March 18, 2003
Off to war
Well, Dubya's about to get his wish. The prospect leaves me depressed, worried, and angry. I do not believe this invasion will make us safer - quite the contrary. I do not believe that Saddam was an imminent, uncontainable threat. I do not believe this course of action is anywhere close to the best utilization of our increasingly scarce resources. I do believe that the damage President Bush has done to world relations will haunt us for years.
A number of antiwar types have said that once invasion is inevitable, those of us who oppose it need to start talking about what comes next. Now that not attacking Iraq is sadly no longer a realistic hope, we need to focus on making sure that the aftermath is properly handled. Truth be told, all I can really think about right now is working to unelect Bush in 2004. I'm having a hard time getting past my emotions on this.
If you haven't already, I'll echo Josh Marshall and recommend that you read these two articles about how Bush failed where Clinton and Bush Sr succeeded in coalition-building, and why the world has reacted the way it has to America's drive for war. In case you're wondering why getting rid of Bush is so high on my mind. Lastly, don't overlook this article, via TAPPED, which looks at the likely numbers needed to keep the peace when the invasion is over.
If you favored this invasion, all I can say is I hope to hell you turn out to be right. I wish I had your faith.
Posted by Charles Kuffner on March 18, 2003 to Around the world
As I put it in a letter I wrote this morning, I would be terrifically pleased if all my misgivings were wrong (war is fast, the Iraqis welcome us with open arms, the US actually sticks it out and rebuilds the country properly), and if that happens, I'll eat my crow with a nice hollandaise sauce.
Incidentally, did you catch the Today show this a.m.? I didn't, but Bruce did, and apparently they were cutting from Bush's speech to images of Saddam and of September 11.
I believe this sort of thing is generally known as "propaganda." Bruce has written a deeply scathing letter to the Today show's producers.
Nope, I didn't see it, but I'll say this: The Iraq/911 propaganda has been a smashing success.
Last, but not least are those among us who have no problem supporting regime change, aren't averse to backing up that promise with force, yet are still befuddled at how poorly this has been carried out thus far. Will it matter in the end? I don't pretend to know, but my hunch says once we bomb the holy hell out of Baghdad, it won't be as big a concern to many others.
Yet it's for similar reasons that crank up the intensity to unseat Bush-43. Granted, my own predilictions lead me to a candidate who is equally supportive of invasion (Joe), but I've got a little more faith in his trust in alliances than this administrations.
What it all boils down to, IMO, is if we feel that having alliances makes us stronger or ties our hands. On that front, we'll have to see if that actually pans out as an issue over the next year.
Greg -- the ad-hoc alliance offering support to U.S. action in Iraq is one of the largest assembled in recent times (contrast with, say, American action in Vietnam). So I guess my question for you is, aren't you really expressing a preference for one alliance in particular -- the UN -- as opposed to "alliances" broadly construed? Or are you expressing a preference for longstanding permanent alliances as opposed to ad-hoc alliances?
Few people object to alliance politics, broadly construed, but the devil is, of course, in the details. And some of those details are whether a collective security organization such as the UN can be an effective agent against terrorism and state sponsors of terror, and whether a political alliance consonant with the geopolitical theories of MacKinder and Spykman and constructed largely for the purpose of preventing Soviet hegemony over the Eurasian landmass (NATO) can be reconfigured as an effective agent against terrorism and state sponsors of terror. And if the answer to either or both is no, then what? Ad hoc alliances? New kinds of permanent alliances? What?
These are the problems of international politics that we inevitably will have to work out over the coming years, as we truly begin to see the effects of the end of the Cold War order. I don't see ANY political candidate who can claim to have comprehensive answers on this front, nor would I necessarily expect that. We're really at the beginning of the conversation.
Yes, now we know that it was Saddam at the controls of at least TWO of the airplanes--one in NYC and one in PA. Bill Clinton was at the controls of the other two. Oh, and while we're all thinking about how fine the world will be without Saddam but with his cronies still in charge, let's not forget Kim Jong-Il and the major-league hissy fit Shrubya pitched at the mention of that name.