Could be wrong, but doubt it
While driving back from Denver on Monday I tuned into a liberal talk show on KNCR 1150 AM. The host of the show, Enid Goldstein, challenged callers to refute her argument that President Bush lied to get us into an unnecessary war with Iraq.
Being a foreign policy conservative, I could not allow liberal palaver to go uncontested. I called the station and found myself on the air almost immediately. Talk show hosts always have the upper hand in debates because their euphonic broadcasting voices are simply more pleasing to the listener.
However, Ms. Goldstein graciously allowed a semblance of a level playing field by permitting me to articulate my opinions – kudos to Enid.
My counter point to Ms. Goldstein was predicated on the following: The causes of terrorism are myriad yet as old as history itself, i.e. the proverbial haves versus the have-nots.
The Arab/Muslim world has allowed itself to stagnate and decline while the rest of civilization moves toward globalization at lightning speed. Muslim clerics are too engrossed in their fight for power and secular Muslim leaders too entrenched in their oil money to ever pull themselves out of the pit they’ve been digging for their citizens since they discovered “oil wealth.”
The result is a region of exploding population with few jobs, little education, less opportunity and no hope. Mixing these conditions with religious fanaticism has become a petrie dish for culturing terrorists. And as long as these conditions exist, America will be at risk.
Without intercession from the outside, the Arab world will never be brought into the 21st century and provide for its citizens. Since we are the prime targets of terrorist rage, the task has fallen to us.
President Bush placed the “American “queen’ in the center of the Arab/Muslim chessboard.” We could have attacked Iran, Syria, Egypt or Saudi Arabia because each of those countries directly and indirectly supports terrorism.
But some of those countries are “allies,” and 17 violated U.N. resolutions made Iraq the logical choice.
This is a matter of national security. Lest we forget, on 9/11 an amorphous group of fanatics from the region declared war on us. And while freeing people from totalitarian rule in Iraq is a noble cause, it’s really a by-product of self-defense. It’s also good press to the world and the American public.
Last October every intelligence agency in the world agreed that Saddam had WMDs and the debate in the U.N. was not if we should take action, but when. When the president asked for war powers authority, the Congress – including Hillary Clinton, Joe Lieberman, John Kerry and Joe Biden – all voted YES to give him that authority. Obviously they cast their votes based upon the information available.
Giving the president the authority to go to war was the correct thing to do for our national security. And this was four months prior to the State of the Union address and its reference to uranium from Africa.
We will never know specifically what the CIA told George Bush. But even if George Tenet told the president that he doubted the accuracy of British intelligence, the president qualified his statement by openly admitting that this was “according to British intelligence.”
There was absolutely no reason for the president to lie about uranium. He already had the votes to go to war. If Congress hadn’t already endorsed the war, I could understand the liberal position, but that wasn’t the case.
In addition, some on the left have forgotten that the president spoke to chemical and biological weapons and the reconstitution of a nuclear program. There is a difference between weapons and a program. Not only that, but reconstituting a program is not the same as saying Saddam had nukes.
The president attempted to build support for his position just as all politicians do; and in light of the pre-war preponderance of evidence, the president’s reasoning was sound.
Regarding the “quagmire” in Iraq, I would ask anyone who has ever studied history or served in combat, how many wars or how many battles have gone exactly as planned? The answer is none. With that said, it’s a reasonable proposition that the Republican Guard melted away during the war as part of a pre-arranged strategic plan to conduct a guerrilla war and we are witnessing its opening stages.
If that is the case, one possible strategy might be to allow Iraq to partition itself into a more historic and natural state, i.e. Shiites in the south, Kurds in the north and a Sunni center. Remember, the secret British and French, Sykes-Picot Accord of 1916 artificially created the Iraq the world knows today, which is a primary reason the country has been in upheaval for almost a hundred years.
If partitioning becomes a reality it will be interesting because the Sunni center, of which Saddam was a part, is the only region of the country without oil. I’m sure the Shiites and Kurds would love to isolate their Sunni oppressors in a region without oil, but that’s a different commentary.
As for the U.N.’s role, it has 198 agendas. Its only consensus is to keep the U.S. from expanding its power. If I were the Russian or French president, I wouldn’t want the U.S gaining more power either. But that doesn’t mean that they’re correct in their strategies toward terrorism.
Ours is not a culture of territorial aggrandizement. Americans would never stand for it. Ours is culture of business, and terrorism is bad for business. In addition to protecting our citizens, the president also has the responsibility to remove any obstacles that keep America and Americans from prospering.
Perhaps next week I can write about something less controversial, like same-sex marriages.
Butch Mazzuca of Singletree writes a weekly column for the Daily. He can be reached at email@example.com