September 25, 2002

IRAQ = Invasion Required. Any

IRAQ = Invasion Required. Any Questions?

I somehow feel left out when it comes to this whole "attack Iraq vs. don't attack Iraq" debate. By glancing at the daily headlines, you'd think we're already at war, even though no shots have been fired. I find myself straddling the fence on this whole hawk vs. dove issue, but I do have some questions for those advocating a regime change at the barrel of U.S. guns.

Since 9/11, the majority of the American public, terrified that tomorrow a jetliner will come crashing from the sky loaded with nukes, have signed a blank check to the Bush administration, more or less saying, "Here, make things better. Things don't have to make sense, because we'll back you without question because we're scared."

I'm not arguing the fact that terrorists still exist, and they will most likely find some other way to sting us and make us pause to slap the little rascals before lumbering ahead again. It's simply a fact of life in this post 9/11 world. Our towers fell, so we crushed the Taliban like a rotten grape, installed a regime more to our liking, and then ambled on, leaving the impoverished nation bereft of the billions of dollars in aid they were promised.

Why did we do this? Because our jets were revved up and our guns were all nice and warm, and there was this festering wound called Iraq that's been asking to be kicked in the groin for the past 11 years. Who has the time and money for a petty humanitarian cause like helping to rebuild a worthless country like Afghanistan that doesn't even have the common decency to have a few rich deposits of oil under its barren soil?

Now, Iraq, there's a country more to our liking. It has oil. Lots of oil. And, it has a despicable puke of a dictator at the helm who has proven time and again he has no respect for life save his own. Saddam would gas his own mother if she had the audacity to tell him not to go outside without a coat. Saddam = evil monster. That's a universally accepted equation. Does the man have to go? Absolutely. Would Iraq and the whole Middle East in general be a better place without him? Perhaps. Is it America's responsbility to knock him from power? Hmmmmmm.

The Bushies would have us believe that Osama bin Laden and Saddam have been playing a game of tickle the scrotum, that they've been terrorist bedfellows since they were two years old. They point to sketchy and questionable meetings between Iraqi officials and al Queda operatives that occured prior to 9/11. Did Iraqi cash find its way into al Queda coffers? Probably, although not likely through official government channels. What government would leave a paper trail implicating them in the most high profile terrorist attack in history? I'm pretty sure the same could be said for many Middle Eastern countries. You don't think Qatar, Yemen, Saudi Arabia and even Kuwait special interests didn't find ways to filter money to al Queda? Which one of these do we hit after Iraq?

If the Bush administration could make a compelling argument that Iraq = 9/11, then lets get the tanks rolling. There's no doubt in my mind we'd steamroll the country and be home in time for "Friends." But Iraq is not our fish to fry alone, and without strong links to 9/11, we're stuck with Iraq's refusal to allow UN inspectors into the country, a tough card to play to rally a coalition of international allies.

Ah, yes, UN inspections. Lacking a 9/11 angle, we've been treated to the oft-repeated phrase "weapons of mass destruction," of which Saddam must have hundreds because he doesn't let the UN inspectors in. Is Iraq working to develop weapons of mass destruction. I would put money on it. But seriously, what country on earth doesn't have a vested interest in building a military? Hell, even India and Pakistan, two countries that can scarcely feed their populations, have the Bomb. But, they're more interested in eradicating themselves, so we don't pay them much attention.

Now, Iraq. There's no telling what that bat-shit country would do if it got the Bomb, although a betting man would say Israel would be a prime target. It's the delivery mechanism that would be used to catapult a chemical, biological or nuclear warhead that's in serious question. Iraq has freight vehicles, and it has SCUD missiles, and it has really athletic camels, but none of these can really threaten US interests beyond US bases or embassies in the area.

Some of the more frightened people in America believe Iraq could detonate a nuke in downtown New York, a pretty lofty technological achievement for a country that has been firing at US jets over northern and southern no-fly zones, for over 250,000 sorties, and has, at last count, brought down a total of zero aircraft. That's a pretty lousy firing percentage for a country targeted as the #1 threat on the planet. As for dropping a nuke in New York? Fah-get a-bout it.

For all you people reading this, rolling your eyes and saying "this idiot just doesn't get it," I fully admit that my reasoning is flawed at best, but it's simply my opinion, and I'm entitled to it no matter how flawed it may be. It doesn't make me unpatriotic or anti-American. I'm neither a hawk nor a dove on the issue. There are solid arguments supporting both sides. It's just too easy to see things in black and white, to blindly follow the whims and wishes of those in command because we're scared and want to feel safe again. But to do that, without asking questions, can lead to dangerous myopia, such as that illustrated in these two recent letters to the editor:

I consider every Muslim I see a terrorist until proven innocent. I am not ashamed of that opinion. Deal with it.
Jason Wunneburger
Denver, CO

Are you kidding me? Who cares how President Bush says "nuclear"? The only thing I care about is when we will use them on Iraq.
Kenneth Thoman
Shrewsbury, MA

If this is the prevailing wisdom that justifies war, then God help us all.

Posted by Ryan at September 25, 2002 04:31 PM
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