So for better or for worse, it finally started. To be honest, despite my inherently left-leaning nature, until today, I found myself torn over which way I stood on the Iraq war issue.
On the one hand, Saddam Hussein is a bad person by any stretch of the imagination $B!& (Bhe has slaughtered tens of thousands of his own civilians, actively sought weapons of mass destruction, cruelly oppressed and massacred Kurdish minorities in the North, invaded his neighbors $B!& (Bthe list goes on and on.
In addition, despite the hyperbolistic rhetoric of the left, George Bush is hardly as dangerous as Saddam Hussein nor as “evil” as Adolph Hitler, to whom he has been increasingly compared – to do so would be to trivialize the crimes of one of the greatest criminals of all time and the plight of those who suffered at the hands of a true madman.
Further compounding this problem is the fact that many of the so called “proponents of peace” posses truly deplorable ulterior motives. Frances’s vehement anti-war rhetoric is not predicated upon some nobler desire for the preservation of humanity, but is instead designed to cover up the fact that even before the conclusion of the first Gulf War, French companies had signed billions of dollars in illicit oil deals with the Iraqi dictator in clear violation of UN mandates. In fact, a great percentage of Iraqi oil currently sold on the black market to support Hussein’s oppressive dictatorship goes through French hands, and it is the French that have the most to gain from the continuation of the Hussein regime. This is to make no mention of the money France has made by selling Iraq its highly advanced Mirage fighter jets and lethal exocet missles, weapons used only for the perpetuation of his own oppressive regime.
As for Germany, the government’s hardline stance on the Iraq issue has less to do with a genuine concern for the consequences of war as it has to do with covering up for an economy on the verge of collapse, disturbingly widespread financial instability amongst the nation’s leading banks and a political system that has, in addition to betraying the public trust, is bordering on the edge of internal scandal and paralysis. Germany’s opposition to the war, couched in terms of anti-American rhetoric, is a classic case study in regime legitimization by deflection of internal criticism towards an outside source (in this case, avoiding scrutiny of its ineptitude by jumping on the “Down with America!” bandwagon).
Other opponents to the war include Russia (in a similar situation to France, but deserving of its own commentary, later) and China, neither of which have much legitimacy to speak about the relative humanity of any given international action (it is worthy to ask why both have failed to mention Chechnya or Tibet, respectively, in their rush to sing the praises of preserving “humanity” against war). Given the dubious motivations behind those in opposition to a US led strike on Iraq, and the undeniable fact that in realist terms, Saddam Hussein poses a greater threat towards human life than GW, it is hard for me to lend my full support to anti-war protesters, the majority of which suffer a major disconnect with the realist nature of international anarchy.
At the same time, none of this validates GW mindblowing single-minded march towards war. Just as the left suffers from a disconnect with reality, so too do the hawks of the right, eager to reclaim some delusion of former grandeur, safe in the knowledge that they will not be the ones tosuffer the calamities of war. And while ultimately some good might come of a war (it’s hard to imagine that the end result will be worse than the regime the Iraqi people are currently stuck with), and some arguments for the neccessity for pre-emptive strikes hold weight, I cannot shake myself of some of the more disturbing suggestions of impropriety beneath the public relations facade, nor can I reconcile the gravity of wa with the less-than-concrete evidence thus far presented in its favor.
For these reasons, I found myself torn between the two extremes – unable to fully lend my support to the antiwar movement, yet unwilling to accept the actions and reasons of the Bush adminstration.
That is, until now. When I finally saw that the “war had started” I found that despite my misgivings about the antiwar movement, I simply cannot reconcile Bush’s actions with the situation at hand. Yes, Saddam is a bad person. Yes, he is in violation of UN mandates. Yes, America (arguably) has a right to pre-emptively strike at opponents in self defense. But NO, it did not have to turn out this way. It takes a special type of idiocy to squander the diplomatic good will granted to America by the world after the September 11th attacks $B!& (Bgood will that in the hands of a skillful diplomat could have been successfully applied to deal with valid (and still existant) global security concerns of the new millenium. Yet, rather than utilize this uprecedented opportunity to bring such discussion to the forefront, Bush has squandered it, fulfilling the direst predictions of his most ardent critics and reinforcing characterizations of Americans as arrogant cowboys the world over. His actions in the recent months have seemingly been designed to actively alienate America’s closest allies and deliberately stoke the fires of anti-Americanism in the middle east and elsewhere. While France may be a duplicitous, criminally negligent country motivated primarily by greed and a desire to pursue a Gaulist verision of unilateralism, this does not excuse the diplomatic train wreck that occurred at the United Nations. Bush failed to present a compelling argument that UN inspections were not working (what was wrong with giving them more time $B!& (B) and certainly failed to adequately convince the world that there was an immediate need for military action against Iraq. I am not inherently opposed to war $B!& (Bas deplorable as war is (and this is the point which most leftist miss), it is not intrisically “wrong” (a friend once pointed out: “war has never done anything good – except end slavery, the holocaust, facism, socialism, communism, tyranny and oppression, as well as create the 3 largest economies in the world”). However, war should be a last resort, exercised only after all other options are exhausted. Bush is far from having exhausted other alternatives (it is here that the left has an extremely valid point) $B!& (Band his diplomatic incompetence (the eloquence of Powell and Rice fail to cover for the inherently extreme nature of their positions) has failed to adequately finess the gravity of the situation to assuage the fears of the world community. In short, he has not proven his case for war, nor provided the support necessary for his actions. This current state of affairs simply should not be.
And that perhaps is my greatest regret. There is something screwed up with the world when students and grandparents protect a murderous dictator in the name of peace, while the president of the United States marches the world’s premier democracy singlemindedly towards war. I cannot say for certain that I will march in the next anti-war protest. But my sympathy for the anti-war movement has never been stronger.
An intruiging discussion of the events leading up to the current situation can be found here.
11:11 pm

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