Mitch lets off steam
As for the argument that this war will have good humanitarian consequences...
13 Feb 2003
As for the argument that this war will have good humanitarian consequences, regardless of the US motives for waging it... P-shaw... first a few points about how really_ morally unsavoury the arguments are for this war: (warning, long ramble ahead)
a) First off, the whole idea of a 'war on terror' is a complete and utter crock of shite.
The whole point of terrorism, or guerilla warfare, is to fight an enemy that has an overwhelming military advantage.
This is done by not taking them on in a head to head fight but striking at the most strategically important but vulnerable areas of the enemy (usually civillian targets). So to fight this enemy with an army is to play right_ into_ their hands, creating martyrs and giving them political legitimacy in their own populations eyes.
By far the most effective way to fight terrorists or guerillas is with police, intelligence and importantly - humanitarian resources.
If you can remove political or popular support for such groups by treating their populace in a way that addresses their concerns, you severly undermine their legitimacy and support base.
Can anyone imagine the outcome if Bush had been an actual Christian as opposed to a token one, and spent the extra billions he's currently spending on the defense force - on humanitarian aid to the countries the terrorists come from (turning the other cheek as it were) to improve their infrastructure, hospitals and schools - along with globally co-ordinated police and intelligence efforts? He could've already bought Al-qaeda off the shelf, complete with nice ties.
b) There are literally almost hundreds of dictators elsewhere in the world at this very moment, many of whom treat their people even worse than Saddam, and without doing nearly as much for their health and or education.
Regardless of his brutal repression of political dissent, Saddam had actually raised the overall standard of living for the average Iraqi since he's been in power.
Iraq had the highest adult literacy rate, (over 90% according to UN figures) and one of the lowest infant mortality rates in the Arab world before the Gulf War and the following US dictated UN sanctions. (And Saddam actually asked the US permission to invade Kuwait - which they gave, considering it a 'regional dispute' - before going ahead.
When the US changed it's mind, he retreated his armies, which is why the US had such a 'turkey shoot' - it's hard to shoot back when you're in retreat. The Iraqi army weren't even fighting them.) Now, Iraqi literacy and mortality rates have reversed their positions in relative world rankings to amogst the lowest in the world.
Saddam's was actually a socialist state that rivalled that other pariah state - Cuba's - for building quality hospitals and universities.
c) Saddam has ties to Al-Qaeda? Bull.
Fucking. Shit. Iraq has the only_ secular government in the entire Arab world (all Muslim states are by definition, run by the clergy) precisely because he hates religious fundamentalism with a passion.
He hates it because it's backward thinking socially, economically and technologically, and because of the political instability it always creates. And Al-Qaeda is right there at the top of the most fundamentalist of fundamentalist religious terror groups... or maybe the US thinks that he's as shortsighted as the CIA in their "my enemies enemy is my friend" thinking, that is directly responsible for creating groups like Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan in the late 80's when Bush Senior was CIA head... where they encouraged the religious extremism (that they're now fighting) solely to subvert Russia's desires for hegemony in Central Asia.
d) Saddam's capacity to wage any kind of war is about a tenth of what it was before the last Gulf War - and this is a threat to US security? Fuck. Off. He's not even a threat to his immediate neighbours any more, let alone a country in a different time zone.
Israel is a far greater threat to security in the Middle East than Iraq, both in it's capacity to wage war (and it has an actual, rather than possibly, maybe, we-know-he's-tried-to-get-one-but-not-even-come-close, nuclear capacity) and in it's current propensity under Sharon to do so.
Israel may be a 'democracy' - but it's a democracy in the ancient Athenian sense: only people of a specific religion - Jews, are accorded full citizenry ...
e) The real reason the US knows_ for a fact, that Saddam has chemical and biological weapons that he hasn't disclosed yet - is because they fucking well sold them to him in the first place in the 80's.
They've probably still got inventory sheets from the original companies that they're just ticking off as he discloses them...
But they can't acknowledge this 'proof' publically because it'd be a global public relations disaster... 'How can you sell him these weapons in the first place - then complain about him using them and use it as a justification for war?'...
f) So why is the US not interested in any of these other dictators that don't sit on geopolitically vital oil reserves or routes? Does anyone think that the fact that Bush's conservative cabinet is stacked to the brim with people that have major ties or shareholdings in the biggest oil and energy companies in the world - has nothing to do with any of the current US foreign policy directives? (See Michael Moore's "Stupid White Men" for a breakdown of the cabinet, their portfolios and their financial interests).
The US had been planning to invade Afghanistan and install a puppet government to secure a pipeline route for Unocal many months before 9-11, which was why it was able to deploy forces there so rapidly. (And lo, the person they appoint interim head of Afghanistan, Karzai, is *gasp* * surprise*... a former Unocal consultant...) Does anyone seriously swallow the line that these people are going to 'inadvertently' create a humanitarian political masterpiece in the Middle East during the course of their aggresively hardline real-politik? WWII aside - and even that's arguable given the Cold War that resulted from it - 20th century history argues overwhelmingly that the opposite is infinitely more likely.
g) As an act of defiance to the US, Saddam took Iraq off the US $ as the nominated currency for oil trading and replaced it with the Euro.
At the time he did this the Euro was trading at about 90c to the $ I think, (which meant he lost money in a politicaly motivated move) - but it's now trading at about $1.07 - which means he's making money.
Ha ha. The other OPEC states can see this and are now currently considering switching from the US$ to the Euro.
If this were to happen and OPEC oil were sold in Euros instead of Dollars it would have a calamitous effect on US foreign exchange reserves (the $ taking over from the gold standard has been very lucrative for the US) and would basically send the whole economy (which has already become extremely fragile and shaky) into one giant muthafucka of a recession.
By taking control of Iraq's oil reserves, the second largest proven oil reserves in the world, the US would send a clear message to the OPEC states about switching to the Euro - in that it would have a significant military presence in the Gulf from which to easily intimidate, it would ensure the US has a cheap and plentiful oil supply for at least the next 50 years, and it would end once and for all OPEC's power to control the global price of oil.
And as stated earlier, if the history of the 20th century is any indicator at all, the US will not have the patience, time or money to bother genuinely rebuilding Iraq and it's infrastructure after it has finished obliterating it.
Just ask the Afghans (or the Vietnamese, or the Somalis, or the Haitians, or... you get my drift) about this for the most recent examples - it's a little known fact that the French have donated more money to rebuilding Afghanistan than the US has thus far.
In fact, one of the main reasons Afghanistan was in the mess it was, is because the US spent huge amounts of money in the area trying to drive the Soviets out, and when they left, the American funding instantly dried up as well, collapsing the local economy and creating a huge power vacuum that the Taliban eventually filled.
Because democracies don't just happen overnight when a leader is disposed.
And if democracy is suddenly imposed on a population with no prior experience of it, it's a guaranteed recipe for political disaster, as seen in the east european former Soviet states.
There needs to be a certain level of economic prosperity, political stability and a culture of civic involvement already existing for a democracy to work effectively as a political structure, otherwise it merely adds heavy weight to the forces of factionalism that serve to pull a country apart.
I can assure you that it will take the US ten years - if it's lucky, to create a democracy in Iraq.
Ten years of constant funding, constant manpower, constant military spending.
I mean, that would be an awesome thing if they did, but I very_ much_ doubt that the American public has the stomach, coffers, or sense of altruism to do such a thing over such a long period.
This is after all, the nation that has patented the concept of self-interest and with arguably, one of the correspondingly weakest levels of social cohesian in the entire OECD...
War with Iraq is going to create massive political instability in all the surrounding states, particularly Iran (whom the US government hates because it's everything they despise in one easy package: Socialist, Muslim, friendly to Russia and incredibly oil rich...).
The consequences of a massive refugee outflow from Iraq, competing warlord factions (including the Kurds) struggling to establish their own political control within Iraq, widespread Muslim fears of US-led religious pogrom in the region using Iraq as a base, and the scale of retaliatory terrorist strikes at the US is going to do far more to harm both US domestic security and Persian regional security than any good the US government is currently blustering as being concrete reasons for military intervention.
If they really gave a flying fuck about the Iraqi people (or the US people, but that's another essay...) they'd have dropped the sanctions, engaged in talks with Saddam, given them a long term economic and technological aid program, written off their debt, (along with the rest of the Third World) and let increasing prosperity and a more civicly involved middle-class do the rest of the job of creating democracy, stability and a US-friendly populace and government.
In short, they'd have done the Christian thing and loved thine enemy to the point where it became their friend.
In short, the US government could be spending a whole lot less money in a way that would be a helluva lot more effective at achieving their stated goals.
Which is exactly why I believe they're lying their fat, white, greedy asses off (Colon 'whigga' Powell not excepted).