Entry # 104: January 29th - It's the Domination, Stupid
It's amazing how quickly international relations between America and European states have deteriorated during the recent weeks and months. Why do they not agree with American demands and positions? Don't they like America? Why does the Rumsfeldian "old Europe", consisting of France and Germany, trouble America with petty demands that would only lead to obstructing an already very costly military buildup in the Persian Gulf region? Haven't they understood that America is determined to battle the fiend Saddam Hussein no matter what they say, no matter what the cost for the civilian population would be? That they need to create "shock and awe" in order to make every present or future evildoer think twice before doing whatever they are not supposed to be doing? That Saddam may, at some point, possibly even when he was a key US ally, even have had contact with another past US ally, Usama Bin Laden or other terrorists; doesn't that show that he's evil? He even had weapons of mass destruction, provided to him by the US and Europe, and he did use them against his own population, at a time where he was still our ally. He could even mobilize criticism against continuing Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory and destruction of Palestinian lives. Also, he is a ruthless anti-democratic dictator, like the US-sponsored regimes in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere. Would you want such a man to keep control of a country like Iraq?
Of course nobody, apart from Saddam, wants him there. Not even the "Arab world". The point is, however, what is there to be done? He may or may not be dangerous, heck, now that he's been so demonized by the West, he may even have a grudge against the West, big surprise. He's a danger to "his" people, but so is Robert Mugabe, so is Kim Yong-Il, so is Putin (unless you don't consider the Chechen population his people), so are countless little dictators in the former Soviet Union and in Africa and Asia, and don't forget Cuba and Viet Nam. So now, do we intervene everywhere? Do we intervene when it's not some new-found friend and ally, whom we choose not to bother about human rights violations, like Russia and China, or someone actually possessing nuclear weapons, like North Korea? Why Iraq? War on terrorism? Come on. That wasn't even true for Afghanistan, that was a clean-up operation to remove the Taliban, rightly guessed yet another former ally of ours gone bad. If you wanted to attack regimes sponsoring Al-Qaida, start with Saudi Arabia. No, don't, please. Just rhetorically. Or probably, look for the two key conflicts arousing negative feelings against the West within the Arab world, Palestinian occupation and the Western-sponsored decadent dictatorships like Saudi Arabia.
The West should actually be doing what they are preaching. Compassion, freedom, democracy, justice for all; have all of those become empty terms? How do you promote democracy and freedom? By fostering thug regimes? By killing starving people? By supporting apartheid? By turning your eyes away from the bad deeds of your allies, and focusing on those you define as evil?
If the result of a war against Iraq would be the creation of a free, democratic, strong and prospering Iraq, bring it on. But war means killing people, not "just" the "guilty" ones, but also innocent civilians, not only through military action, but also through the destruction of food and water infrastructure. Is the removal of a dictator worth the deaths of hundreds and thousands of innocents? Can we actually be that cynical? Well, actually, we are, and we always have been, but at some point we ought to stop.
The "others" don't hate our ideals of democracy, freedom and justice. They hate a cynical power play politics which, in effect, sees them dominated by a global empire at whose center are the United States and Europe. It's not "us" they criticize, it's our domination. Yet another war against Iraq would only prove they're right not to trust us.
What's the proof against Iraq up until now? It's miniscule. He may have something. So then, continue inspections, and in turn, lift sanctions, let the country and its civil society rebuild itself, help them, don't give them yet another reason to hate us. Same with Cuba, by the way. There's no other option. Very probably, in the course of a war, we will end up with hundreds of dead soldiers and billions of dollars wasted, they will end up with thousands of dead civilians and soldiers, probably an escaped Saddam hiding somewhere safe, and a distroyed infrastructure, and thousands of new resons to hate us. Is that worth it? Is that what civilization is about? Is it really just domination, no matter at what cost, physically and ethically? Haven't we learned anything?
January 29th, 2003