December 14, 2003
Butch Mazzuca is confused about the Iraq invasion, and in his latest column he makes one of the sources of his confusion clear.
He says (speaking of some Democrats): “They understand that only nondespotic governments can root out the fundamentalists .” Whether or not Biden, Gephardt, Lieberman or Mazzuca believe this, it is patently not true.
Hitler, Stalin and Saddam Hussein were all extremely competent at suppressing any religious movement, including religious fundamentalism, that might threaten people’s allegiance to their state ideology.
Saddam Hussein was certainly not aligned with Al-Qaida. George Bush, et al, persistently linked the two in order to justify an invasion that had virtually nothing to do with American security. And, as Mr. Mazzuca points out, a lot of Democrats went along with it.
The war in Iraq and the “war on terror” are not the same thing. The terror in Iraq was state terror directed against the Iraqi people, not the United States. And when it was convenient for us, we supported it. Remember the 1980s?
Mr. Mazzuca saying that Hillary Clinton’s comment in Afghanistan (“The outcome of this war is not assured”) was deplorable is puzzling. I personally prefer honesty in public officials. I remember how well all the lying and cheerleading served us in Vietnam. John F. Kennedy certainly should have said “the outcome of this war is not assured.”
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Finally, Mr. Mazzuca says that “Americans must realize that unless we win the war of ideas in the Middle East, we will see even deadlier attacks on our country and a real erosion of our civil liberties.”
I agree that it would be wonderful if all of the Middle Eastern countries, including our allies, moved toward democracy, and that the United States should try to encourage that.
But you don’t win a “war of ideas” by shooting people. You just make yourself look bad and anger the families of the people you shot, especially when said people were children or other non-combatants. Remember “winning their hearts and minds” in Vietnam? Yep. We sure did.
And as far as I can tell, it is the present administration that is choosing to erode our civil liberties instead of taking actual effective action, like beefing up security at chemical and nuclear plants and funding our local police and emergency services.
In fact, they have these big plans to snoop on all of us, and they haven’t even consolidated the various security and law enforcement agencies’ lists of suspected terrorists yet.
You can make a strong case that the United States did the Iraqis a favor by getting rid of Saddam Hussein. But you cannot make a case that Iraq was ever a threat to the United States.
You can even make a case that Hussein was suppressing the real threat to the United States, which was and is Islamic fundamentalists acting independently of any nation. Said fundamentalists have proliferated in Iraq since the invasion. If we did the Iraqis a favor, we did it at a cost to our own domestic security, not to mention the cost in American (and Iraqi) lives.
And after President Bush’s buddies get through “privatizing” Iraq’s public assets to American corporations, the Iraqis might not think we did them such a big favor, after all.
Mr. Mazzuca is making a valiant effort to make George Bush’s policies look worthy of support. Too bad it’s so difficult to write coherently in support of the utterly incoherent.
P.S. to Don Rogers: how easy to be glib about global warming! Maybe the United Nations mentioned the potential impact on ski areas in a desperate attempt to get ski-happy captains of industry, who seem to think that they have a dispensation to alter the global climate for personal fun and profit, to focus on the problem. Mitigating carbon dioxide emissions is a very feasible project and not necessarily economically detrimental.