The Spitfire's Grill
Regular Rants from a Pragmatic Liberal
Saturday, May 28, 2005
 
Topic of the Day: Iraq
Today's Topic of the Day just kind of came to me.

IRAQ
How the War should have been sold

This is probably my first Iraq Topic of the Day. I thought that if you wanted to hear something about Iraq you could go to Daily Kos, Eschaton, MyDD, or any conservative blog like Powerline and Hugh Hewitt. The other reason is that, in my heart, I am for this war. I believe in freedom and I believe that oppressed people around the world should look up to the United States as a liberator. Having said that, I am ashamed of this war. I am ashamed of the way it was sold, I'm ashamed of the way it was planned. I am ashamed of all the money we waste. I am ashamed of all the things that we have done in the name of "freedom". It's like we took the concept of freedom that Jefferson, Madison, and Washington envisioned and flushed it down the toilet, making sure it had some fecal company on its way down. So before I get some kind of East-Asia blogging withdrawal (so, I'm serious), I'd like to talk about how the Iraq war should have been sold. I'm convinced that we could have built up one hell of a coalition. A Coalition of the Courageous, not merely the "Willing".

I'll try to use pre-Iraq war knowledge of the Administration (ie, what they knew) to justify this war. And since Europeans think that Bush can't count higher than the number of fingers he has on one hand, we'll call it the...

FIVE CASES AGAINST SADDAM

1. Terrorism
While we don't know for sure what Saddam's links with bin Laden, we do know he has sponsored terrorism both against his own people as well as abroad. Given the impact that 9/11 had on the United States and the few resources with which bin Laden used to implement such a disastrous strike, if a nation like Iraq with the finances that Saddam possesses ever decides to sponsor a terrorist strike on the United States or Europe, the disaster could be two-hundred times larger. We're not sure if Iraq possesses and weapons of mass destruction, but Saddam has in the past shown a willingness to both harbor and use WMDs on Israel and his own people. If he ever decides to sponsor terrorism, this could lead to disaster.

2. Security
The Middle East is a powderkeg, a region that could break into war at any moment. The Middle East is a national security concern of many countries far, far away from its deserts and violence. Iraq sits smack in the middle of the Middle East, with dangerous places like Syria, Lebanon, and Palestine/Israel to its west and Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan to its east. Over a number of years, a stable Iraq could bring a significant stabalizing force to the region. Arabs and Muslims looking for a safe nation could move there, and the threat of losing the best and brightest businessmen, students, and scientists to Iraq would force the other nations to either change or become insignificant.

3. Economy
When I say we should invade Iraq because of economic reasons, I don't mean we should invade for the stock market. Any single nation who has the ability to cause our economy to collapse is a national security issue. Iraq has this ability. While we do not need Iraq's oil, as we obtain most of our Middle Eastern oil from Saudi Arabia, Iraq could easily sent the entire world's oil supply into jeopardy. He has proven that he thinks little of destroying other nation's oil fields. But more importantly, with nations like China and India growing drastically, it is clear that in a few years the world's oil demand will be significantly greater than it is today. Furthermore, if he were to completely cut off the oil coming out of his country, it would drastically increase the demand worldwide for oil from other countries. If he were to time this correctly, it could send many nations into recession.

4. Example
In these modern times there are still far too many dictators around the world. In a time where we can go on the Internet and find out about any political or economic system we wish, some people do not have the right to even decide how their country should be run. We are in a War on Terror, and the first step to removing the Terror is to remove the sources of terror. Brutal dictators who are willing to sacrifice their own people to stay in power are significant sources of terror around the world. Democracies rarely go to war with each other, so ending dictatorships would do much to bring peace and stability to the world. Saddam should be the first among that group to go.

5. Freedom
Possibly the most important reason to go to war is that there are 25 million people that Saddam seems to kill at whim. These people have been victims of their own leader's weapons of mass destruction. They cry out for peace, they cry out for a savior. The sanctions currently on Iraq do much to hurt Saddam's ability to build weapons of mass destruction, but it comes at the cost of Iraq's own people. The only solution that will allow Iraqi citizens to be free is to move into Iraq and remove Saddam from power permanently.

HOW MY CASE WAS DIFFERENT
1. Terrorism - I didn't lie about WMDs, I didn't frame the issue around "mushroom clouds", I just straight up leveled that relatively few resources were used to commit the 9/11 attacks and that Saddam has hundreds of times the financial and technological resources that bin Laden possesses. I didn't try to link Al Qaeda and Saddam, I didn't need to. No American liked Saddam, and every American thinks that he's dangerous.
2. Security - The main focus is that there won't need to be wars with Iran and Syria as well, that a free Iraq could very well easily bring peace, assuming we did it correctly.
3. Economy - the economic argument probably wouldn't come into play until around 2010 or so, and we could possibly hope Saddam was out of power, but without the war I don't think he would have been (considering those recent underwear pics, he looks in relatively good shape for 68 (Castro is 78)). But the key is to opening establish that our economy, the world economy as well, is a national security issue. Instead of evading the whole "blood for oil" line of argumentation, it gets out the message that we take our economy seriously and we aren't afraid to defend it. This argument sounded a lot better when I thought it up, which likely means Rove could do a persuasive job.
4. Exampe - no one likes dictators (except, perhaps, the CIA...)
5. Freedom - this should have been in there from the get-go. Now it seems more like an afterthought.

If this war had been sold correctly, the "Coalition of the Willing" could have rightfully had the name "Coalition of the Courageous". It could have been large enough to bring real security to Iraq. It could have been large enough to prevent the quagmire that we've found ourselves in now.


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