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Saddam Hussein may be a dictatorial madman, but no one can accuse him of
being stupid. His 12,000 page report to the United Nations detailing Iraq's
weapons programs ought to, at the very least, make for a few good months worth
of bedtime reading for Bush-and will force America to play rope-a-dope with
Hussein for awhile longer. Meanwhile, Bush continues to send US troops over to
the Middle East for what, so far, has been little more than a costly field trip.
Bush's critics paint him as being far too eager to hit the "little red
button", as though it was part of some kind of amusement center pinball
game. However, their characterization of the US President as a warmonger
couldn't be more off base. His record hardly bears out the charge.
During Bush's campaign for the presidency, he said very little about foreign
affairs-to the point that his silence was interpreted as a sign of ignorance by
some. When Bush did speak about US foreign policy, it was to insist time and
again that America was over-committed, pushy, and too involved in telling other
countries how to run their affairs. The remarks are hardly characteristic of the
power hungry poster boy for "American imperialism" that some have made
him out to be.
Bush's foreign policy did a 180 degree flip-flop on the basis of a single,
pivotal event: the 9/11 terrorist attacks on America. It was on that date that
America realized it could no longer afford to turn its back on the Muslim world
and pretend that events in the Middle East have nothing to do with the Western
World. Just as Pearl Harbor transformed the planet in an instant, so did it
radically change once again on September 11th, 2001. Unfortunately, it now seems
that it may actually take yet another cataclysmic event of 9/11 magnitude to
remind the world of why America appears to be so hawkish towards the Middle
Contrary to what anti-war activists and conspiracy theorists argue, Bush's
foreign affairs policy is not centered strictly on some kind of burning desire
to tap into Iraq's oil-nor is it about finishing the job his dad never had the
chance to during the Persian Gulf War of the early 1990's. Even the peaceniks
agree that the key to a free, liberated, empowered people is a democratic system
of government. Perhaps the critics would like to explain exactly how democracy
and freedom could ever be achieved without some kind of interventionist force?
There must be a catalyst for such drastic change to occur, because the cycle of
oppression doesn't just magically stop spinning around on its own. One only
needs to look as far as Cuba's long-reigning Fidel Castro to see that dictators
have shelf lives longer than those of Twinkies.
"So," howl the peaceniks, "Why don't we go after Castro then-or
some of the other 'bad guys'? Why are we picking on poor Saddam and the Middle
East?" Well, last I checked, Castro and the Cubans weren't hijacking
American aircraft carriers, proudly and publicly advocating "death to
America", and making videos of the effects of nerve gas on living creatures
to send to their "enemies". It's the squeaky wheel that tends to get
the oil, and Hussein's been squealing like he's rolling along on a '85 Chevette.
As for our "friends" the Saudis who continue to propagate totalitarian
Wahabi Islam and to fund terrorism via royal money-again, Iraq is the key. Bush
has expressed privately that a Saudi regime change is also in order. However,
the Saudis will feel more heat when the US moves in to occupy Iraq. At that
point, America would no longer be dependent on Saudi oil, and would therefore
have the political leverage necessary to pressure the Saudis to stop their
support of terrorist activities. Essentially then, a war on Saddam Hussein's
Iraq IS a war on terrorism. In fact, it's the lynchpin for the whole shebang.
Of course, if war can be averted, then all the better. To this end, a swift
assassination of the Iraqi dictator would be in everyone's best interests. Much
to the delight of all the peace activists, such an act would save lives, cost
less money, and would be far more environmentally friendly than the alternative
of war. However, any such attempts so far have been thwarted due to the high
level of security around the Iraqi president at all times, as well as the
presence of look-alike Hussein decoys.
So, judging by past experience, it looks like war against Iraq is inevitable.
Surely Saddam's 12,000 page report to the United Nations doesn't contain the
truth, as the truth can be told in far fewer pages than that. As some of us may
recall from our university and college essays, it takes far more in the way of
endless drivel to BS and obfuscate effectively. But even in spite of the lies
and omissions, Hussein has little to worry about. The recent UN Security Council
Resolution 1441 states that, by December 8, Iraq had to provide weapons
inspectors with "a currently accurate, full, and complete declaration"
of every aspect of its chemical, biological, nuclear and missile programs;
however, the resolution also provides Iraq with a convenient loophole in that it
prevents Hussein from being deemed in material breach even if his report
contains fallacies and omissions. The wording of the lame-duck resolution is
such that as long as Hussein allows UN weapons inspectors to be led throughout
his country in a hopeless "hide-and-seek" search for weapons, then
he's free and clear of any material breach. And to believe that this isn't
exactly the way things are being done in Iraq at this very second-with an
understaffed group of weapons inspectors who have little to no experience in
dealing with a regime so well-practiced in deception-is just plain ignorance.
From a public relations standpoint, it would be a nice bonus if Bush could
obtain irrefutable photographic proof of the danger Saddam Hussein poses to the
world, in the same way that the world was able to see first-hand the aerial
photo of the Cuban missile threat of the early 1960's. That's the key to
garnering widespread support for military action. But of course, that still
wouldn't be enough for some people-namely those who spend their Saturday
afternoons marching up and down Constitution Avenue in front of the White House
carrying anti-war signs.
Four months ago, White House officials were saying that Bush had no need to
consult the United Nations before moving into Iraq unilaterally to deliver
Saddam Hussein his eviction notice. Bush took the high road, and opted for an
attempt at a peaceful and costly resolution through the United Nations. But as
long as Saddam exists, you can bet that there will be weapons of mass
destruction somewhere in Iraq-because Saddam isn't Saddam without them. Denying
that Hussein has some serious weapons stashed away somewhere is like denying the
existence of gravity simply on the grounds that you can't see it. But how much
longer Bush is willing to hold off on attack in order to fight the public
relations war for the benefit of those for whom 9/11 obviously didn't drive home
the message hard enough is another matter. Time is running out, and some people
will just never get it anyway.
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