April 10, 2003
Reaping The Whirlwind
Smarty-pants conservatives have totally missed the point of those who, like me, continue to oppose the war in Iraq, despite it's apparent successes. Sure, the Iraqis deserve to be free, just like the Saudis, the Kuwaitis, the Chinese, the Palestinians, and every other group of people living under totalitarian conditions. Sure, the Baath Party should be bereft of WMDs, just like the North Koreans. But to choose to achieve both of those aims, without the support of the international community, removes the umbrella of international law and reintroduces social Darwinism on geopolitical levels, where might makes right. If you assume you're the mightiest, it's all gouda. But, for the countries who's very existence depends on the threat of global reprisals, like Taiwan, or South Korea, or Pakistan, or any number of African states, President Bush's actions have signalled to their potential oppressors that it's OK to do what they want as long as they don't get in the big American dog's way. He's effectively rolled international diplomacy back one to two hundred years, to the ages of, depending on your favorite metaphor, Kaiser Wilhelm or Napoleon, where entire nations just took what they wanted without any framework to deter them from agression as a legitimate means of conflict resolution. And, unlike the days of 1800's warfare, the technology has advanced to the point where it's no longer necessary for each of our guys to individually stab or shoot each of their guys to have war. Mass murder is now an industrialized process, capable of generating corpses with an efficiency that would make Henry Ford proud and shamed in one single posthumus breath. If they were truly interested in preventing the distribution of WMDs to terrorists, there were proposals on the table at the UN that could have backed measured inspections over time with military force. But the White House never wanted just disarmament, so of course they hampered more effective efforts at every turn, while declaring Iraq an imminent threat to America with 10 year old evidence that predates the work of previous UN inspectors. And, since liberating the Iraqi people also seems to be just a secondary justification to support the predetermined goal of open warfare, I'm left wondering what was the point of dragging humanity back into this retro-fitted, definitively more dangerous world.
But, according to this article from the Washington Monthly, apparently I've missed the point as well. The more dangerous world was not the means, but the end itself.
Don't fall asleep just because the Marines are chilling in Bagdad. Those boys aren't coming home for a long time if this article is right.
"No, I'm not a dictator. HE'S a dictator!!!"
This is beautiful.
In the ultimate, geopolitical example of the pot calling the kettle black, the Chinese government has issued a report rating the human rights record of the United States. Needless to say, it's a litany of every societal ill in this country, from overcrowded prisons to the preponderance of sexual assault to the proliferation of gun violence.
I love how George W. Bush has managed to bring out the "inner cowboy" in all the rest of the world's heads of state. The new Chinese president, Hu Jintao, might actually start thinking he's running a superpower.