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Monday, May 2, 2016

Boldly Going Nowhere

Thursday, March 11, 2004

Iraq -- one year later

One year has now passed since the U.S.A. made an incursion into Iraq as part of its war against terrorism. Whether it had much effect on acts of terror directed toward us is highly debatable. There were other reasons for our invasion as well, including a search for weapons of mass destruction suspected of being hidden from UN inspectors, the stabilization of the Middle East (primarily assisting Israel) and securing vast oil reserves.

Many Americans, particularly in this election year, question our motives, mainly because we haven't found any weapons of mass destruction. Plus we're now stuck in Iraq, spending tons of money and suffering casualties, trying to bring democracy to an arcane culture where religious clerics control the masses and women are treated like chattel. To critics of the war effort, it seems like a steep price to pay for dubious results.

However, more than 1.3 million people have been reported missing in Iraq. As of last week, the U.S. military has discovered 270 mass graves filled with civilians who had been tortured and executed. This makes the search for weapons of mass destruction almost irrelevant. Saddam Hussein and his band of murderous thugs were weapons of mass destruction disguised as human beings. They exterminated over a million people simply because they were considered to be a threat to a tyrannical regime.

Another argument against our incursion into Iraq is that they weren't a direct, imminent threat to the United States. Germany, a democracy ruled by an elected official named Hitler, wasn't a direct, imminent threat to the United States prior to our involvement in World War II either.

Hitler and his mob of evil cronies invaded their neighboring countries and had been systematically exterminating their perceived internal enemies (non-Aryans of imperfection such as Jews and Gypsies). Saddam Hussein and his mob of evil cronies had also invaded their neighbors (Kuwait, Iran) and had been systematically exterminating their perceived enemies (Kurds, Shiites and political dissidents). Whether a direct, imminent threat or not, such evil must be stopped.

Unfortunately, in becoming the world's self-appointed police force the U.S.A. has put itself in an unfavorable diplomatic position. Many countries resent us for our unilateral actions. Even though we tried to get U.N. approval for intervening in Iraq, there was plenty of opposition. But in our country, where the ghost of John Wayne demands retribution, we don't let little things like U.N. approval get in our way.

The other problem with intervening in the structure of another country is where to draw the line. North Korea, Cuba, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Iran, China, Burma and several countries in Africa are controlled by repressive regimes. The Palestinian situation is a colossal quagmire. Many eastern European countries are in dire need of restructuring. Haiti is a mess.

Do we have the right to police the world? Where do we start? Where do we stop? We still have troops in Germany and Japan from World War II, and Korea from the Korean War.

The lack of a coherent exit strategy is costly and undiplomatic. To the rest of the world, it has the appearance of the beginning of a one-world government headed by a military industrial complex called the United States of America.

People who strive to control others seek political power. When they gain power, they suppress their subjects and enrich themselves. It's always been this way and will probably always be this way.

Speaking of controlling rulers, Congress recently passed the Domestic Security Enhancement Act, in the guise of combating terror, giving the federal government more power to monitor its subjects and incarcerate them without specific cause or legal representation. Protecting freedom by eliminating freedom is a lot like protecting people from automobile accidents by eliminating automobiles.

Benjamin Franklin once said, "They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve neither liberty nor security." When we forsake our freedom in our hysteria to combat terror, the terrorists succeed in defeating us. In the land of the free and the home of the brave, this is unacceptable.