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PEACE: Foreign Policy & Terrorism | March 28, 2003


An E-Mail to Anti-War Activist Friends 

...I'm very proud of you both, sticking up for what you believe in. I'm also very proud of the soldiers, for the same reason. And I'm not at all proud of right-wing politicians' making people who are opposed to war seem like they're opposed to those we order to fight the wars (a very dicey distinction for all concerned). Like Dad says (After seeing all the amputees in WWII, he's the most anti-war, pro-UN guy I know), "Who's more concerned for the soldiers? The ones who try to keep them out of war or the ones who send them off to war?" (I think good leaders must be prepared to take either course, but only for the very best of reasons.)

I try to keep an open mind, as I'm sure you do. And although I do think the Iraqi people and the world in general will be better off without Saddam Hussein in power -- and I'm DEFINITELY, 100% supportive of the honorable men and women in the armed services willing to sacrifice themselves for us and our ideals -- I have to agree with you on almost every point you make about this current situation. All in all, I feel we're damned if we do and damned if we don't; although I have put my money where your mouth is -- I've donated my pittance to Howard Dean for President, primarily for healthcare, and in spite of his NRA stand (regulate guns more at the state than the national level -- a more electable position), but also in support of all the efforts he made to help prevent the war...

As for the "justifications"...it is ludicrous when our oil barons, and their apologists, claim that we're securing the oil fields simply for the good of the Iraqi people -- sure, they may get the profits from sales (MAY); but the massive contracts for development and distribution will go to big Bush contributors (As I understand it, most of the diplomatic wrangling behind the scenes amongst the Russians, French, British, and Americans had more to do with who got the oil development contracts after the war than anything concerning peace and freedom...and all that "tommyrot").

The Weapons of Mass Destruction have yet to make an appearance (Thank God), if indeed they do exist; but that, according to most analysts, would be consistent with Hussein's wish to maintain his claim of innocence on that point within the international community (Even France has said it would back the war if Iraq were to use WMD). As long as there is apparently much resistance amongst Iraqis, arguably shoring up Hussein's claim to legitimacy, then politically, strategically he'd best keep any WMD off the table. Then again, the weapons may in fact be long gone, many already dismantled by the past inspections and the remainder perhaps degraded into unusable form. However, there should have been records of their destruction -- particularly in a totalitarian state -- which Hussein should have produced, which he had every motivation to produce. I think there is a good chance that WMD are still present in Iraq -- none of us really knows one way or the other -- however, as long as there were inspectors in country, the weapons could have eventually been found and Hussein dared not use them. However, he could have supplied them to terrorists, although why would he have done so, particularly at the risk of being found out?

According to most accounts, Hussein has sponsored some terrorists; although the supposed connection with Al Qaeda (other than perhaps a lone individual or two receiving medical aid etc. somewhere within Iraq) is dubious to say the least. Bin Laden's a religious zealot who's always been at odds with Hussein, a worldly megalomaniac devoted only to himself -- then again, in the Middle East, the enemy of my enemy may well be my friend...at least for the battle at hand. I thought that terrorists would have used Iraqi-provided WMD in the Middle East, Europe, or the U.S. by now; although any such attacks on our civilians would probably be better timed after massive casualties of Iraqi civilians, as shown on TV -- wait till the battle in the streets of Baghdad, if it should come to that (If the Republican Guard collapses too quickly on the outskirts, the whole house of cards may fall).

And as for the lack of rebellion amongst the Iraqi civilians, that is indeed the wildcard. Are they simply being intimidated by Saddam's goons? Are they being patriotic vs. foreign invaders? Are they more intimidated by the devil they know or the one they don't? Are they fighting for or against someone or something? What do they really think (as if it weren't bigotry or stupidity to think that all Iraqis think the same)? That's the nightmarish thing about dealing with a totalitarian society -- reality takes a back seat to perception (Is Hussein alive? With all the video tapes he's made, does it really matter??). The Bush Administration's woeful record of telling lies and half-truths (on a variety of vital interests) and disregarding international treaties and sensibilities doesn't provide our positions the clarity or credibility they require.

I go back to what I wrote to that Democratic newsletter...An unprovoked war on Iraq (or huge tax cuts primarily for the rich) would not have been an issue if Al Gore had become President, even considering the aftermath of 9/11. But that's perhaps the biggest advantage of capturing the Presidency: Being able to set the national agenda.

And as long as pugnacious Geo. Dubya's President, I see no end to the warfare. Kim Jung Il is no fool: He sees what Bush does to the leaders of the "Axis of Evil", and he's not going to just sit back and wait for our missiles to start cruising in. These are exceedingly dangerous times.

Did I mention how proud I was of both of you?

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