Saturday, January 25, 2003

I came across this blog today, and it inspired me to put what I posted on the site in an entry for BMA. It makes me feel a bit out of place considering the fact that I really think the war is a bad idea, not to mention the fact that this administration is full of shit and giving any credit whatsoever to the current President makes my skin crawl. Well, here's what I posted...

I wound up here by accident and read your post. I could not help but think of an article I recently reread, written post 9.11.01. I consider myself a bleeding heart lib but feel this quote is quite applicable to some of the confusion currently afflicting an awful lot of Liberals who are torn between two tendencies - the desire to avoid violent conflict in hopes of a better outcome vs. the desire to see those who are oppressed freed from their oppressors.

And what of the confusions and contradictions of the left wing in the first world? In the two or three years preceding the attacks of Sept. 11, I received a string of e-mail petitions from alarmed feminists and leftists protesting the atrocities committed by the Taliban and calling for its brutal regime to be brought down. I signed and passed on every one without ever believing the petitions would literally achieve that end. It seems that others, though adult and educated, did believe in the power of these petitions to cause the Taliban to review in full the practices of its government. This is the only sense I can make of the turnaround of many of these same people, who are now on the front lines of the current antiwar movement. Some who were aware of conditions in Afghanistan under the Taliban's rule and who rallied against the world's complacency became, once America set out to topple the Taliban, its most ardent defenders, calling for peace at any cost, and casting America as the brute.

I understand these people are not really defending the Taliban; rather they are expressing concern for the innocent, already long-suffering Afghan people, and rightly so. But why the political backpedaling? Why oppose the forcible removal of the Taliban when they are clearly far too determined and well established to be removed by other means? This confusion, born of a demand that the sufferings of others be rectified coupled with a refusal to tolerate the realities of what is required to achieve that change, results in an impossible demand that the U.S. is accused of failing to meet again and again.

I came across an explicit example of this when reading an article in which a prominent member of a women's rights organization publicly retracted a previous statement to the effect that she wished someone would forcibly take the Taliban out. Sounding somewhat like a small and frightened child, she explained that she "didn't really mean it," that it had merely been an expression of frustration and not of a real and concrete desire for military intervention. That the U.S. military action in Afghanistan and its resulting refugee crisis and civilian causalities are painful, even tragic, goes without saying. But to believe in a world where dangerous people and tyrannical governments miraculously disappear seems infantile.

In truth I don't know how applicable this is to the current situation in Iraq (not nearly as much) but the fact remains that as much as I hate this president, as much as I dislike of the idea of war, as much as I think that this war is a very bad idea, the current arms inspections would not be going on right now had this administration not slapped some sense into the UN, demand it stop acting like a legion of Neville Chamberlains and demand there be some real consequences for Iraq not meeting to what it agreed to in their surrender in the Gulf War. Before they were a bunhc of idiots voting on resolutions and condemnations and when they would be defied by Iraq, they'd just have another meeting to set up no resolutions. They were making themselves irrelevant.

I can't nor won't say that Iraq is as big and as bad as the Bush administration so deperately wants it to be, but for so many on the liberal side to refute that there is no real threat whatsoever I think this is a fallacy or an excuse not to do anything.

This is not to say that many of the justifications that the administration uses for war are right, in fact many of them are disingenuous. If the Bush Administration cared so much about Democracy in Iraq (remember Democracy represents the people, all the people equally) then why is the Bush adiministration only talking to the ruling Sunni, and not the Shiite majority? Why are we only talking to individuals who used to be part of the Ba'ath party, individuals who executed the will of Saddam, who practiced his brutality, and are now opposing him now that they are exiled by the same muderous lunatic. Why aren't we talking to Kurds and all the other individuals who've been maligned by Saddam that are still in Iraq? Why is it that the people who are exiled are already cutting up Iraqi oil fields for themselves and bypassing the rights of the people of Iraq at large. My favorite justification by this administration about Saddam is his use of WMD against the Kurds. They just love showing that photo of those 5,000 people in the streets, the Kurds, lying dead from a gas attack, especially that baby with blue lips in her mother's arms. It almost makes you forget who financed those weapons (take a guess who did!)

You can see the Salon article entitled, America The Scapegoat, for yourself if you just click here on the link. It's quite worth the reading, even now more than a year after it was written.


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