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Rants & Ruminations

 

March 19, 2003

Mr. President,

You're about to make a monumental blunder. This mistake will reverberate for ages. It is going to drive a wedge between us and a good part of the civilized world. You're about to act like the bully on the block, instead of the righteous Knight In Shining Armor.

And it won't do a damned thing about terrorism.

Oh, by the way, regarding the wedge with the civilized world, I don't give a damn about the French, though…..

Just so you know, I'm far from being a pacifist. To the contrary. I wholly supported Desert Storm. I thought Afghanistan was thoroughly warranted (click here or here), and morally just. It was a job "well done", that made me proud to be an American. I simply cannot say the same for an invasion of Iraq.

This is not an endorsement of Iraq or Saddam. Give me a break. You've got the blessings of the country to send a Special Forces team to take the bastard out. Hell, blow the crap out of all of his Presidential Palaces, all at the same time. You just haven't convinced me that the commitment of this many troops is worth the risk.

Is Saddam a madman? Of course. Did he slaughter thousands of his people 12 years ago? Yep. Is he a threat to the United States? Not by a long shot. And that's the rub.

You see, I've read these long lists of reasons for invasion, and I can shoot holes in every one of them. Let's stay focused: This is supposed to be a war on terrorism. The last terrorist attack on the US was on September 11, 2001. It was planned and executed by members of Al-Qaeda. Show me a direct link to Saddam - just like you did for bin Laden - and I'd say, "Light him up". There is no link. [Note: And by the way, the Al-Qaeda guy that visited a doctor's office in Baghdad isn't a link. At least not a significant enough link to justify an invasion. If you're going to invade, you'd better make it a damned good reason. Not some guy getting his annual prostate screening.]

Before I take apart the Invasion Manifesto (gotta give it a cool name, don't ya?), I'll let you know my opinion as to when we should commit troops into harm's way. Obviously I'm not in a position to initiate these military responses, but I'd be willing to bet a good deal of the American public would agree with my reasoning. And we're the ones that vote you into, or out of, office.

  • Reasons To Invade (massive troop, ship, aircraft and heavy equipment mobilization. Desert Storm is a good example. What you're getting ready to do now in the Middle East is another.):
    1. Our country has been invaded - pretty self evident
    2. Our ally has been invaded. Britain, Spain, Other NATO allies, Japan, Australia - you know the usual group of folks we pal around with.
    3. A country in our "sphere of influence" has been invaded - this gets a little more dicey. For us, it pretty much all of North, Central and South America and everything in between and on the fringes. Basically, our "global backyard".
  • Reasons To Attack (lay a really good ass-whipping on someone, like we did in Granada, Panama, and Afghanistan. Minimal troop commitments, but enough to put the fear of the US of A into them):
    1. Imminent threat to US citizens or strategic interests
    2. Actual attack against US citizens, strategic interests, or those of our allies.
  • Reasons For Pre-Emptive Strikes (blow something or someone all to hell. Few, if any troops deployed. Use smart-bombs, bombers, small "hit teams", etc. What the Israeli's did to Iraq in the 80's by blowing up his nuclear program.):
    1. A perceived threat to US national interests. Very broad interpretation. That's OK with me. I'm willing to give my government a pretty good benefit of the doubt when it comes to this type of engagement.
    2. Any inkling that terrorist activities are happening, or are being harbored by the state.

[Note: If we see a terrorist training camp, turn it into an ashtray AND blow up the residence of the chief of state.]

Deconstruction of the Invasion Manifesto

The following is a list of a number of reasons our government and TV "Talking Heads" are using to justify the invasion of Iraq.

Hitler Similarity - "Saddam is the next Hitler", "If we had stopped Hitler in his tracks, WWII never would have happened", blah, blah, blah. You get the point.

Aside from each of them having some loose screws, this one isn't even close. If this had been said in 1991, it would have made sense. This is one of the reasons I personally supported Desert Storm. Not now. In the 1930's, Hitler had the strongest military in the entire world. Bar none. In 1991, Saddam had the (I believe) third largest standing army in the world (only behind China and Russia). Seriously scary stuff.

Now, Saddam's army is less than half the size it was in 1991. He has had virtually no military expenditures since he got bitch-slapped in Desert Storm. He has a fraction of his hardware that he had before Desert Storm started: Tanks: Then - 3,475; Post Desert Storm - 842. Armored Personnel Carriers: Then - 3,080; Post Desert Storm - 1,412. Artillery: Then - 2,474; Post Desert Storm - 279. Combat Aircraft: Then - 689; 2000 - 353. Total Troops: Then - 1,000K; 2000 - 375K. (Here's the source. It's an Adobe PDF file, so you'll need Adobe Acrobat reader. It's free, you cheap bastard....)

The No-Fly zone has worked very well. He is internationally impotent.

Hitler, indeed.

Containment, such as that used by the US in (former) West Germany and South Korea has worked very well. What would cause our government to believe it won't continue to work here?

He Possess Weapons of Mass Destruction/ Threat to US/Free World - Not quite sure what the definition of WMD is in reality. A hand grenade can kill 10 people. That's a mass. It seems to mostly mean nerve gas, biological and nuclear. We'll go with this definition until someone else comes up with something better.

Take a look at this picture from The International Institute of Strategic Studies [who happen to believe in the war, by the way...]:

A good number of Middle Eastern countries are in the range of his missiles. If you look really, really closely, you can't see a single US state. Hell, not even a US Possession. Not a single one. Hmmm.

OK, so let's suppose he'll deliver them some other way. How? This stuff is pretty volatile, so you don't just fill up a backpack and deliver it. He doesn't have any long range missiles, and the monitoring we have in place won't allow that to happen. I just don't know, but if he was going to do this - deliver them into the American heartland - why didn't he do it sometime after 1997-98 when all of the inspectors were kicked out of Iraq? And why haven't the inspectors that are just now leaving found any traces of any of these weapons?

You know what? I'll bet that after the fighting starts, we WILL find some of these weapons. Maybe lots of them. So what? He has no way of delivering them against the American people.

Kills his own people/Tortures his own people - This really is a shame for the people of Iraq. It's been going on for 20+ years, AND THEY HAVEN'T DONE A DAMNED THING ABOUT IT. Why the hell would we commit troops to rescue a people that clearly don't want to be rescued? Boo-friggin'-hoo.

If life there sucks so badly, either leave or fight. If this is such a tragedy, let the Arab nations go in and kick his ass. This really sounds like a mission for the UN. The US can commit some troops for peace keeping. We can provide arms and training to "liberation forces", but this isn't our fight, because America isn't at risk.

It seems no one but us thinks this is a problem…..

UN Resolutions - Everyone agrees Saddam has broken 17 gazillion UN resolutions. Again, so what? He's not threat to us. Why do WE care, when the rest of the Security Council couldn't seem to care less?

What really gets me, Mr. President, is when you state (to paraphrase), "Saddam must comply with the vote of the Security Council." OK. What the Security Council says Is Law. The Security Council now says they don't want to go to war over the resolutions. You say (again to paraphrase) "We're not governed by the UN." Sorry, Mr. President, you can't have it both ways….. at least you can't and still be respected by the American people, and be the moral leader of the world.

Al-Qaeda Connections - Other than minor brushes with some low-level people, this is non-existent. Bin Laden HATES Saddam. Saddam is secular, bin Laden want a religious state. Hell, bin Laden even recently called Saddam "evil" or "A Great Satan" - something usually reserved for the US or Israel.

If you want to stop Al-Qaeda, bomb the hell out of Saudi Arabia. At least there is a link with them.

Regime Change - God, I hope they're kidding about this one. Didn't we learn ANYTHING from Viet Nam? Or Nicaragua? If a people want to live under communism, or fascism or socialism, we have no right - moral or legal - to interfere in the internal affairs of another country. In fact, we have seen that all of those social/economic models DON'T WORK and will eventually fail by themselves.

Mr. President, the very first Marines said it all: "Don't Tread On Me".

Let Qatar be a model for us. The leadership of the country has "seen the light", and has started elections, women's rights - the whole can o' worms. Freedom finds a way to thrive.

We need to encourage, not force feed.

What would I do? The questions presumes that there is a problem. Our current course of action has been a success. Saddam has been bottled up for the last 12 years, not doing a damned thing to the US. He's not done a damned thing to his neighbors. He's not done a damned thing to his own people.

What's the problem again????

JMS


 

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