Thoughts from the closing days of Gulf War II
- This will probably be my last Poliblog post. I actually did not intend to post any more here (as I phased out my political writing to OK-IMC but due to reader comments, I felt like I needed to make a final statement of sorts on the war so my silence would not be misconstrued.
I have held off on posting these thoughts for the last week because I have been pretty swamped time-wise, but also because frankly I wanted to give the thoughts some time to simmer.
My perspective on war is different from many out there, because I am absolutely opposed to war for religious/moral reasons. (I derive these beliefs from both the teachings of Jesus and my own conscience and heart.) Therefore, pragmatic arguments either for or against war, while instructive are not probative to me. At best, I believe a war might be the lesser of two evils… but it is still evil and is never a good thing.
However, accepting the fact that most of my readers will approach this war (either pro or con) from a pragmatic basis, let me move to that kind of analysis…
I’ll begin with the positives. Compared to Gulf War I (hereafter abbreviated “GWI”), this war has been conducted in a far more humane fashion than the previous war. While there is no such thing as a “humane war,” it does appear (as far as we can tell so far) that civilian casualities are much lower than the previous war (current numbers are around 1,800 civilian dead in GWII compared to about 30,000 in GWI) and that the allies have done a much better job of avoiding civilian targets. There were also lower numbers of Allied military casualties than one might have expected in a war of “regime change” (but no estimates yet of Iraqi military personnell casulalties).
However, even at reduced numbers, the casualty counts are still appalling. To know that at least 1,800 innocent civilians were killed (and probably 5-10 times that many maimed and otherwise injured) is a fearful thing. These people didn’t ask for this, they didn’t deserve it, yet they have and will suffer none the less. This coupled, with our own Allied troops who were killed, captured or injured, says that this war was costly beyond what we can comprehend.
If this war has cost us so much, we need to ask what was it for?
This is where it gets difficult. Wars are always justified in lots of ways but often those justifications don’t meet with the reality of the real reason behind the war.
What did we fight for?
The Bush Administration says it was to liberate Iraq, and prevent Saddam from supporting terrorism or using WMD’s.
Others say it is about oil.
I think neither viewpoint is the whole truth.
If this war is about liberation, then why are we following a different policy than we did in Afghanistan. We did NOT liberate Afghanistan. Things might be less oppressive in the major cities, but in most rural areas things are as bad or worse than they were before the war there. As far as the needed aid, Bush’s proposed budget dedicated. . . ZERO DOLLARS to Afghan relief. If there is that little commitment to nation building in Afghanistan, then why would that be a priority in Iraq? I frankly do not believe the US intends to plant democracy in Iraq, but would settle for a more friendly dictatorial regime. (I hope and pray though that the people of Iraq themselves will stand up for their own rights and demand a government that is OF, BY, and FOR their people.)
As to the question of state-sponsored terrorism and WMD’s, these claims by Bush have NOT been proven. No serious connection has been made between Iraq and Bin Laden, and thus far the allies have not found any WMD’s in Iraq. Maybe we’ll still find it, but maybe not. Unless the US has really horrible intelligence, I can’t believe that this is the reason for this war. It certainly appears that this is just an excuse and not the real reason.
Next, let’s examine oil. Oil is certainly part of that but is not the whole picture. There are too many other sources of cheap oil besides Iraq. Certainly the US and others want Iraq’s oil but I don’t think that is not the only reason this war took place. (it would have been much easier to invade Venezuela than Iraq, if oil was the sole reason for this war)
What does that leave us with . . .
It remains to be seen if the Bush Administration is committed to a a policy of global corporate imperialism, but it sure looks like Iraq might be the first stepping stone in this quest. Now with the threats towards Syria being broadcast, one can’t help but wonder.
I hope I am wrong about this because I don’t think imperialism was worth the lives of the Americans who died in this war, and it wasn’t worth the lives of the Iraqi people.
The founding fathers did not intend to create an empire. It’s high time that our current leaders realize that the dream of those great men of old will perish if America pursues the course of global domination.