Friday, July 23, 2004

Told You So, America!

Dr. Khaled M. Batarfi

I am in Boston, and have been to Washington and North Carolina in a US Dept. reporting tour to cover the elections. During the last 10 days, I have debated the Iraq war, a major election issue, with many American scholars and politicians.
One of their explanations goes like: “OK, as it turned out, Iraq never threatened our security, since it acquired no weapons of mass destruction and had no established link to Al-Qaeda. But we couldn’t risk it. There was no hard evidence, but plenty of doubts. We couldn’t have waited idle and risked a nuclear attack on America.”
So, is it enough to have a suspicion about a country’s intention to invade it? Wasn’t that Saddam’s rationale for invading Kuwait? Isn’t it an irony that America, in accordance with international law and common sense, led the world against this medieval logic in 1991, and then used the same defeated principle to conquer the defeated in the new century? Which way are we heading as time progresses, toward the rule of law or the law of the Wild West? Besides, if that was the case, shouldn’t North Korea with its advertised nuclear capabilities be the first?
The other explanation is romantic: “We warred to topple a dictator, and introduce Iraq and the region to democracy and freedom.”
Well, if the US is now in the liberation business, shouldn’t the Cubans, with millions of relatives in America, be first in line? Castro is a much older enemy of the States, has never served American interests, as Saddam, was an ally of Soviet Union, and once a dangerous neighbor who almost caused a nuclear holocaust. Besides, Cuba is much smaller, nearer and easier to conquer than Iraq. An added bonus would be millions of happy Cuban-American votes, especially in Florida, the state which almost cost Bush his presidency.
But, hey, there is no oil in there, and no Israeli and corporate interests, either. Less war means less guns and fat contracts, who needs that?
When war addicts finally run out of excuses, they throw the ball on you and demand: You think you are Mr. Genius? Give me a better way to clean up the mess?
Great! You design the trap of the century, lead us screaming and kicking into it, then, without even admitting any mistake, expect us to come up with a better way out or we are equally stupid! Somebody has to first come out clean and own up their misdeeds, then we could talk solutions. Otherwise, we will just sit on the fence, shouting at the losing team and its ignorant and arrogant leaders, and enjoy saying: “Haven’t we told you so?”
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