War and the unknown
"We must never
let fear of the unknown stop us from defending our nation with force."
Ah yes, "fear of the unknown" the perfect rationale for
the impending war with Iraq, a conflict that could lay a black mark on
the 21st century. I'd like to personally thank Jay Armitage (deputy to
United States Secretary of the State Colin Powell) for delivering those
soothing words on Tuesday. They've made a solid contribution to my recent
So, we find ourselves on the brink of the seemingly inevitable battle
between our jolly, gun-toting friends to the south and the charming tyrant
On Saturday, tens of thousands of people held peace rallies around the
world in the attempt to put public pressure on the American government.
While I applaud their intentions, in the end, Bush will plow headlong
into battle against the "unknown," with his sabre rattlin' and
Cheney's gut a- wigglin'.
The length of an American war on Iraq has garnered much debate. Most pundits
say Baghdad (the Iraqi capitol) would fall in under 10 days. The invasion
could also break down into streetfighting in Baghdad, prolonging the battle
and escalating both civilian and military deaths. In the end, the body
count and length of battle are arguable, but an eventual American victory
It's the ramifications of the war which should keep us all awake at night.
The poverty, civil unrest and anti-American sentiment contained within
large pockets of the Middle East could be pushed to the boiling point
with an Iraqi war, and lead to widespread violence and political instability
across the region. The possibility of Israel getting drawn into the conflict
poses even greater dangers.
In addition, no better advertising could possibly be delivered into the
hands of al-Qaeda. Want to hand Osama evidence, whether true or untrue,
to convince Joe-terrorist that America is the enemy of the Muslim world?
How about an unprovoked and internationally condemned attack on a heavily
Muslim nation, in which numerous civilians are killed and the government
is toppled? I think many Joe-terrorists will be ready to sign their martyr
contracts to wage an indefinite war.
Is Saddam a good guy? No. Is America sincere in its desire to "free"
the Iraqi people? Don't bet on it.
An honest attempt at rebuilding and democratizing Iraq would cost the
U.S. billions of dollars. What's on the tab? The development of a functioning
civil service, legislative system and political institutions; infrastructure
for social and health care; a sustained military presence that could last
well over a decade, which would be widely resented by terrorist factions
and surrounding nations.
Bush will topple Saddam and go through the pretenses of wanting to help
rebuild the nation (how often have you heard the word "Afghanistan"
in recent months?). Soon enough, another tyrant will take control of Iraq
and we'll find ourselves back at square one.
Saddam is a thug a street bully content to rule over his
little fiefdom. Iraq's next dictator may have loftier aspirations.
The fear of the unknown indeed.