December 20, 2002

And Just To Augment My

And Just To Augment My Point. . .

For those of you who totally disagreed with my last post, I offer up this opportunity to sign a petition against war with Iraq, but at the same time I feel I should poke holes in the petition, you know, because I'm a total asshole like that.

We the undersigned members of the academic community are opposed to an invasion of Iraq by the United States. The decision to start a war is perhaps the most significant decision the leaders of a democracy can make.

Agreed, which is exactly why it has taken so long for the U.S. to act thus far, and exactly why Saddam doesn't at this moment have an American flag sticking out of butt-cheeks. We're continuing to dance to Saddam's tune because, yes, war is a drastic step not to be taken lightly. But how long do you want to sit smoking your peace pipe while nuclear weapons are being developed in a plush Iraqi palace? Yes, North Korea has the bomb already. Yes, we know that. But they'll also think twice about using them once we roll into Baghdad and drag Saddam kicking and screaming from his hole. The threat of imminent regime change can have a calming effect, particularly right after seeing it done to someone else.

We oppose a U.S. invasion of Iraq for these reasons:

Invasion to replace the Hussein regime is not in the best interests of the United States, the region, or the world. An invasion of Iraq and destruction of the Hussein regime may lead to prolonged instability in Iraq; destabilization of the wider Middle East including the possibility of a prolonged and heightened conflict between Israel and the Palestinians; increased popular appeal of radical Islamic movements and increased anti-Americanism worldwide; and increased terrorism in the U.S. and abroad. Invading Iraq therefore will probably make both the region and the world less secure, not more secure.

Oh, save me from the prolonged instability of the Middle East! I don't know if you've noticed lately, but instability in the Middle East is actually the norm. In fact, instability in the region has become so commonplace, we're starting to mistake it for stability. Pakistan? Yup, they're nice and stable. Iran? Pure stability there. Afghanistan? Now there's a picture of stability. Just because Saddam has been killing his own people by the thousands for the past 20+ years does not in any way mean that Iraq is even remotely stable. Yes, and you simply MUST call attention to the heightened conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, even though Saddam has been openly compensating the families of suicide bombers to the tune of $25,000 a pop. How can you, in all good conscience, advocate a continuance of the status quo when the status quo is incredibly dangerous up to begin with?

Key U.S. allies do not support an invasion of Iraq. Many governments allied with the U.S. are urging restraint, demanding more evidence of an Iraqi threat, or opposing a U.S. invasion of Iraq. Governmental and popular support in Great Britain, the most stalwart U.S. ally, is weak at best. Any military action against Iraq should have the moral force of international consensus behind it.

Yes, history has shown that countries the world over have quaked in their boots at the thought of a "moral force of international consensus." Oh, and as for the cry for "more evidence," I have an idea about how we could attain that evidence: we'll slip into Iraq, say, with military force, explore a few underground labs and opulent palaces, dig the scientists from their holes as they toil to create a nice shipment of anthrax, and wave the smoking gun for all the tentative world to see. You're simply not going to see the evidence until you get access to the evidence. It's not like Iraq is going to fax Washington a memo saying, "Oh, yeah, we forgot to mention, we're a threat, and here's why (followed by an itemized list of weapons)."

The U.S. Government is not unified in support of invasion. Some senior elected officials, including members of President Bush's own Republican Party such as Rep. Dick Armey (TX) and Sen. Chuck Hagel (NE), do not support a U.S. invasion of Iraq. Secretary of State Colin Powell, a retired four star General with 35 years of military service who was Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the Gulf War, is known to oppose a U.S. invasion without broad international support. Major media outlets have been reporting for several months on widespread opposition to an invasion of Iraq among senior officers in the Pentagon, including several or all of the Chiefs of Staff. The decision to go to war should have the clear support of the U.S. Congress, the Secretary of State, and the commanding officers of the armed forces.

Um, yeah, Congress gave that support already, remember? Big vote prior to the midterm election? Ring a bell? As for dissenters, even Gulf War I wasn't unanimous, or a slightly forgotten operation in Yugoslavia that eventually served to oust a troublemaker named Slobodan Milosovic for that matter. Opposition is good, because it leads to informed discussion, but don't wave opposition voices as vindication, because even the most vocal of us can be horribly wrong.

The Iraqi threat is not credible. The opposition to an invasion among senior U.S. government and military leaders as well as most U.S. allies in the Middle East suggests that the Iraqi threat is not credible. The Bush Administration has presented no credible evidence of Iraqi progress toward making nuclear weapons. If they have such evidence, they should have presented it by now in the face of mounting international and domestic opposition to an invasion of Iraq.

See previous rant about procuring evidence.

An invasion of Iraq would be illegal under the Charter of the United Nations, to which the U.S. is a signatory. According to the Charter, only the Security Council has legal authority to start wars, with the single exception of national self-defense against armed attack. If the U.S. is indeed a land of laws, then our government should adhere to the basic principles of the Charter, which are intended to govern the relationships between nations for the collective security of all people.

Actually, as it stands now, the continued stonewalling on the part of Hussein gives us full justification to take matters into our own hands. Yes, I know the UN would prefer to hand the matter down to its specialized Committee on Further Talking and Mulling and Pondering, which would then hand it to the Committe for Deep Thought and Reflection, which would then hand it to the Committee That Holds Onto Things for Four Months Before Handing it Back to the Committee on Further Talking and Mulling and Pondering, but we could act on this now if we so choose.

For these reasons, we oppose a U.S. invasion of Iraq and urge others to do so also. Although we recognize the Hussein regime is reprehensible, the war being planned will not decrease and MAY increase the suffering of the Iraqi people for many years to come.

Oh, well, it "MAY increase the suffering of the Iraqi people for many years to come." Well, then by all means, stop those tanks! Then again, it MAY liberate the Iraqi people from a "reprehensible" regime that manages to hold on to power through intimidation, execution, censorship, brutalility and overall not-niceness. What these folks are really saying is "Yes, Hussein is reprehensible, and the Iraqi people are suffering, but Iraq is so nice and far away, and really none of our concern." Well, no, it's not, until you're jolted by the morning news telling of a nuclear strike in Tel Aviv.

But, really, go ahead and sign the petition. After all, over 32,000 people can't be wrong. Well, yes they could, but go ahead and sign it anyway.

Posted by Ryan at December 20, 2002 04:55 PM
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