To begin with, let’s all agree that Saddam Hussein is a bad, bad man.
Now, let’s all agree that he needs to be taken out, and I don’t mean for dinner and a movie.
Oh, did I lose a few of you?
Is it possible some of you do not agree with taking down a tyrant that rapes, murders and starves his own people while living in over a dozen palaces and thumbing his nose at the free world because he claims ownership over 10 percent of the planet’s known oil reserves and uses it as a weapon?
Okey dokey. To each their own, I suppose, although some might question your patriotism.
I happen to believe the good people of Iraq will be much better off with Saddam either in a pine box or a chaise lounge on the French Riviera, allowing the Middle East as a region to at least have a fighting chance to begin reaching for some degree of normalcy.
This is certainly no guarantee whatsoever of peace, but changing regimes in Iraq is a step forward as opposed to the lateral or backward motions proposed by those manly men who invented quiche.
In 1991, Saddam signed a binding agreement of surrender as a precondition to the cessation of Gulf War hostilities. The subsequent violation of that agreement is, in effect, grounds to resume the military campaign against Iraq without resolutions or permissions of any sort.
However, there are three organizations with roles to play at the moment – NATO, the EU, and the U.N. Security Council (UNSC).
The only membership Iraq has is with the United Nations, along with various and sundry Islamic terrorists organizations, of course. (It should be noted that this bastion of united common sense – the United Nations – has recently chosen Iraq to become the chair of the U.N. Commission on Disarmament, of all things, and also recently elected Libya to chair the U.N. Commission on Human Rights, neither being an April Fool’s joke.)
France, Germany, Spain and the UK are members of all three, with the United States being the only member of both the UNSC and NATO and not a member of the EU.
It is by no accident that the United States is in this unique position. We put ourselves there by choice, the option solely ours during a 20th century spent defending allies and American interests while promoting democracy and freedom worldwide – a.k.a., the ultimate in foreign aid.
This group has 29 nations in all, and if we apply current population figures, 88 percent are in favor of using force against Iraq to topple the Hussein regime (this of course proves the hypocrisy of twisting numbers to paint whatever picture one wishes to view).
The United States having to receive permission from anyone in Europe to topple Saddam is like Ryan having to ask Charlie where to go for the honeymoon.
Speaking of foreign aid, I was confronted over the weekend at a local bar by some nut who thinks that I personally have a level of control over how the U.S. government supplies such. He/she/it was holding a newspaper in my face and pointing out “facts.”
In 1970, the United Nations adopted an international target for official aid, recommending that donor countries give 0.7 percent of their national income in foreign assistance. This is the equivalent of the diamond industry “recommending” a “two-month salary guideline” when purchasing a rock that in actuality is no more rare than a Frenchman with arrogance.
Anyway, three Scandinavian countries currently meet that target: Denmark, Sweden and Norway. I have no idea what’s wrong with the Finnish.
Supposedly, this makes Americans feel guilty that these countries give up to 10 times as much foreign aid, as a proportion of their economy, as America does. But what some folks fail to realize is that in addition to having the highest tax rates in the free world (anywhere from 50-60 percent of each paycheck goes straight to Mr. Government), none of them spend more than a few bucks annually on national defense.
Why, you ask?
Because we, the United States of America, essentially provide it to each of them free of charge.
In fact, the United States spends more in absolute aid than any other country on the planet – almost $10 billion in 2001 – with $11 billion being earmarked for 2003. (Top recipient: Russia.) In addition, the United States currently has a military presence in 140 countries, costing and therefore spending over $50 billion in those same countries each year.
If that ain’t aid, I don’t know what is.
Those of you preaching the gospel according to Chirac (foreign aid top recipient: French Polynesia) should understand that this is a man who worked as a forklift operator for Budweiser in St. Louis and as a soda jerk/dish washer at a Howard Johnson’s. He brags of hitchhiking across the United States and working as a journalist for the New Orleans Times-Picayune while falling in love with American junk food. Since beginning his unspectacular reign as president of France, he has fought off numerous accusations of misuse of funds claiming “presidential immunity” and numerous Clintonesque affairs with beret-wearing Frenchies.
His agenda is as representative of Europe as Cacioppo is of the Eagle County teachers union.
Disagreeing with your government is one thing. Siding with another is a completely separate issue altogether.
Richard Carnes of Edwards writes a weekly column for the Daily. He can be reached at email@example.com
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