Many people have made mention that the real threat is either Iran or North Korea (from here on out called the DPRK) since they do have nuclear weapons. After a bit of thinking, a couple beers, some web surfing and a few shots of Woodford Reserve I've come to the conclusion that anyone who believes this are a bunch of asshats. Not just asshats but the magic Kool-aid drinking asshats; the tin-foil hat wearing asshats; the...well, you get the idea, its a conspiracy theory. Just like "we could have caught Osama in the foothills of Tora Bora if Bush hadn't gone after the oil" kind of conspiracy theory. If this is your kind of thing, here's the site for you. All other please read on.
What alot of people tend to forget about the "axis-of-evil" was the assumption that all three had nuclear proliferation capabilities. Those that argue that Bush was proven wrong by the fact that no nuclear weapons were found in completed form Iraq miss many key points. The first and foremost being that everyone, including Kerry and Edwards, believed that Saddam had nuclear capability. Both of them signed a document and forwarded it to Bill Clinton (yes, Bill not George) that said Saddam had nuclear weapons and needed to be stopped. This is the same kind of proof that we have from Iran and DPRK today. Take a look at Iran; they say they don't have nuclear weapons or are trying to make them but no one believes them; sort of like how no one believed Saddam. DPRK on the other hand screams it from the highest monestary bell tower "Hey, look over here! We've hot nukes so give us what we want or we'll use them!" Maybe they do and maybethey're just trying to put a deal on the table for a bit of cash. The reality is that we do not really know if they have nuclear proliferation capabilities or not. The only way we can know for sure is to go in and find out for ourselves. This puts all three nations on the same playing field; they all have/had the potential.
Now lets look at what made Iraq the target country. I feel that the best way to explain this is to give a bit of a demographic of each country as well as pros and cons to invading each one. This, in my opinion, will allow you to think for yourself, or at least through my eyes.
DPRK has the biggest case of short man's syndrome in the world. They will stop at nothing to proliferate their position so they may have a better standing in their deals and treaties. They are, in fact, so bad about doing this that the first deal that was to be brokered during the Korean war caused it to be delayed because they offended the U.S. negotiators enough to have them walk out in the middle of negotiations. It's almost like Kabuki theater, with the exception that they are Korean and much worse actors. They have always tried to posture this way when they were going to ask for a big favor of aid and/or support.
If you've been watching the news, DPRK has agreed to continue peace talks in exchange for assurance that they would not be attacked and compensation for relinquishing their current nuclear ambitions. That sounds like they're just asking for a hand out to me. This is not a nation trying to kill us with bombs, they just want some payola. For those that haven't noticed, DPRK has always had a food shortage. I remember when I was stationed in Sout Korea reading about a new DPRK book explaining the best way to cook grass. They have nothing to eat up there. This is one of the few times where sanctions have actually worked.
♣ As a side note, the big boom everyone heard in North Korea a couple of weeks ago was more than likely their first nuclear test. This is just my theory so put whatever tin-foil hat on it you may want. I believe it scared the piss out of them. Until you actually blow one of these babies up you have no idea what they're all about. Sure, we've seen and heard all about them but I'm sure there's something overpowering about actually seeing something of that capacity. I think they're just trying to get rid of it now. They're scared straight.
Iran is a horse of a different color. They really hate us. They kicked us out once (remember Jimmy's 444 days of terror) and they believe they could do it again. Our ways are not welcome to these people at this time. The reason they are a forced religious state today is because we tried to westernize them too quickly. Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, a puppet placed as the Shah of Iran by the Soviet-British forces occupying Iran in 1953, without a vote was exiled by the followers of Ruhollah Khomeini. Ruhollah had become the Ayatollah in command of the new religious state of Iran in 1979. Let's just say the west leaves a sour taste in their mouths. We pushed them to hard and they reverted.
Since this uprising there have been a few new uprisings in Iran that have been taken on by the younger Iranians. One might say that this would be an opportunity to do what we did in Afganistan and help them along the way to a swift overthrow. I say that you didn't read the chapter before this one. The uprisings that occur in Iran want no dealings with the western world. We are not on good terms with them. One belief is that in time the younger generation will take over the Mullahs and all will be better in Iran. We don't need to attack Iran because the problem wil eventually sort itself out. It just takes time.
Saddam Hussein is one of the many dictators that rule parts of this world. He's good buddies with peopel like Fidel Castro. His hero is Stalin for crissakes. He idolizes a man who destroyed thousands upon thousands of his own people and ruled with an iron fist. There was evidence of his leadership ideology before we went into Iraq in forms greater than "just the Kurds". (It's as if "just the Kurds" are "just a small ethnic cleansing".) Only after we went in did we know how bad it really was. He was a really bad man. Just take a look at Qusay's torture room for athletes to see how bad they really were. Of course, we didn't know about this until after we went in so just foget about the torture and child rape and abuse....if you can.
Here's a shocker for all of those that don't understand the difference between 9/11 and Al Queda: go to this link. Even Kerry get's this wrong. The fact is that Cheney used a poor choice of words to try and enhance feelings against Iraq by closely relating the terrorists of 9/11 with the whole of Al Queda. As we have all been told in bedtime stories, Al Queda has many different cells. The cell that hit the trade center shows no evidence of being linked to Iraq. Al Queda, on the other hand, has many links to Iraq. There have been multiple communique's with Osama Bin Laden. There is believed to be a monetary tie to Osama. When Osama's personal funds were running out and being tapped by the whole of Al Queda and during this time of uncertainty he had a few meetings with some Iraqi dignitaries. After those meetings he had no more money problems after those meetings. Iraq even had a representative at what has been called the global terrorist summit which contained, in a large part, Al Queda. There are other links like the Hamas funding and others but this should be sufficient to convince you. Yes, there were known links between Iraq and terror.
One difference between Iraq and most of the middle east was that their leadership structure was not based in religion. Sure, if you take a look at Saddam's history of worship you'll notice he really didn't do much with it until it became important politically...sort of like Kerry. (Sorry, I couldn't help the quick jab.) He wore a military uniform (similar to that of Castro) or a suit in his more diplomatic days. He never wore a turban or any of the other religious garb that would indicate a man of high faith. He wasn't an overly religious man and neither were his staff. There was a true separation of church and state there. Even Jews and strange Christian sects were allowed sanctuary in parts of Iraq. What does this have to do with attacking them? It allows us to go in and take over a partially appeasable society. If Iraq were a religious based socitey of Sunnis, like Iran, we would be overwhelmed with the society as a whole instead of the smaller uprisings we have now. Don't get me wrong, the uprisings of today are still significant. They're just smaller than they would be if an Ayatollah were driving the people.
The last thing that make the Iraqis a target is the disorganized manner in which everything was handled in their country. Saddam had overall power to do what he wanted when he wanted. If he said something was to be done then it got done, even if no one was really doing it. One example of this were some barrels of Uranium Yellowcake that were sent over from South Africa. Upon American questioning of the sellers we were told "What are you crazy? He's a madman. We sold him barels of sand." But Saddam did not know they were barrels of sand. He thought they were yellowcake and no one would tell him any different for fear of becoming someone's next torture victim. This was just one of many examples of the deception in Iraq that made it an unstable place. The instability made them the most likely target for government overthrow out of the three.
BUSH LIED, PEOPLE DIED! NYYEAAAARRGGGHH!!!: Bush did not lie, he was misinformed about things that no one knew the real truth to. If not knowing the absolute truth is a lie then we would need to accuse every president since George Washington of being a Liar. Leadership of a nation means that you gather the information you have available and make a judgement based upon what you have. You rarely ever know all of the facts. Maybe you don't know all of the facts.
But there were no WMD!: There were WMD in Iraq. Not nuclear WMD but chemical WMD and ranged WMD. If you can remember back to the first days of the ground war you'll remember the first missile fired was a SCUD aimed at Kuwait. A SCUD is a banned weapon, as was the Al Sammud II missiles that they said they did not have...until we found them and forced them to start destroying them. The first SCUD fired was rumored to have a chemical warhead. This was found out by radio transmission interception. It was later found out, when we picked these guys up, that they were too scared to handle the potentially leaky chemical warheads and opted for the explosive head instead. These were WMD and proof the inspections did not work. After the, ahem, peace was won we discovered something that absolutely wasn't chemical weapons. It was only barrels upon barrels of pesticide, concentrated enough to cause people to have chemical like effects in several cases (see: foaming at the mouth and shaking violently on the floor), in ammunition dumps, next to empty rocket shells. But this was only for agricultural purposes so I digress.
To take a phrase out of Bush's playbook, it was the right thing to do, at the right place, at the right time. The world is a much better place without Saddam building palaces with oil-for-food money. The world is a much better place without another terroist sponsoring nation, more should follow. The world is a much better place without a nuclear proliferator. (The reports said he was waiting until sanctions were lifted to spin back up.) The world is a much better place with Iraq holding free elections in a new and democratic Iraq.
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