Onward Christian soldiers
Marching as to war
With the cross of Jesus
Going on before.
Christ the loyal Master
Leads against the foe
Forward into battle
See his banners go.
America's war with Iraq is not a matter of if, it's a matter of when1. No country forks out millions of dollars -- which ever currency -- not to recoup the investment. Certainly not a Capitalist country such as the United States.
Call him a man with a room temperature IQ if you will, but George W. Bush is no fool when it comes to Oil, and his advisors are not fools when it comes to economics. Tony Blair is under immense stick at the moment with his Labour government, the majority of whom do not support a war in Iraq, particularly not without the grace of the United Nations. And well they shouldn't, for the British public do not support the invasion.
Britain will support America in the Iraq war. Again, there is no if. Tony Blair may be deemed a lapdog of George Bush's, but in the two odd years leading up to the next elections in the United Kingdom, the British public will forgive the Labour Party. Partly, they will forgive the Labour Party because of the party members' speaking out against war, and partly they will forgive them because their lives will not materially change.
Ask any Canadian citizen, or anyone from an ironore producing nation about Bush's import tarrifs, and they'll have a lot to say. The logging tarrifs are crippling the Canadian logging industry, and the ironore tarrifs are hurting other countries. Bush is yet to impose huge import duties on the things that my country exports to the US, their biggest trade partner. I wonder why that is?
It seems to me a sick deal that has tacitly been struck.
Tony buys bombs from Dubya, drops them on Dubya's enemy, Dubya doesn't enforce hefty import duties on Tony's produce. Tony's and Dubya's economies grow, and a few damn A-rab terrorists get their wrists slapped. Works out good for all.
The atrocities of September 11, 2001 will never be repeated. Not on that scale. Why not? Because in a sick twist of fate, September 11th has been good (if that is at all possible) for America and bad for the muslim world. 2,801 people died in the Twin Towers, but many more died in Afghanistan and Palestine2 and throughout the rest of the world in official and unofficial revenge attacks. The US's War on Terror in Afghanistan prompted Israel to issue forth with their own War on Terror and we saw Gaza International Airport ripped up, the events at Jenin and heard George W. Bush yell
"Hang on there, Tiger! What's good for the Goose ain't good for the Gander!"
In the time since the attacks, however, the American population have pulled together, reaffirmed their patriotism, shown empathy for one another and become more tolerant. They have mourned and they have rebuilt. Muslims who had no involvement whatsoever in the attacks have been bombed, shelled, assasinated, exiled, had their homes destroyed, their livelihoods taken away, they have suffered.
Regime change in Iraq will not do anything to avert terrorism. While there is huge disparity between the haves and the havenots, there will always be terrorism. It is their only means of recourse. This does not mean I support terrorism.3
Regime change in Iraq will not facilitate the capture of Osama bin Laden. If he really is responsible for September 11, 2001, then try him in absentia. What are you afraid of? Your duty to provide a competent defence will prevent you from finding him guilty beyond a resonable doubt? The Taliban regime were the first to say that given adequate proof of guilt, they would produce the man. Thousands need not have died. Who has blood on their hands now?
Saddam Hussein is old and reports are that he's ailing. In a few years, he will either die or retire, facilitating a natural regime change4.
If Iraq really posed a threat to the United States, they would not be going to war against them. Cast your mind back to the Cold War. The USSR posed a serious and real threat, so no hostilities ever materialised. Simple fact. Afghanistan, one of the poorest countries in the world, was never going to trouble America, mostly because they had no idea that the attack was coming.
Iraq is a different kettle of fish. Since the Gulf War, the US has steadily built rather large bases in the Middle East. Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. There's also now Afghanistan (just as soon as those US construction firms repair all the runways) and Pakistan, maybe also Turkey and Jordan. Iraq is practically surrounded, with only one neighbour they can count on not forming allegiance with the US: their old foe Iran.
Since things got wrapped up in Afghanistan, however, the US has been increasing its showings of aggression towards Iraq. The former governer of Texas, who executed more death row prisoners than any before him, is obviously baying for blood once again. You will argue that Saddam Hussein does not have a right to defend his country and its citizens following the Kuwait incident a decade ago, and I will argue that he does. You will argue that he does not treat his citizens fairly, and I will argue Judge not lest yea be judged. I will further argue that Arab culture is not one of democracy, and that you can't change the world over night because you want to and you think your way is better.
As I said above, the US would not strike Iraq if it felt that Iraq posed a real threat. What if they have miscalculated? Are the United States of America and the United Kingdom ready and prepared to defend their mainlands? I don't think so.5
Arab Nationalism has been around for nearly a century. It has come in fits and starts, interrupted by the trappings of nouveau riche, thanks to the wealth generated by the oil dependency that has escalated throughout the world in the last century. Having saved up more money than they can ever spend, and developed big cities on their sandy landscapes, the sheikhs of the Gulf have realised that unity = strength. We have had OPEC for nearly half a century, and now have the Gulf Cooperative Council (GCC) with member states Saudi Arabia, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain. The GCC are already talking about a single currency.
All the GCC states have spoken out against an attack on Iraq. It is unlikely that the states will join together and support Iraq in a counter-military operation6, but do not be surprised if they fight back and hit the US where it really hurts: with oil. George Bush has already warned Europe and the United Kingdom to stock up on their oil reserves, obviously confident that Texan and Alaskan supplies plus reserves will see the US through until the Gulf quietens down again.
Any miscalculation on OPEC greed would have devastating effects on US culture as we know it7.
- a. My fatalist attitude does not overwrite my sense of hope, or my belief in the pen is mightier than the sword.
b. This writeup was written as the datestamp on the node. In later weeks, the Labour government's annual conference came and went, and so did the rhetoric in the UK newspapers. Coincidentally, the US is leading up to the midterm elections on November 2, 2002. The DC Sniper is now hogging headlines and the war on Iraq has been cast to the backburner.
- Call the "occupied" territories what you will, I mean the place where the Palestinians live.
- Terrorism played a central role in tearing down apartheid. We all agree that the removal of apartheid was a good thing. How do you feel about terrorism now?
- His son is touted as his heir to the Iraqi throne (head of state).
- Selective advertising or bitter irony: you decide -- during a recent ad break while watching
BBC British, probably ITV main evening news was a UK Air Force recruitment advertisement.
- 24/11/93 - MIDDLE EAST
GULF: JOINT ARMY OR A "SHIELD"?
The absence of the Saudi defense minister, Prince Sultan Ibn Abdul Aziz, from a meeting of Gulf Cooperative Council (GCC) defence ministers in Abu Dhabi between 10-12 November has confirmed the Saudi regime's opposition to any process leading to the creation of a unified, 100,000-strong Gulf army. -- http://www.intelligenceonline.com/dossiers/iof/p_Sawari.asp
- This is a best-case scenario. Ask your nearest Zimbabwean what life without oil is like for a worst-case scenario.
- Numerous newspaper articles over a long period of time. Including The Times, The Independent, The Guardian and METRO
- BBC and ITV TV news reports
- various articles at http://globalsecurity.org