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Case For War, Soon
enlightened and well-educated Americans - often among the most influential
of our society - simply cannot believe that awful men abound in the world
and cannot be cajoled, bought off, counseled, reasoned with, or reported
to the authorities, but rather must be hit and knocked hard to cease their
evildoing if the blameless and vulnerable are to survive." Victor Davis
Hanson wrote those words, in the introduction for his collection of brilliant
post-9/11 essays, An Autumn of War; he was talking about American academia
and the Taliban in Afghanistan, but it could just as easily be applied to
Saddam Hussein and Iraq.
Only one job in America today has more upside than munitions production: military analyst for the media, starved for information and unwilling (or financially unable) to pursue answers itself. Each of these analysts has a different timetable for Saddam Hussein's overthrow - someone on CNN says the first of March, someone on Fox News suggests mid-March ... a certain flair for the dramatic hopes the president will take to the podium next Tuesday and announce, straight-faced, that the bombing will begin in five minutes. (It's about time someone say that and not be joking.) But none of the analysts seem to know anything for sure, except that our victory will be fairly decisive, and swift.
While conservatives have generally derided efforts put forth by anti-war protestors, different tact will be taken here: There is nothing unreasonable about asking some of the questions protestors have asked, provided they are equally as willing to hear the answers when given. "The inspectors haven't been on the job long enough to do anything conclusive, they need more time" could easily be followed up with, Those inspectors could have had more time, something to the tune of four-and-a-half years more time thus far, had they not been kicked out in the first place. Whatever weapons had been discovered to that point would have been dealt with more effectively, more weapons would have been discovered, and Scott Ritter wouldn't have had the chance to solicit cops, posing as underage teen girls.
"Iraq is no threat to the United States." Correction, it is no direct threat to the United States, insofar as Iraq doesn't now, and likely will never, have the capability to fire a nuclear weapon from Baghdad to, say, Los Angeles, or Al Kuwait, or Tel Aviv. But then again, American and United Airlines had never been a direct threat to either the Pentagon or the World Trade Center prior to the Tragedies. The point is, it's not the capacity of the entity itself that should concern us here, rather the potential for damage and death, done onto innocents, when and if those entities fall into the wrong hands. Not coincidentally, they fall into the wrong hands when rogue nations like Iraq sell them to, oh, al Qaeda, or something similar. The potential is more than we can bear.
"It's the United Nations inspectors jobs to prove the weapons exist, not Iraq's to display them." (The term "United Nations inspectors" is enough to make one laugh from the start - the United Nations is a lot like a 100-year-old trying to have sex: In principle it may sound interesting to someone somewhere, but at the end of the day, what's the point, really?) And for that debate, it seems to have been forgotten that, some years ago, Iraq invaded a neighbor and had to be forcibly removed, at which point a rather long and complicated peace treaty was signed. Those nations obligated to sign peace treaties with America aren't being asked to do X, Y and Z, they are being commanded to do X, Y and Z, to the ultimate benefit of those innocents residing at what we know are popular targets, who we are to assume will be targeted someday, if nothing is done. More to the point, peace treaties aren't lists of helpful suggestions, they're instruments of dominance to which the fallen are obliged to adhere, lest things continue to go badly.
"This is a war for oil, not the potential for harm." That argument was made much more convincingly in 1991 than today; and as you've noticed, it hasn't worked well. There is a palpable sense that Saddam Hussein could have generally be left alone to run his little third world, toilet regime (he certainly wouldn't have been the Lone Ranger in the Middle East given that arrangement) had he done what he was told in relation to Weapons of Mass Destruction. (Oh, how the term irritates; a knife can be such a weapon, ask Squeaky Fromme.) But no. For whatever the reasons that seem to grip dictators, it's not enough to do what they've agreed to do and otherwise leave well enough alone ... a statement against the capitalist oppressors must be made, every day, in some form or another.
"We must have the approval of our foreign allies before going forward." See the above comment on the United Nations, and add this: To whatever end our motivations to end Hussein are noble, so must be our indifference to German and French anti-Americanism. There is nothing whatever to gain in targeting Paris and Berlin, just Tel Aviv, Los Angeles or New York. The proportionate threat to France and Germany in relation to America's and Israel's in the "war on terrorism" is non-existent, and the two nations would be thanked to keep their mouths shut until such time as they have experienced any real worries, save those not previously put to an end by American efforts.
This is the last column on Iraq that will occupy this space until such time as both Iraqi and American flags are being waved jubilantly in the streets of Baghdad. It needn't be the case that tens of thousands of Iraqi's, maybe more, must be felled by American troops in the name of overall safety and, ultimately, freedom. But for that to not be the case, Saddam Hussein must relent and step aside. Given that, and even a modicum of cooperation, one could only imagine the good work that could be done toward the betterment of Iraq's people. Absent that luxury, the point must be forced ... we have motivations that are dignified and just, and we must proceed, soon.