March 29th, 2003

Zoner en fuego!

A comment on the war...

I have very mixed feelings about the war. Like most things in life, I don't see this in black & white. It is obvious that the government isn't doing this just to liberate Iraq - Halliburton has already been given a contract to help rebuild the oil industry after the war, anyone surprised? In the abstract sense war is certainly bad, and it'd be nice not to have any.

However, I do believe that in human society sometimes war is the answer. There are times when diplomacy, inspections, boycotts, etc, just will not do it. I think that we're in this current war largely due to our own past decisions - we helped prop up Saddam for years, arming and funding him in his war with Iran. We basically gave him the nod to invade Kuwait. We could've pushed on in 1991 and removed him from power then, but we didn't because it wasn't policitally expedient - instead we got a nice '100 hour war'.

After the 'war' was over, we encouraged the Iraqi people to overthrow Saddam, and there were uprisings of people who expected, because they were told to expect it, support from the US. We didn't support them, and they were slaughtered. I won't compared Saddam to Hitler - that's cliche, and I didn't study History and focus on WWII to use such a lame argument. But the fact is that Saddam is a brutal dictator that we helped keep in power.

I think we betrayed the Iraqi people in 1991 when we failed to support the very uprisings we encouraged them to start. People have said that if it were a truly corrupt regime, that the people would overthrow it. I don't believe that. The regime has the arms, it controls the money, the food, the water. People are scared and the lessons of the past are that if you object to the regime, you die. There is nothing to encourage them to act. So yeah, I don't like the fact that people on both sides are dying. And I sure as hell don't like shrub or support most of the administration's policies. But I think this is a case of us cleaning up a mess we helped create, and finishing a job we started 12 years ago.

The Gulf War never really ended - we've been shooting at each other for the past 12 years, it just never got much press. And the few bits of news that leak out of Iraq without Iraqi government approval all say the same thing: "Please, bring the war soon. We'd rather die under an American bomb than live under Saddam - at least it gives us hope for the future."

The strongest example of this is Ken Joseph's report, but I've seen others as well. Major network reporters have reported that, in moments when their minders have been out of earshot, common Iraqi's have spoken in support of the war. I've seen interviews on the BBC with Iraqi's living in the UK, etc, and they've all spoken in favor of the war, saying it gives them hope for their families and friends still there.

So no, even though in the abstract I don't like war, in the concrete terms of this war I support it. Like I said, I don't believe we're doing it just to be nice to the Iraqi people, but I'm willing to accept Halliburton profiting from the war, etc, if we can achieve the goal of removing the current regime from power and allowing the Iraqi people ot establish a truly representational government. This is heavily oversimplified, but I don't feel like trying to cover all the nuances of this pretzel of a situation in an LJ entry...
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