We have a choice
Accord-ing to their logic, America brought about the defeat of the former Soviet Union without bombing Moscow or Minsk, so why target Baghdad? They believe that we’ve contained Saddam since the end of the Gulf War even if he has played his weapons shell game. Besides, he isn’t a direct threat to the United States so why do we need to go to war?
They posit three primary arguments: 1) Don’t trade lives for oil. 2) We’ll have to keep troops in the region for 50 years to keep the peace. 3) The ever popular, save the children message. However, these arguments are specious.
The United States cannot allow the specter of nuclear weapons in the hands of a madman who is an immediate threat to the first, second and third largest oil reserves in the world. The U.S. and the western world run on oil, and even if we began taking Mopeds to work and turning our thermostats down today, it would be 20 years before we could even think about being energy independent. It should be obvious that it won’t be that long before Saddam has nukes, which in effect makes the oil argument a moot point.
We have positioned troops around the world since the turn of the last century because the price of freedom does not come cheaply. If the Middle East is ever going to experience peace, freedom and prosperity, it will require an American presence in the region to maintain stability.
When I read placards on TV that read “Save the Children,” it makes me wonder, Who is the intended audience? It seems to me that these should be directed at terror organizations and dictators like Saddam instead of everyday Americans.
Iraq is the linchpin in the War on Terror. Remove Saddam and you begin to stabilize the region. If Saddam is eliminated, Israel’s security is increased ten-fold, the largest and second largest oil reserves on earth are freed from his threat, and we remove the assistance he continually gives to Al-Gama’a al Islamiyya, Al-Jihad, Al Qaeda, The Salafi, Hamas, Harakat ul-Mujahidin, Hezbollah, Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, Mujahedin-e Kalaq, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and many others.
Containment worked to defeat the Soviet Union’s brand of communism, but containment is the wrong weapon for the war of fighting international terrorism. Fighting terrorism is completely unlike fighting communism.
From Lenin to Brezhnev, the Soviet Union’s leaders held to the belief that their system was superior to ours. It wasn’t until Mikhail Gorbachev became general secretary that Soviet leadership realized the folly of their system and began to implement change, albeit too late.
Communism is an evil ideology replete with brutality, barbarism and complete disregard for the human spirit. However, the difference between the Soviets and those radicals who flew 757s into the Twin Towers is that even the communists built schools, educated women, created infrastructures and made attempts, as misguided as they were, to provide for their people. The Soviets didn’t launch their missiles because they, too, had something to lose.
Unlike communism, the tenets of terror organizations are the overthrow of sovereign states and the destruction of any religious or secular belief systems that differ from Islamic extremism. And their prime targets are the United States and Israel.
Nowhere do these terrorists call for creating jobs or educating women. They have no interest in building infrastructures to provide food, potable water, roads, hospitals, social agencies or proper sanitation for anyone. Their only goal is the destruction of prospering systems by means of mass murder, kidnapping, assassinations and suicide bombings.
Globalization is un-isolating the entire world, and the problems and issues facing us cannot be viewed in a vacuum. As long as the United States supports Israel and as long as the trends of globalization continue, we will remain targets.
I fear that too many Americans are beginning to forget that war was declared on 9/11/01, so perhaps we should be open to a differing perspective. Attacking Iraq is not beginning a new war. It’s the next logical strategic step in fighting the one that started 16 months ago.
We do have a choice, however. We can wait until another 9/11 occurs, which it assuredly will, or we as a nation can make a commitment to do what is necessary to rid the world of terrorism. That commitment could include watching thousands of troops returning home in body bags, an extended U.S. presence in the region, and billions in economic aid afterward.
There is great trepidation about fighting in Iraq because a conflict there may very well bring more attacks on the continental Unites States. But what choices do we have? These attacks are going to happen anyway. The president, his cabinet and congressional leaders from both sides of the aisle agree that we will be attacked again. This is the Fram oil filter scenario – we can pay the bill now or we can pay it later.
If we as a nation are not willing to make the commitment to win, then we should stay out of Iraq and take whatever comes our way – smallpox in our cities, attacks on our universities or sunken oil tankers that pollute the Great Lakes.
America no longer has the luxury of playing defense. If an invasion of Iraq becomes a reality, you can be assured that our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines will do their part. My hope is that John and Jane Q. Public will make the commitment to see this through as well. The war has begun. It’s our choice on how to prosecute it.
Butch Mazzuca of Singletree writes a weekly column for the Daily. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org