but the bottom line is that they had plenty
of opportunity to see who we were, see our best side, our aid to others,
our desire for peace and democratic ideals, and they rejected them in
It is hard to face the fact that they don’t want
anything other than for all of us to be dead and gone… so long, of
course, as we leave behind some mechanism to continue making payments to
prop up their countries. But
that is the ugly reality of it.
Nevertheless, some of that wide spread anger is
exaggerated for the effect of backing us off.
When we went into Afghanistan there was wide spread reports in the
mainstream press of major riots in Pakistan against our actions and the
support of their government. Those
reports were based on tapes from the Arab New Service Al-Jazeera.
The tapes showed in nearly cinematic glory, what appeared to be
thousands of people in an angry mob demonstrating their protest.
The cameras moved in and with the crowd with great face shots and
chaotically cut images of shouting people and banners.
But at the same time, a British news crew was
in the same town and perched on a balcony and they shot the riot too.
And what their taped showed was a staged rally of maybe fifty to 75
people with the ground level cameramen moving in and around them and
isolating the shots. One
cannot say with any certainty the Al-Jazeera footage was not shot at a
protest and that the people in the footage were not opposed to the U.S.
actions. But one can say that
the footage, brilliantly shot and edited, gave a very different sense of
the even than the simple reality of it when seen from above.
I believe the Muslim world would like to see
all non-believers removed from the planet and sees us mostly as simply a
terrestrial skin cancer that Allah will someday cleanse from the world.
But that is a far cry from believing that this action will
galvanize them to rise in instant revolt and become even angrier at us
than they already are no matter how carefully their systems and PR people
(and some of ours) try to portray it. It could well come to that but
I do not believe it is inevitable in t he short term.
The War will create a greater threat from terrorism
To make this argument stick you have to assume
that somehow, a prescient Arab knew we were going to go after Iraq early
in 2000 and planned then attacked us as a pre-emptive strike.
Oh right. Then,
of course, you have to extend that argument to cover Lebanon, Kenya, The
Congo, and even the FIRST attack on the World Trade Towers with a bomb and
the USS Cole. It stretches credulity to the breaking point.
The “terrorists” appear to be a loose coalition
of Muslims who take the views of the Qur’an we have already noted as
leading to the inevitability of a conflict, and have simply ratcheted up
the call to instant action. These
days we have taken to using the label “fundamentalist” in a negative
sense, but the truth is, it merely means the individual in question
believes in the words he reads in his Sacred Text.
Moderates parse and play with the words hoping to give them new,
flexible meanings and from that come new religions or sub-orders or
denominations in a given religion. The
fundamentalist simply says if we all accept what a word generally means
then that is what it means in the text. And further, that in order to be
a believer; one has to accept that word as law.
If anyone continues to believe, or act as if,
the Holy Book of Islam does not teach of the inevitability and propriety
of the Believers making war upon and eradicating the non-believers then
they are not only living in a liberal dream world, they will be completely
unable to understand and deal with the actions of that part of the world.
And they will be utterly vulnerable to the terrorists whom they
will never see coming.
Given the Muslim world view, and the Arab mind-set
based solidly in their theology and Tribal Warrior foundation, what has
consistently and openly created the greatest danger from terrorism
historically is ANY act that demonstrates, from their perspective,
weakness which is something they despise and assume we have at our core.
Recent events have given them a reason to believe that and in each
case they responded with an attack. True,
a show of strength does not necessarily obviate the activity; but a show
of weakness virtually guarantees it.
In my mind the single thing we can do to
elevate the overall and long term terrorist threat is to show weakness of
any kind. Legitimate
arguments can be made that we should not have drawn our line in the sand,
but that is purely academic at this point.
We have. And now we
have to deal in the world where that line is drawn whether we like the
line or not. We simply cannot erase it without showing extraordinary
weakness. We simply cannot
openly back off without showing that same level of weakness. If Saddam demonstrates a “win” from his and the Arab
perspective (not from ours and our world view) then I think we will open
the floodgates for terrorism in the same way we were hit following other
weak-kneed responses to provocations.
Terrorists have seen they can hit us.
And they will continue to do so anytime they can.
It will be a constant fight requiring constant effort, probably
from now on. But the only way this action will increase it is if we drop
our guard looking for it and more gets through.
The war with Iraq is taking our attention away from the war on
This line would imply that a country with the
resources of the U.S. couldn’t walk and chew gum at the same time. And, of course, it also ignores the ongoing efforts that
have, in cooperation with other countries, resulted in some major
successes capturing or killing major Al Qaeda operatives. But in case you
do not want to take reality as determinative, let’s put this in some
This summer, in San Diego, we had a media
circus involving a major kidnap-murder case.
It completely occupied the news on TV and the papers.
To rely on the news media for information would have led you to
believe the city virtually came to a halt during that period. And indeed it did occupy a major portion of the city’s
attention via the DA’s office and the Judicial Branch.
But all the time the investigation and trial was happening, in the
background, as always, other bad guys were being tracked down and
captured, speeders were still stopped; the general war on crime went on
with or without media attention.
But, the cry goes, we don’t hear much about
it anymore. After re-reading
the paragraph above, think about this.
In the day of the Internet and instant, worldwide proliferation of
data, why on earth would a detective tell the news how he was solving a
major case? The crook would
hear of it and go to ground. Why is it different in the case of Bin Laden and his group?
Why on earth would the parts of the government charged with hunting
him and his people want to chat with the press and let them know what they
were doing or planning?
I’d suggest the War on Terrorism is far more
like a city’s war on gangs. It
is not something for daily coverage and massed troops but a slow, behind
the scenes, mostly covert action that is mentioned only when a success
cannot be kept quiet or has to much positive political impact to keep
quiet. The problem with
covert actions is the need for secrecy.
Remember, it took the Mossad, arguable the best intelligence agency
around today, quite a few years to get the identified and small group of
terrorists from the Munich Olympics.
And we heard nothing about it except that those terrorists simply
started disappearing and turning up dead.
That approach, I suggest, is how this war is being operated and
that requires little or no conflict with the resources needed to run a
normal military action of nearly any level.
A bigger question is why, given past history
(that unfortunate word again) just prior to the removal of the Taliban
Regime in Afghanistan, where Bin Laden was commonly on tape rallying the
troops and telling us we were inept and evil, has he not now been
constantly on tape spitting in the eye of people unable to get him? Would his cause not be better served with that action where
his people could root for him and see us as stupid and inept?
A great, scornful “Nyah nyah, you missed me” videotape would
solidify his hero status better than anything.
So why hasn’t he done it? He
said he was willing to die for his cause.
I’d suggest that is nonsense; rather he was willing to see OTHERS
die for his cause.
We did get an audiotape that, although we
accepted it as real, a subsequent Swiss lab said it was not Bin Laden but
perhaps a relative. We then
got a second audiotape which, again, we said was “probably” real but
is, as this is being written, is still being tested.
But the question is, why audiotape?
All of the previous ones were video so we could see him.
Doesn’t that suggest some interesting possibilities?
Not the least of which is that Bin Laden might be buried in a cave
in Tora Bora? Or that maybe
he did escape but his very fragile health finally failed or, at the least
has him so sick or ill-looking he is afraid to show himself on tape for
fear it will discourage followers?
If he is alive then sooner or later his time
will run out as it is running out for most of the top echelon of his
leadership cadre. Most of the
world thought Hitler survived and went to Brazil with Mengele.
Even knowing Eichman was there it took a long time to track him
down and capture him. Some
U.S. criminals take a long time to hunt even with every law enforcement
department in the country involved. And
usually the methodical work of tracking is not very good news footage, has
no good sound bites, and is basically incredibly boring.
Worse, in this case, it does not serve the philosophies of the news
So, on one hand, the action against Iraq has no
negative effect on the War on Terror. And on the other, in the event that
Iraq really has been or intends to help back and support terrorist
organizations then it will actually help.
And since we know without question that Saddam sends huge monetary
stipends to the families of the bomb-murderers of Hamas and Islamic-Jihad,
it is very hard to argue he does not support terrorist activities.
We should not go to war over oil
I could not possibly agree more. But
why on earth would anyone think this whole thing is about oil?
so ignores the well-documented (at the time) fact that Saddam offered us
nearly unlimited access to Iraqi oil if we would leave him free to do as
he wanted in the area including his taking over Kuwait and Iran which he
claimed as proper suburbs of ancient Babylon and therefore his by
historical right anyway. The U.S. could have had cheap oil forever had we
agreed to that. And it would not have meant any fighting on our part.
Please "get it" once and for all: this is not about oil.
It has never been about oil! It
is about the idea that someone in the world has got to stand up for the
idea that a dictator cannot torture and kill his own people or threaten
his neighbors as his whim directs and get away with it.
We should not be trying to take over another country
I’ve heard this one used in
some desperation when other arguments are failing. But what historical
reality or empirical research would lead anyone to think we have even the
slightest interest in doing that?
We are a capitalist, mercantile
oriented society of merchants and traders and that is what we have always
been. It is the mind set of that class that has brought us our
wealth, prosperity, and living standards to which people from everywhere
aspire and few if any are standing in line at our border wanting to get
In fact and to the contrary we
have more illegal aliens hiding here than in virtually any other country
in the world. How can that possibly be the case if we are such terrible
people with such a horrible government? Especially since so many of those
hiding here are coming from countries you seem to believe we are ruining?
If this administration were so consumed with wretchedness as you suggest,
why is there not a rush to the border to flee the terrible burden of a
US-based domicile? All that army of illegals would have to do to go home
was let the I.N.S. know where they are and the US would pay the fare to
send them home. They could return home FREE, no questions asked. How
many Iraqis have you read about recently going to the INS office wanting
to be sent back home? How
many “undocumented” (why can’t we just say illegal?) people in this
country seem to be turning themselves in for the free deportation back
home? Show me photos of the
line at the I.N.S. of people trying to get out of this awful place.
But be honest now, that’s not
happening, is it? Instead, they would rather go on hiding as illegal
fugitives in this country than go home. My God, doesn’t that tell you
What it ought to tell you is
that we don’t want to "take over" a country. Do something
really radical: think about it. It is too costly and there is no profit in
it for us. And we certainly do not want to create a broken country
or destroyed one. I hate to ask this again, but think about it.
Rather, it is it not clearly in our best interests for them to be
profitable and industrious. Why? Oh isn’t it obvious? So we can trade
with them, buy from them, sell to them, perhaps even cheat them a little
now and then, but all for a profit. And if we want a profit that
means, for those unfamiliar with Basic Economics 101, more money coming in
than going out. And that means the countries we want to trade with have to
HAVE some money with which to buy from us. And where can they get it if
they have no working, stable economy of their own. Why is that so
Bush is just a wild cowboy wanting a fight and seeking revenge
This attack shows an utter lack of information
about cowboys and about history—this time recent history—so there is
no excuse. It also shows the
nature of the political polarization that has taken place in recent years. There are many stupid, unethical, deceitful things a
politician and President can do and most have been done by Presidents of
the past. But to accuse a
President, the Commander in Chief of our military forces, of sending
Americans to their possible death on a whim, a proclivity for action, or
for purely personal reasons is an incredibly slanderous, scurrilous
statement it bears some extraordinary proof.
So is there any such proof of any sort?
Or is it simply an extension of one’s personal feelings about a
person they dislike?
And, to those who bought into the mantra of
Bush “rushing to war” then I’d have to ask, why, if that was or is
true, he seems to have done everything humanly and politically possible to
give Saddam the opportunity to do the incredibly simple thing that as
being demanded of him and still continues to do so.
I agree that Bush’s style has been
problematic from a foreign policy standpoint.
His demeanor and words imply that he sees the U.S. as the only
remaining super power and the old European nations as increasingly
irrelevant for much of anything. Don’t
get me wrong, I agree that the view is accurate.
But openly expressing it by the President has a truly negative
effect, especially in the minds of those citizens for the other nations
who feel they are being publicly marginalized by the U.S.
I think that much of the opposition to us from other nations’
citizens (as opposed to the governments who make policy from economic
bases not ethical or simply ego-related ones) comes from that perceived
insult to them and their place in the world.
But the approach makes him impolitic and less
than diplomatic but that is a far cry from the “cowboy” image with
which he is branded (unless by cowboy you mean someone who speaks what
they think is the truth and lets the chips fall where they may).
But how about the “revenge” accusation?
Well, it is important to ask the question: revenge for what?
Two items are usually focused on for this argument, both involving
The first is less truly a revenge issue per
se than it is a case of completing old business, namely the halted
removal of Saddam. When the
Desert Storm forces were enroute to Baghdad and Saddam, routing and
slaughtering the Republican Guard and taking surrendering prisoners at an
unprecedented rate, Saddam saw his world collapsing before his eyes and
begged for a cease-fire. The
coalition, composed to a large degree of other Arab nations, required that
we accept that request. In
retrospect it was a bad decision, but at the time, if maintaining the
coalition was important, and it was, the U.S. had no option but to accept
it. It was not his idea and
he had—and has—nothing to feel bad about.
There is nothing the younger Bush can do to change that and he
knows it. This isn’t about
unfinished personal business but it is about unfinished actions that
Saddam promised he would do way back then.
The other issue usually cited is Saddam’s
failed attempt to have Bush Sr. assassinated.
The younger Bush even mentioned it as one item among a longer
litany of items when asked why he had no use for Saddam.
So, the argument goes, that comment betrayed the fact that the only
reason Bush is going to war is for personal revenge for the attack on his
Well if he were truly a cowboy or old western
gunfighter his code would not let him do it that way. He’d have to strap
on his guns and go do it personally.
He might shoot him in the back but he’d have to do it himself.
That does not appear to be what is happening though it does present
an interesting mental image. That
leaves only the conclusion that he is so psychologically unstable that he
is willing to take a country to war and risk world stability, national
defense, and all of those lives on both sides, for a personal grudge over
a failed incident.
Only Bush himself really knows the truth of
that but if it is true then the least of our problems as a nation is the
outcome of this war. I
don’t believe that level of derangement would have escaped the election
process. And therefore I do not believe it is true but I can no more
prove it than the holders of it can prove their side.
are also a couple of corollary ideas sometimes trotted out that are also
based on personal reasons unilaterally held by Bush specifically.
Idea 1: This is to solve the economy since war boosts the economy.
Idea 2: This is to take our minds off the economy.
Long-term wars or those that completely take over the major
industrial output of the country may help a marginal economy as they did
in WWII and helped pull us out of the tail end of the great depression.
But just as often they destroy a country’s economy, so it is not
anything certain. And in this
case we are talking about a short conflict in which the actual costs are
the military costs for that period, most of which we are already paying
A boost to the stock market may take place as soon as
a decision, either decision, is made and the uncertainty is removed.
But the stock market per se is not the economy and not even a good
marker or indicator for the economy in general.
And for such a short term conflict, with a longer
term period of re-building that everyone admits is likely and which would
openly challenge the economy, no one can intelligently hold that we would
get into this thinking we could fool the populace into ignoring the
realities of their daily lives especially with a hostile press pointing
out the problems on a daily, sometimes hourly basis.
So those arguments simply won’t wash either.
Oh I suppose you could argue that Bush is simply rock stupid or so
unconcerned about the populace that it doesn’t matter.
But that would run counter to the same arguments portraying him as
brilliantly evil or deceitful. It
can’t be both.
It is probably true that if we get into the war, and
if it goes really well, and if it is over in a short term, that the stock
market will do very well. But
it’s the effect of certainty versus uncertainty more than specifics on
We should only act within the U.N. framework
There is no proven or even likely connection between Iraq and Al Qaeda
This argument, in the face of some evidence to
the contrary, is generally based on the theory that Bin Laden is a
religious fanatic and Saddam is a secular maniac and the two would never
have anything in common. To
propose this one, again, has to ignore history.
First they do have a common bond: though secular in
construction, Iraq is a Muslim country.
The followers of The Prophet consider that among themselves there
is a bond we simply do not understand.
Largely that’s because we have not read their Holy
Koran and do not, therefore, recognize the requirement of Muslims
to support Muslims no matter what. Iranians
who were attacked by Saddam, gassed, and faced with horrid weapons, and
are a theocracy to boot, have every reason to want to see Saddam’s head
on a pike—and largely do. Still
they are opposed to any outside non-Muslim forces attacking a fellow
Muslim country because in that context their instant response is to see it
as an attack not on Iraq but on Islam.
We can deny that all we want and know, because we know our own
motives, that it is not true. But we have to understand that they believe it and accept it
as gospel. In a way, it is.
Secondly, the history of the region, both
ancient and modern, is rife with occasions when theocracies have combined
their energies with very secular regimes or groups to deal with the
momentary threat of a common enemy or to join efforts for a common purpose
even if temporary. Egypt is a
secular regime but one of the major strongholds of Bin Laden’s
followers. How can that be?
Simple, there are shared foundations and interests.
We gave Iraq the chemicals or biological agents in the first place so
we are hypocritical now
It does appear that we, the
U.S. gave Iraq some of this material when they were in their conflict with
Iran because at that time Iran was calling us the Great Satan and openly
advocating Jihad against us and against American interests and people
wherever they were found. I
was opposed to that at the time and continue to think it was a stupid,
horrid mistake. But assuming we did it, that is the reality we now face: he
has it because we gave it to him. The fact that we were
stupid in the first place does not mean we should continue to be stupid by
allowing him to keep them.
And we certainly did not give
him anywhere near the amounts that the U.N. themselves said, in 1988, he
had. At that time he did not
deny having it. In fact he
was proud of it. Now, of
course he pretends that documentation never existed or that no one will
remember it, and says he never had it and therefore cannot destroy
Is it not at least revealing
that he denies having something nearly everyone concedes he has (and he at
one time admitted having)? If
that material was truly there just for defensive needs then he’d have no
reason to deny it.
And in the end, if we were
responsible for stupidly giving him some deadly materials, who bears more
responsibility than us to go take it back or destroy it?
We should be paying more attention to North Korea and less to Iraq.
This argument shows an
appalling lack of knowledge about the protagonists, the history of the
region, and both the political and military history of the Korean
Peninsula and of the North Korean dynastic regime.
Since the cease-fire that
stopped the open hostilities on the Korean peninsula, there has existed a
shaky truce and a no man’s land around which the shooting has never
actually stopped completely. Little
known to the American public is that a hundred or so U.S. soldiers are
killed every year protecting that border by sniping or skirmishes on the
line. It is not a safe place to be under the best of times.
The north is constantly testing the strength of the line and has
been from the start.
During that time the results of
a capitalist, democratic regime compared to a Marxist communist Dictator
have rarely been more clearly demonstrated.
The south has prospered and become a major economic and military
power throughout that region of the Pacific Rim.
The north has descended into poverty, misery, and abject failure.
It exists only because it has been propped up and funded by China.
The people starve but the bizarre little dictators build weapons,
rattle their swords and strut themselves on their little stage with major
visions of grandeur.
And the dictator of the north
has a single vision, the spreading of his regime to the south so he can
reap the wealth from its industry and productivity.
It seems not to occur to him that he could have the same in the
north if he ran the same type of government and economy and that if he
imposes his same approach on the south it will quickly wither and die, as
has his own country.
So why doesn’t he just go for
it? Because though he is a
megalomaniac he is not suicidal. He likes the adulation of his enslaved
people even if that adulation is forced.
But he can’t even get phony obeisance if he is dead and his
country is a smoking crater. Unlike
Saddam, he will gain no martyr’s status for his efforts.
As a Marxist Atheist, he has to get his strokes in this life no
virgins are waiting for him in his next plane.
He would have no reason to act in such a way as to nearly guarantee
his own destruction and that of his country.
But he is, as was his father, a past master at brinkmanship.
Here’s another country that wishes we would just disappear.
Not for any theological reason, but because we are the one force on
the planet that holds it back from reclaiming Taiwan and from
re-establishing China as the pre-eminent power in the world.
And we are the major competitor for oil resources they now desperately
It may even be inevitable that they will someday regain that
position and the world will have come full circle.
But they would very much like to have it happen as of last week.
But the Chinese are pragmatists
of the first water. And they
control North Korea with their funding.
There is no doubt from any quarter that they will use the North
Koreans to prod us, goad us, keep us pre-occupied, and hurt us anyway
possible. But they are not
ready for a war with us yet and have no intention of letting North Korea
start one in which they might be dragged into it prematurely.
Their time will come but it has not yet quite arrived.
South Korea too has a huge vested interest in this since it is
likely they would suffer incredible loss in the early days of any conflict
on the peninsula. But that
works not only against them, it also works against the North’s need for
I believe this whole thing is
about the North, unsophisticated in polite discourse and diplomacy, desperately needing for sanctions to be lifted and needing our aid (of
which we already give millions and millions each year) to increase so the
dictator does not have to worry about giving up any toys to feed his
people. He lacks the sense and temperament to do it like a civilized
person, so he creates a threat and thinks he can blackmail us into giving
him what he wants. He is
playing a dangerous game.
We simply cannot fall for it.
Because if we do then we are telling the world that if you get a
big stick with which to threaten us, we will reward you with goodies and
further facilitate your regime. If we do that then we will need to start basically and simply
taking care of the entire world for free.
I’m not willing to go that route.
It would seriously cut into our ability to take care of ourselves
and would ultimately bankrupt us. And
what party to this would stand to gain most from that? China.
This is a shell game folks.
It is a very dangerous one for all of us, but it’s a game
nevertheless. We cannot
afford to blink. Nor can we afford to be precipitous and risk massive
destruction of the peninsula. China
will never admit to restraining Korea or agreeing to do it openly.
But in the background and out of sight, they have to because going
to war with us at this point would be, in the end, suicidal for them and
maybe too for us so no one really wins.
have all read their basic Sun Tzu about war.
If you really want to understand this game then you should too.
And it would be instructive to also learn a little about the
Confucian views on the State and the role of the parties and of war.
Bottom line, yes, it is a
dangerous situation; there is no doubt about it.
But our best policy, in my opinion, is simply to hold fast and
refuse to give in to their attempted blackmail.
They need energy and power and if they put online an energy reactor
of a type that does not produce weapons grade byproducts, then we need to
both let them and encourage them to do it.
But if they actually put a reactor on line that lets them produce
weapons grade plutonium then I think we have to take it out as the
Israelis did to Iraq.
And if we take out the reactor
and they retaliate by striking the south, especially with nuclear devices,
then we need to instantly and without further comment or warning, turn the
capital of the north into glass while telling the Chinese simply and
emphatically to sit this one out and wait their turn and the right time. But that can be done without raising an extra dust devil in
the sand around the actions in Iraq.
We should listen to all the other people who are against this action
Thank God the founding fathers
had the wisdom to create this country as a Republic instead of a
Democracy. They did it after
a great deal of thought and debate carried on via voluminous letters and
essays as well as fiery oration. In
the end they agreed with Plato that basically a pure Democracy is the “Rule of
Fools.” Well, OK, the
founders were considerably more circumspect in their language, but the
concept was the same. They
were afraid that a true democracy would allow a large body of people with
nearly terminal ignorance of the important issues but no lack of opinions
about them and with a blind eye toward common good while focused on
personal good, to set policies. Therefore,
they reasoned, they would get together to elect representatives to discuss
and determine policy. The
idea was that once in a locale and position to get the real data and
understand the intricacies of the issues, these representatives would be
wise enough to make the correct decisions.
It is times like these that
reinforce for me the wisdom of those early planners.
Of course we are in a country where dissent is a right.
More than that it is encouraged as a means of getting important
discussions out in the open where the decision makers can hear them and
factor the value of their views into the knowledge and intelligence they
are gathering from other sources and then make a decision.
Accessing that systemic collective intelligence is a foundation concept
But rights are not a free pass to escape responsibilities that flow
from the actions based on those rights.
Let’s be clear on this: I’m
not in the least arguing against people’s rights to voice their
opinions. But rights, all
ALWAYS, carry responsibilities. For
example, I have a right to own a gun but if I fail to act responsibly and
abuse that right and kill someone then I bear the responsibility of paying
the price of that abuse. Rights do
not exist in a vacuum therefore there are some practical and reasonable
limits to nearly ALL of them. There is a law school dictum that
states I have an unfettered right to swing my arm but that right stops at
the end of your nose. I
have already addressed the reasons I’ve heard that are being put forward
by the dissenters and found them wanting on nearly all levels.
Disagreeing with them is my right too.
But what responsibilities am I talking about?
I believe that the volume of
American dissenters is giving moral support to Saddam and encouraging him
to keep stalling on the disarmament of his weapons. He believes, and has every reason to believe that we will
back off because of this outcry and if that happens he will not have to do
anything but sit back and claim he won… which, of course, would be the
case. He has done the few
things he has only because of the pressure of U.S. troops on his borders.
If he thought the country was behind the President completely, I
think he’d have moved a lot faster to disarm.
It is clear that this President
pays no attention to the protestors.
And that means that the policies he makes, whichever way that goes,
will be based on the information he gets from his serious sources not from
the streets. So the only
effect their actions can have are on Saddam not on Bush.
And if they steel Saddam to resist more and stall more instead of
doing what he is supposed to do then the truth is they will have done far
more to insure that this war happens than even the President who keeps
begging Saddam to simply come clean.
If the protestors truly wanted to stop the war then they ought to be
protesting Saddam’s stonewalling of the U.N.
So why aren’t they? The
only possible conclusion that matches all of the points is that they think
more of Saddam than they do of Bush.
Well, that is their right
But the responsibility for what happens next will rest as much,
perhaps more, on
their shoulders as on anyone else’s.
And we also need to be clear on something else.
There is a point where rightful dissent becomes something else.
When it reaches a point where it can be seen, legitimately, as
giving aid and support to an enemy, then it ceases being a right and
becomes treason. The concept
is simple to understand. As noted
have an absolute right to swing my arm.
But that right stops at the end of your nose and if I go on and
flatten said nose, then my additional movement onto your nose is no longer my right, it is criminal
battery. Most of us understand
that and have no trouble with it. The
trouble arises when someone wants to carry a right farther than it should
go but get away with it by hiding behind the Bill of Rights.
But it won’t work.
But, you say, what about the
other countries against us in this? Well
let’s consider them one at a time..
Well, in the last French election, 25% voted communist, a system
that has yet to prove itself viable in an industrial society anywhere on
the planet. 20% voted for
LePin who makes the Nazi’s anti-Semitism look half-hearted.
And the majority of the rest of them voted for Chirac spouting
Gualist policies bearing as their prime thrust, the return of France to
center stage and world prominence such as they were when we made
them a world power following WWI and then again following WWII.
Since then they have supplied Iraq with most of their nuclear
facilities and have major deals with them that would be in jeopardy if a
war happened. How likely is
it that they would want to see this happen?
Plus they have now blackmailed smaller countries with threats of
withheld aid if those small countries backed us.
Sorry, that is, to me, over the top outrageous. Because
of these ill considered policies backed by a socialist sponsored national
laziness their economy is in shambles and sooner or later the people will
wake up and say they have had enough. But in the meantime
this is not a group to take seriously and allow deciding
our policies for us.
Half of the population wants to return to the East German model of
misery because they didn’t have any personal responsibility for actions
and had a government that did the thinking for them.
The latest Premier won running on a virulent anti-American
platform. And we want to let
THEM decide what we should do? They’ve
even been openly opposed to us (at least they’re more honest than the
French) but why would
we allow a country openly opposed to us to decide for us how we should
act? Is it not likely that a
country with that openly avowed purpose would want to have us do the worst
possible thing for ourselves?
German companies have supplied most of the Iraqi chemical resources with
no apparent interest in the use, benign or otherwise, of those materials.
France and Germany have been open in their desire to see the U.S.
"put in its place" which really means that we should acknowledge them
as powerful and important States in this evolving, post-Soviet
world. Given their actual abilities to either help or hurt us in terms
of materials and military resources, we have to admit they are only
legends in their own minds. They are also blithely in supreme denial
about the shift in European dynamics and power centers post Soviet
Union. Rather than see our willingness to NOT need their help as relieving
them of a huge potential economic burden at a time when they could ill
afford it anyway, they have chosen to see it from an ego-centric view as an
that tells anyone willing to look is that diplomacy aside, one can never
rely on the position of a State that views allies and relationships in
terms of personalized ego instead of enlightened self interest. They
have their own interests and agendas which are in conflict with
ours. Why are we spending a moment wringing our hands about
that? And more importantly, why are we spending a moment wanting to
align our interests with theirs?
Now here is a country with our interests in their hearts,
wouldn’t you think? If so, I have one word for you: Taiwan. And then think about who keeps
it from being invaded and enveloped into the mainland.
have a second word for you: Oil. And then think about the fastest
evolving user of oil in the world (China) and their biggest competitor for
global resources (America) and tell me again how they have our best
interests at heart.
Their entire system cratered in competition with us.
We did some truly stupid attempts to force democracy instantly on
them and not only failed but in some ways may have actually hurt their
economy in the short term. Why
on earth would they, led by an ex-KGB operative trained and inoculated in
cold-war rhetoric and attitudes, want to have us appearing as good guys in the world?
And now we learn the truth: Russian businesses have been merrily selling
weapons to Iraq, some of them prohibited by the U.N., something about
which they surely would have liked the world to remain ignorant.
So the countries against us all
have reasons to dislike us and want to see us fail.
They have vested and serious interests on business and economic levels
in seeing us fail, lose our status as a powerful country, and even have an openly
expressed desire to see us humiliated.
Now ask me again why I don’t give their positions a lot of
credence or considerations. Their
decibel volume does not enhance their credibility.
A gathering of 100 or a million stupid or self-serving people is still not likely
to achieve brilliance as if by reaching some critical mass.
Lots of people robbed banks, but if you got them all together to
vote on it that still would not make it a legitimately legal activity—or
a wise one.
I know we live in a day and age
when the mantra of the secular humanists regarding situational ethics
would like one to believe that right and wrong is a matter of a vote.
Truth, by that view, should be relative and based on the number of believers.
I do not and will not accept that.
Perhaps the number is small, but there still remain a few things in
my view that are intrinsically right and intrinsically wrong.
The legal world has long
recognized this in viewing actions that are mallum in se (bad in-and-of
themselves, like murder) or mallum prohibitum (bad only because we say it
is, like jaywalking). I
believe that murder, torture, terror, degradation and humiliation based on
sex or race or religion is mallum in se; wrong, in and of itself.
And no amount of people trying to deny it or pretend otherwise, no
matter how much they may want to engage in the activities, will ever make
it right. It will still be
wrong if only one person in the entire universe still holds it as wrong.
It will still be wrong if none do.
What I believe about this whole affair
I would suggest to the
protestors that some basic reading is in order. Specifically needed
is a lot of world history, a lot of study of Arab/Muslim culture, a lot of
reading about our own history and specifically geo-political and foreign
policy attitudes. This is a
very complex issue and it can only be understood, and therefore
successfully addressed, within the context of in-depth information.
Within that context there is still room for disagreement on issues,
but outside of it, disagreement is petty, based usually on irrelevant
things such as party affiliation, and great pronouncements of principal
disintegrate into sheer silliness.
What is not in order is
listening to more sound bites, often from people equally unburdened by any
deep study of the subject, or who take their cues from the raised eyebrows
of nightly newsreaders or celebrities using their fame to create a
platform and treating that pabulum as if it were factual data.. A greater danger to this country than all the terrorists in
the world is the continual dumbing down of our people intellectually,
philosophically, and spiritually.
Without a breadth of view that
incorporates realistic consequences on a broad basis, advocating nearly
any position is simply ludicrous. Why
would we so readily believe that people who act out roles of political
savvy are, by virtue of that, actually knowledgeable of the intricacies of
the issues and aware of the latest intelligence giving inside and “deep
background” data from which policy ought to flow?
We have come to a bizarre state when we give credence for greater
insight to people whose lives are devoted to the creation of fantasy than
to those whose lives are devoted to trying to do their best, as they see
it, for their country.
What is also clear is that the argument is no longer
really about Iraq; some other issue or issues are at play. No one can argue honestly that Saddam has done as the U.N.
and his own Cease-Fire agreement demand and that is really the only issue
at play. So what is
happening? This is important
to determine and resolve because the situation as it continues only fuels
the impending fire by giving Saddam comfort in the idea of escaping the
demands. And that brings us closer to war. It is a supreme irony that the more voices are raised against
it, just as in Vietnam, the more likely the bloodshed will be.
That's another lesson from history our venom soaked protestors have failed
Even the weak-kneed at the U.N. admitted the only
reason Saddam has acquiesced the little he has was because of the pressure
arrayed against him by the troops on his border.
Why is that message, so clearly correct and pregnant with meaning,
so lost on the protestors? Don’t
misunderstand me, I am foursquare behind the concept of dissent against
the policies of the government: that right is largely what keeps us free.
But one cannot escape the responsibility of actions even when taken
under the blanket of constitutional freedom.
Just because something is legal does not mean it is wise or
Some few of the protestors may be sincerely opposed
to war for any reason any time. Some
may be true
conscientious objectors who believe categorically that all killing is
wrong and not only do not do it themselves but are opposed to it no matter
I respect their beliefs but I completely disagree with them.
Those same people would have no problem killing a crocodile that
attacked or threatened them. They
have to understand that there are human predators out there and the fact
of their coincidental species association with humans does not change
inherently who and what they are.
The truth however, is that most of them are
not anti-War but Anti-Bush. That personal loathing is so deep it
removes from possibility their ability to look beyond the personality
involved to see larger issues or, for that matter, how that blind hatred
can be so easily manipulated. Of greater importance to me,
therefore, is that they are
allowing themselves to become pawns for those interested in guaranteeing
this war happens. They have
the absolute right to do that and I support that right. But they have to
understand that the force upon which they have hitched their wagons, is
there for less worthy interests.
So what do I personally think about all of this?
This document thus far might lead you to believe that I am anxious
to leap into war with Iraq because I do not accept the common anti-war
arguments. It may therefore
come as a surprise to hear that is not completely accurate, or at least
WAS not accurate for a long time.
First of all I do not think it needed to get this far
and is a major failure of foreign policy that it did.
Perhaps if we had decided to be more sympathetic to the pathetic old-world
views of the old European centers and spend a little time diplomatically
stroking their fragile egos and fantasies, we could have manipulated them
easily into getting on board to pressure Iraq into simply doing as the
U.N. -- and THEY -- had at one time demanded happen. I would not be
greatly opposed to the suggestion that from a world PR standpoint, we
would have been better served if we had been willing to wallow in those
petty fantasies and vulnerable egos. The previous administration was
far better at it largely because it needed the same coming back at
it. This administration prefers to make a hard-edged look
at capabilities and realities and act on that, letting the chips fall
where they may. That it does so with its own set of ideological
blinders just as the previous one did is inescapable. Clearly,
however, the world prefers the former even if
it has never been seen to work to accomplish anything of value.
conflict has ever been stopped by it... but it does make people feel better.
I do not think we should have drawn our line in the sand at this
point for all to see and with it, give warning of impending action.
I think that was strategically idiotic and, given the atmosphere of
a divided populace being broadcast to an egomaniacal tyrant boasting of
his ability to make America back down, it is galactically
counter-productive. it will be a
horse race to see whether the blind protestors or the blind administration
will be better at getting us into this battle. Saddam has to do
nothing but sit there and rattle his sword or fire his pistol in the air.
He is no more concerned about it than he is about what happens when
gravity brings those bullets back to earth in a crowded city. but in
that he is exactly like the protestors who have loosed their verbal
bullets in the air and are completely unburdened by thoughts of where they
I also think that the real issue now is not winning the war (meaning
toppling the Baathist regime), which we will
do easily. The real and messy issue is, "what then?" I think we are
getting into an incredible morass because we do not have the national
stomach to do what it takes to reign in the Iraqi factions nor the
political will to send enough "boots" to do the job. in
fact, thanks to Carter we do not have the intelligence to know for sure
what truly IS needed and thanks to Clinton we do not have the combat-ready
brigades to do it anyway. Rumsfeld seems
to have bought into the Clinton idea that we do not need ground troops when we
have the technology. It is my belief both are very, very wrong about
that. The Muslim world will never
believe in any altruistic motivation coming from us. They will
always see is as occupiers; as Crusaders. Only our arrogance and
lack of knowledge on their history and core beliefs keeps us from seeing
that and launching a major worldwide PR campaign to counter it and then,
if we still decide to go for it, launching and maintaining an attack the
ferocity of which will make every would be jihadist, terrorist, and
insurgent in the world crawl back into their holes and want no part of us
for a long time to come.
Of course we will not do that. And since we won't we have few
strategic opetions left and none are good. If we end up leaving a
mess that forces us to consider a military presence there for very long we
will risk a huge backlash. If we unleashed all the technology and leave them in a smoking
crater where their country used to be we
will risk a huge backlash. If we do both we risk igniting a global
theologically inspired firestorm. But the only force powerful enough to
deal with things, the U.S. military, is precisely the worst group to do it from
a symbolic perspective. It is a real dilemma and one that would
have been better served had we stroked some of those petty egos and gotten
them at least help us with getting the data out about our purpose and the
limits of our intentions. That we did not do that is something that
may come around to bite us hard.
Moreover, and here at last is my
REAL reason for not wanting us to be involved, I do not believe a single drop of American blood should
be spent for people who will not try to defend themselves or stand up for
themselves and demand, along with our own Patrick Henry, “Give me
liberty or give me death!”
Had that cry for freedom happened (or were it to
happen) then I think we Americans bear a moral responsibility to come to
their aid. Without it, I
think they deserve what they are willing to bear.
And frankly if the people of a culture that treat women as less
than second class citizens; that base their criteria of leadership on
blood lineages supported by graft and extortion and intimidation, or on a
theology that clearly encourages them to hurt, in any way possible,
anything American, want to hack each other to ribbons and gas each other
into oblivion, that is just fine with me.
I don’t see any reason to protect them and I don’t see any
reason to facilitate such regimes with our support and aid that could
better be used for our issues here at home.
Nevertheless, at this point and in spite of my
beliefs on the subject that should have kept us from getting this far, we did draw that line in the sand.
It was stupid on our part but we did it. And now that
action has a huge symbolic meaning to that region of the world and, having
done it, I think
we back away now at our own ultimate peril. it
was our weakness of response to the clear provocations of Kenya, Lebanon,
the Cole and even the original Trade Towers bombing that led inexorably to
9-11. To show more weakness now after we took a firm stand would be
think that I—or anyone given a moment’s reflection— believe a war of
any kind is a good deal for anyone is simply ludicrous.
I can only really speak for myself, but having seen the blood of
combat I think I can also speak for many other veterans and long term
soldiers when I say that the old cliché that warriors are the very last
people to be in favor of war because they know better than any what it
means, is accurate.
Protestors talk about the horrors of war (which they
mostly know only anecdotally) but haven’t a clue what they’re talking
about. I do.
I hate war and would go a long way to avoid it.
But I also know that sometimes it is the only action that can be
taken in the face of a given situation.
I think this is one of them now.
I think we will either fight now on a battlefield of our choosing
or fight later (maybe sooner) on one of theirs.
In my opinion, this whole situation didn’t need to
start that way or get to this point, but it did.
And today, while we may debate for years the wisdom of getting
here, we have to make decisions and draw conclusions from where we are at
the moment. So at this point
I see no option but to make that line in the sand mean something.
And if it comes to mean anything other than that other countries
and tyrants need to take
the U.S. seriously, then we are in very deep trouble for the long run.
If we do not believe the tyrant of North Korea is not paying close
attention to this then we are living with our heads in the sand.
However, if you have been reading carefully and
not skipped over some important parts, you will also have noted that
slowly and inexorably I’ve laid out a case that makes a conflict between
Muslim “Believers” and we “infidels”
something we are lurching toward somewhat blindly. They cannot and will not long endure what is to them a purposeful
marginalization on our part that keeps them from the rewards promised to
the righteous. Nor can they
look internally to identify the real causes.
If you don’t believe that then how do you explain that they would
rather live under the brutality of a dynastic monarchy or the day-to-day
terror of a secular, idolatrous, evil dictator like Saddam than have an
army of unbelievers liberate them? That
seemingly contradictory stand can make absolutely no sense to our
occiental minds unless we accept the core facts
about the attitudes engendered by the Qur'an about us infidels.
And if we do accept it then we also have to accept that our world
contains a huge and dangerous time bomb that is ticking ever more loudly
on nearly a day-by-day basis.
The question is what to do about it.
There are no good options for any of us.
Apocalyptic visions on both sides have foreseen a final epic
struggle and both expect it. Sacred
texts of both sides spell out signs of those latter days and, in both
cases, the coming to pass of some of those signs indicate that the point
of that great battle are rushing headlong down the cosmic highway with us
in the headlights.
It does not so much matter whether an
individual reading this believes as they do (on either side) or rejects
all that as stupid theological mumbo-jumbo gone awry.
What matters is that a huge portion of the population DOES believe
it, expect it, and is preparing for it.
Of the three religions with writings about it and a vested interest
in the outcome, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam (Hinduism and its
off-shoots such as Buddhism expect a cataclysm but are not part of the
battle bringing it about and don’t see it as the end of all days, merely
another cosmic change of planes), Christianity has more of an academic
view since it teaches that its believers will have departed the place en
masse before it starts. Therefore
it is less troubling on a personal basis for them. But that leaves a large
part of the earth’s population exposed to the results of belief
structures that will have their adherents gearing up mentally and
physically for a great battle that will essentially engulf the world.
I believe it conceivable that at some point an awkward but
temporarily pragmatic coalition of the Muslim world and China will one day
upon a point where we are or appear weak and ready for them to assert
themselves and then they will move. And
they will probably focus that move in the middle east since it
accomplishes everything for both parties: it lets the Muslims directly
attack their perceived worse enemies and it lets us dissipate our efforts
in a difficult part of the world where there combined forces have a better
chance of defeating us than they would if they attacked us on our home
soil. If, in fact, that ever
happened, it would satisfy nearly all of the events contained in
everyone’s apocalyptic prophecies.
The good news is that there is no specific
set for this event. In fact
believers are warned that no man knows the time and hour of them.
And that means, potentially, it can be put off somehow.
I could be wrong, but I’d think it would be in nearly
everyone’s interest (except perhaps the Chinese) to look toward ways
that it might be delayed for a while, maybe a long while.
Wouldn’t it make good sense to explore ways that the various
armies of disparate believers girding themselves for a great holy war can
be encouraged and persuaded to stand down?
And how does one do that?
For starters, it cannot be done by people or
nations that will not accept the facts of the underlying cause of unrest:
theological teachings. It
cannot be undone by parties that refuse to accept that a core of
bigotry, the “us versus them” mentality, long honed by evolution and
survival needs, is alive and well in all of us and will not go away simply
because it is inconvenient and unproductive or even illegal.
It cannot be undone by people who will not take these beliefs
seriously and continue to look at them as carry-overs of quaint tribal
rituals that will simply melt away in the light of scientific education.
And it cannot be undone by people who insist on simplistic,
slogan-oriented, bumper sticker-inspired views of the world.
I confess; I do not know the answer or even if there
is one. But it would seem
reasonable to me that if, in fact, there is an answer—a solution
that can either end or at least seriously delay the impending great
conflict—it would be of the highest priority to start studying the
issues seriously and searching for it.
Perhaps if that were being done publicly and openly, the mere
fact of its efforts would yield some good results.
I don’t know; that may be hopelessly optimistic.
But I remain convinced that if we do not start on it and do so
soon, we will be acting in such a way as to make those apocalyptic visions
come true as one of the most ironic and tragic self-fulfilling prophesies
ever visited on mankind. And if we cannot handle the aftermath of
this impending conflict with the same skill we will handle the combat, we
will have made a major move to set this disaster in motion.
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