Monday, December 13, 2004

More Than ONE Reason

Something I have noticed is that there are several people out there that are too quick to condemn the current administration for anything and everything that has to do with the war in Iraq. Normally, they point to a single factor and discredit or ignore that is good. The good doesn't matter to them, as it doesn't provide them with a means to their end. They are blinded with their hatred.

There are many reasons we went to war with Iraq besides Nuclear WMD. There are many more reasons to be staying in Iraq to continue their proliferation. If I were to limit this article to just those reasons we attacked in the first place I would be doing a great injustice to the actions going on today. It would be an insult to both Iraqi foreigners and nationals.

Lets begin this with the reasons we originated the war:

One of the original reasons we went into Iraq was to neutralize the threat of chemical weapons. Since we went in we have found various chemical shells smattered around, huge stockpiles of what is considered by some to be pesticides, and most recently a small chemical lab with the makings of various chemical weapons and instructions. It could be countered that there has been no quoted smoking gun on this but then you would be missing the point. We are there for a whole collage of things, not just one point.

Iraq had been violating several UN sanctions on various missile distances, attempted banned acquisitions and even attempts to acquire high-enriched Uranium. If you are of the dismissive nature you will site the failed South Africa report and again miss the point of this endeavor. He has made several attempts on several occasions to acquire banned materials through illegitimate means. Because of this we have no way of knowing what he has and what he doesn't have. Should we have erred on the side of kindness and let him continue his cat and mouse game with UNSCOM for another twelve years? That decision is up to you.

Terrorism is not a country. It is an action being perpetrated by men and women from multiple countries and different walks of life. They’ve been culminating throughout the globe in places that will take them in or at least tolerate them. Places like the Philippines, Iran, Syria and Iraq have given safe haven to these thugs. Is it any wonder why most of the hard-line terrorists are not Iraqi? We are fighting an ideal, not any one place or any one country. It is rather unfortunate that it is the Iraqi People that are suffering the brunt of the terror but, in my mind, it has been thus far unavoidable by any means short of invading somewhere else and making that place a haven for terrorists.

Many of these reasons were good and viable to invade in many people's minds. They are not such great ideas in the minds of others. They will point to other countries as more viable targets. Why didn't we go there instead? The point is that we DID invade for the reasons mentioned and we need to continue our mission there until we are no longer needed. The world will just have to wait for big brother America to save the day for other countries. Maybe in the meantime they could do something about it themselves. Maybe they could learn to fix things on their own like the Ukraine just did?

But I digress. Here are just some of the reasons for our continued existence in Iraq that don't usually make the news:

Iraq’s educational system was poorly lacking due to both the repressive regime and the sanctions placed upon that country. Since the time of the invasion the U.S. servicemen have been putting in blackboards, getting new school supplies, assisting the teachers and pretty much acting as an interim school board for a good portion of Iraq. Something very significant to note is that this particular reason for continued existence in Iraq is one you can help out with. There are a few charities devoted to assisting the people of Iraq in schools, the home and elsewhere. I haven’t asked her permission to do this but I’m sure she won’t mind, but Kathleen, over at KitKat has been my source for charitable actions for some time now. If you feel the need to give, you should go visit her site or send her e-mail.

One of the side effects of removing an oppressive regime is the need for a new government. There have been quite a few critics for this one but it has continued to press ever onward and upward despite the nay saying. The interim government has been in place since June and the free elections for the legitimate government will be in place after the elections on or before January 30th 2005. Even the 23 reluctant Sunni parties have decided to belly up the table of democracy and have a heaping helping of it. Albeit this after much complaining as they had previously held all of the power in Iraq. It’s sort of a demotion for them.

The atrocities of days gone by are no more. Gone are the torture chambers complete with working iron maidens. Gone are the gassings that created mass graves and are being turned up with sickening frequency. Gone are the days of little girls being worldlier about men than most women would ever need to know. The ruling government was a sick and twisted group of people with no one to answer to until they were taken out of the picture. Every day more torture chambers and mass graves or new stories of rape and murder are uncovered at places all over Iraq. I am very glad that we took out these demented people.

One last thing that could be quite possibly the most important of them all is the ever-growing scandal of the oil-for-food program. Like it or not, this was the largest single most monetary scandal the world has ever seen. The fingers of this program have reached from Saddam’s many palaces, to terrorist bank accounts, to French and German coffers, to even the son of the head of the UN, Kofi Annan.

That isn’t the real tragedy though. The real tragedy is what the Iraqi people were denied because of this leaky program. An estimate from UNICEF placed the deaths caused by these sanctions and the funneling of the oil for food program at around 5,000 deaths of children up to the age of five a month. That’s just the children. That doesn’t take into account the thousands that have died from things like Cholera, poor health care or other factors. Even with the frequent bombings we are still very much on the negative side of this denominator. By calculation, we are gaining many more lives than have been lost to hostile action. Yes, killing the bad guys is actually saving more lives than it kills.

To counter this, there are those that will go to great lengths to discredit and ignore the unfortunate things that happen. On more than one occasion I have been guilty of turning a blind eye to things that should never have happened. This is no better than ignoring the good. Bad things are happening over there every day and should not be ignored.

People are still dying every day in Iraq due to terrorist bombings, insurgent fighting or just plain general lawlessness. We have not done the best we can do to win the peace. We have faltered time and time again just with the fact of being bumbling westerners. We are not always familiar with their customs and courtesies and are very disliked for it. We are considered infidels in the Middle East. How would you like the French to invade the US with the help of Canada and try and hold onto it? Does anyone remember Red Dawn? The fact that no Arab power is assisting us on the ground plays a major role in the continued disdain for us. This leads to more and more people taking up arms against us and against the easier targets, the Iraqi civilians that help us.

This war, like all other major ones before it, has encountered its fair share of war crimes. From the torture at Abu Ghraib to the beatings in Fallujah there have been crimes against humanity. There are things that should have been done to prevent this but were not done due to leadership incompetence, ignorance, complacency, or malice. One thing I’ve learned from this is that Special Forces should not, under any circumstances, be left to their own devices. Seeing the example they set for everyone else really begs the question of how much they help or hinder.

Due to all of the bad press, the dirty election, the preemptive strike, the focusing on the bad points, etc. we have accumulated a very bad international reputation through doing this. Sure, many countries have stuck by us but many of our long term allies, such as France and Germany, have gone cold on us. I’m not going to sit here and say the way we’re being treated today in the EU is right or wrong. I’m going to tell you that our actions in Iraq have made us unpopular in Europe.

Due to our unpopularity we will suffer a loss in business with EU countries as well as a decreased ability to wield authority over them economically. Sure, this may seem like a drop in the bucket but there are some very real implications behind it. The less authority we have in the EU to more power the EU has in the US. The world economy is normally at the whim of whichever nation holds the most economic control over all of the others. Do you see the dollar continually sliding against the euro? Our unpopularity is one of the things that have caused it.

Something of note here is that these bad things that happen do not mean that we are, in fact, creating a haven for new terrorists. This is as ludicrous as believing that speaking up about the problems is killing people either. The fact that all infidels were declared war on a few years back should give you some indication as to the root of what will bring more terrorists. The fact that many hold the ideology that all infidels are a scourge upon the Earth is what recruits new terrorists. Well, that and the guarantee from the terror groups that the martyrs’ family will be provided for.

By discussing our opinions without arrogance, anger, insult or ignorance we can normally find the middle ground to what is most often the real truth of the matter. It is not about political snarking at one another. It's about coming to a consensus on what should be done. No man or woman is completely good or evil. George W. Bush is no exception. He isn't a complete angel but he's not the devil many make him out to be.

(Exception: Glenn Reynolds. He is 100% pure evil. Ask any Alliance member.)

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