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We have a war going on, and a wartime President... so we should all… - John [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]

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[Oct. 8th, 2004|03:13 pm]
We have a war going on, and a wartime President... so we should all feel good, right?

Well... maybe not.

Here's the thing... what exactly is the point of a war?

Don't worry; it's not a trick question, but I'll tell you the answer. The goal of a war is to get people to do what you want them to.

Hopefuly, you want them to do something like "stop attacking us"... but wars are always fought based upon a desire of one sort or another, one that you want to enforce.

That's the first, most important point to consider. The question isn't "how do you win a war?"; the question is "what can we do to make people do what we want?"

The President is saying that the war in Iraq is a front in the war on terror. Let's think about that claim.

Did invading Iraq convince Al Quaeda that they don't really want to attack us? I doubt it.

Did it convince the Iraqi people that we're wonderful people, and that anyone who wants to hurt us is scum? Well, apparently not. If the Iraqi people all loved us, except for a few holdovers of the Baath party, the insurgency would be unable to hide.

Did it convince people in other Middle Eastern countries that we're not the evil bastards Osama bin Ladin claims we are? Folks, war is ugly; the lowball estimates for the number of Iraqi civilians killed are over ten thousand. And, when we had a chance to hand Iraq over to the UN, we refused.

Do *I* think Bush invaded Iraq "for the oil"? No. But with ten thousand Iraqi civilians dead- and note, these are people who just got caught in the crossfire, not members of the insurgency - and an oilman at the helm, and our insistance that this was our baby, not the UN's, do I think that people in the Middle East might think Bush invaded for the oil? Oh, yeah.

See, remember: war is a tool to get people to do what you want, and what they will think, when they look at your actions, influences what they decide to do. I certainly don't think war with Iraq made people like us more!

Now, was Saddam Hussein an evil bastard? Sure. And wasn't there a pretty good chance that he had biological and chemical weapons, and was maybe seeking nuclear weapons? Sure, there was a chance, but keep in mind, he wanted sanctions ended, too... there was a clear chance that he'd destroyed everything he had, purely out of self-interest.

The question is, was war with Iraq the wise course of action in getting people to do what we wanted?

Well, what did we want?

We wanted to believe that Saddam Hussein wasn't going to hand biological, chemical, or, heaven help us, nuclear weapons to someone like Osama bin Ladin.

CIA reports already said he wouldn't.

No, don't believe me; go back and look them up. These are the same intelligence reports that Bush relied on to claim Saddam Hussein still had weapons. See, Saddam Hussein already knew that we were itching for an excuse to kick his ass, and he knew we could, and would, kick his ass if given that excuse. He doesn't want his ass kicked. Even evil bastards can recognize reality.

The rest of what we wanted, when we invaded Iraq, was a lot more amorphous. We wanted a new, democratically elected government to make Iraq a shining star of democracy in the Middle East. A wonderful, noble goal, to be sure... but to hearken back to my example about tools, I think using an army to do that is like trying to use a chainsaw to do soldering on a circuit board.

(And if you know a way to do this, please smack yourself upside the head again, okay?)

There are a lot of things said about this. "We're taking the fight to the terrorists, fighting them overseas before they strike us at home", and so on. And, to some degree, it might be true. By painting a big target on our soldiers in Iraq, we might well have convinced some terrorist organizations to fight the US military over there, rather than plan civilian strikes over here. Do you think that's helping with the stabilization of Iraq? And until Iraq's stabilized, don't we have 140,000 soldiers who are being kept busy stabilizng Iraq? Doesn't that make us more vulnerable to threats that might require military might to defeat?

Forget whether the war was justified or not for a moment; forget any love or hate for George W. Bush. Just think... is this how we're planning to get people to do what we want? If so, does it seem to be working?

[User Picture]From: jenny_evergreen
2004-10-08 11:21 pm (UTC)
Excellent. Just excellent.
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[User Picture]From: rickvs
2004-10-09 01:58 am (UTC)
A friend of mine pointed out that we'd not had any more nine-eleven-type incidents since the original one. My response: "Yeah, we're exporting our casualties now". *sigh*
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[User Picture]From: grey_lady
2004-10-09 07:02 am (UTC)
Well done, John. Thanks for writing this.
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