Thursday, March 13, 2003

Conflicted about the Conflict: Preventative Measures

Sure to be the first of many parts of my ongoing thoughts about the (currently) upcoming war on Iraq.  The short of it is that am I opposed to the war in general terms — I’m opposed to war period — but there are lots of pieces which need to be examined along the way.  The anti-war protestors are not always right.

One of the reasons the Bush Administration keeps claiming as a need to go to war on Iraq (at this point, potentially go to war, if Iraq doesn’t disarm; more on that in a later item) is the threat of potential terrorism.  The fear not that Iraq itself will launch terrorist attacks on the United States, it’s citizens, or it’s allies, but that any “weapons of mass destruction” they have might get passed to (sold, given, stolen by) terrorist groups and then used by those groups.  Aiding and abetting, if you will.

This plays heavily off our fears from September 11, and the Bush Administration (and with them, the media outlets — liberal and conservative both — who carry the Bush Administration’s comments and then expound on them) wants us to think that Saddam Hussein will deal directly with Al Qaeda.  Al Qaeda is something of a boogie man these days, the only terrorist organization (maybe along with Hamas) which Americans can be expected to keep in our heads; all terrorists therefore collapse into the specter of Osama bin Laden.

The Bush Administration has revealed several specious (at best) “connections” between Iraq and Al Qaeda, almost desperately trying to give Americans a “smoking gun” reason for us to be in favor of going to war on Iraq.  At the same time, the media has tracked out these same “connections” and found very little to run with, and one major thing to run away from: Al Qaeda considers the secular Iraq to be an enemy (albeit not as significant a one as the United States).  And thus the likelihood of Iraq giving weapons to Al Qaeda drifts away like smoke.  (And the same would be true with any fundamentalist religious terrorist group: they are not going to make deals with a non-religious government, because such a government is their enemy.)

Occasional mentions are also made of Saddam Hussein supporting Palestinian terrorists — Hussein is anti-Israeli — but I have not not heard fears voiced that he would supply “weapons of mass destruction” to them.  And since he already has established connections there — donating money to the families of suicide bombers — such transactions would at least make sense.  That we don’t hear howling about that possibility seems to give the lie to fears about him supplying other terrorists with weapons.

In the end, going to war because of something a foreign power might do someday — not have done, but might do — and further might do with weapons they may not have and may not even be developing or trying to acquire, that doesn’t strike me as a good reason to attack someone.  With this rationalization for prevention of potential events, the door is left open to attack anyone at any time.

France, for example.  They are opposing us in the United Nations Security Council (which marks them as a potential enemy), and they have nuclear capabilities.  They could, at some point (tomorrow, next year, next century) pass weapons (nuclear, radiological, biological, chemical) to groups which are actively antagonistic to United States interests (terrorists, that is, although just what that term means is open to interpretation; could that include Quebecois separatists, right on our northern border?).  Perhaps France should be next in line after Iraq, North Korea, and Iran?  Maybe we can’t afford to wait that long?

Today the oil, tomorrow the wine!

Updated on June 26, 2010
Fixed punctuation and added a word for reading clarity.

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