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"It is better to be drunk with loss and to beat the ground, than to let the deeper things gradually escape."

- I. Compton-Burnett, letter to Francis King (1969)

"Cynical realism – it is the intelligent man’s best excuse for doing nothing in an intolerable situation."

- Aldous Huxley, "Time Must Have a Stop"

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Monday, 1 December 2003

Topic: Iraq
Straight Talk from Georgia

Jay Bookman down in Atlanta does see things clearly. A good read.

This war not against terrorists
Jay Bookman, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Monday, December 01, 2003

He opens with this:

From the beginning, the Bush administration's inability to talk straight about its Iraq policy has generated deep and valid suspicion. Good policy doesn't need to be defended by deception; the truth will do just fine.

We didn't get the truth a year ago, when Bush officials implausibly claimed that Saddam Hussein posed a dire threat to U.S. security. We're not getting the truth today, as President Bush and others depict our struggle in Iraq as some sort of defense of the American homeland.

"We are aggressively striking the terrorists in Iraq, defeating them there," Vice President Dick Cheney said a week ago, "so we do not have to face them on the streets of our own cities."

"You are defeating the terrorists in Iraq, so we don't have to face them in our country," President Bush likewise told U.S. troops during his lightning visit to Baghdad.

Such statements are simply false. Our men and women in uniform are not fighting for their lives against international terrorists in Iraq. They are not fighting the people who attacked us on Sept. 11, nor are they fighting allies of those people.

Instead, the guerrillas who are launching mortars at our military bases, attacking our troops on patrol or hiding booby traps on Iraqi highways are native Iraqis who are trying to evict American troops from their country. Despicable and cowardly as their tactics are, the Iraqi resistance is almost entirely Iraqi.

Well, I'm not sure what the counterargument is. It might go that we just had to do this preemptive/preventive/prophylactic war thing. We had to. Saddam was a BAD man. It's good he's gone, right? And we'll build a mighty fine country there now, secular and free-market capitalist, and they'll gladly recognize Israel and peace will break out all over the place. Well, that seems to be the current thinking.

And "they" are attacking simply because they hate us.

They are not attacking us because they hate Americans. They are attacking us because they hate Americans who are occupying their country.

Well, why would they hate us for that? We're there to liberate them! Those idiots!

Here is what the Bush administration does not want to admit to the American people:

We are fighting two different wars today, against two very different enemies. The first war, against international terror, was brought to our shores by the attacks of Sept. 11, and we had no choice but to respond aggressively, with every bit of power we could muster. The invasion of Afghanistan, the toppling of its Taliban government and the destruction of al-Qaida bases in that country were justified and necessary responses, and if anything should have been prosecuted even more aggressively than they were.

The war against Iraq, on the other hand, has been a war of choice, a war of opportunity launched by the Bush administration because the events of Sept. 11 gave it the cover to do so. If Iraq is now "the central front on the war on terror," it is because the Bush administration made it so by invading that country and threatening to turn it into the type of "failed nation" that produces terrorism.

We created this mess? But we had to! Maybe.

The war on Iraq and the war on terror are two different struggles. Tackled separately, either would have taken us years to win. Tackling them simultaneously was tragic foolishness on a very large scale, no matter how much the president claims otherwise.

Yeah, well, will Jay change his tune when Iraq is indistinguishable from ... Arizona?

We shall see.

Posted by Alan at 15:57 PST | Post Comment | Permalink
Updated: Tuesday, 9 December 2003 13:50 PST home

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