Bush, Saddam and Our Terrorist Threats
by Garrett Clevenger
Did you see the Frontline documentary "The Long Road to War" aired recently on PBS about the history of Saddam Hussein leading to our current predicament?
It was a very in depth look well worth viewing if you get a chance.
It ends by summarizing this current Bush Administration's foreign policy philosophy. Basically, it states that America should use its military might to enforce our moral values into areas which threaten our "way of life." This may seem reasonable. It also may not seem any different from past philosophies because the hawks (in particular, VP Dick Cheney, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz) which drafted this are the same guys who have conducted our foreign policies in past administrations.
However, to be frank, they have failed. Tragically.
Saddam Hussein was supported by the US in the 1960's to overthrow the ruler of Iraq at the time because that man was supported by the Soviet Union. The US figured that if he were overthrown, the US could prevent "Communism" from influencing the the Middle East.
Saddam became "President" of Iraq following a coup in which he intimidated his followers by murdering those who he considered traitors. Their fear of death allowed Saddam to rule with an iron fist.
The Reagan administration supported Saddam during the 80's while Saddam was warring with Iran. Weapons and intelligence were supplied to the Iraqis while a million plus people were killed. This administration knew Saddam used chemical weapons against the Kurds and that civilians were being targeted in Iran.
Before Saddam invaded Kuwait, the Bush administration said we have no interest in his "Arab to Arab" conflict, thus giving Saddam the green light to invade.
This became a concern after the US learned of the rape and pillaging the Iraqis were doing to the Kuwaitis.
Thus the first Gulf War came with encouragement towards Iraqis to rise up and overthrow Saddam. When they revolted, we let them down by allowing the Iraqi military to suppress this movement. The US watched as the Iraqi military killed the revolutionaries, sending millions of refugees on the run, creating a humanitarian nightmare. Any wonder they don't trust the US?
From the very beginning, our involvement in this area with Saddam is the result of morally reprehensible US foreign policy philosophy. We are responsible for this predicament. We put Saddam there. We armed him. We gave him the green light. We then attacked him. We have inflamed resentment in the Arab world against us by meddling there and by condoning Israeli terrorist attacks against Palestinians. And we wonder why people flew planes into the World Trade Towers?
Our foreign policy is a failure. This is the foreign policy of our current administration. If you vote for or give donations to this regime, you are supporting reasons for terrorists to attack us.
Now we are in Iraq again, hopefully to restore peace to this region. But we
have abandoned the UN, the appropriate body to resolve these sorts of conflicts.
The US is the face on the bombs and this is precisely what Osama wants. This
action may seem noble and just, but I fear it will only recruit more terrorists
which will only escalate the desire for war.
We have to wonder what the next steps are for this administration after Iraq. Are other regimes which we consider a threat next? Are we going to have the support of other nations? Do we really want to be the world police? Are we willing to spend money elsewhere when this money would be more useful in our homeland?
We need a new foreign policy. That won't come with the current folks in control
of our military. They are entrenched in their beliefs. And considering where
we are, I don't think they are trustworthy or deserve to be shaping America.
Certainly in hindsight it is easy to criticize these actions. Perhaps these folks feel regret about what they did. But it doesn't appear that they are taking responsibility for their actions or are changing foreign policies to lessen the reasons for terrorists to hate us. That would be a true sign of leadership.
Instead, they are willing to risk the lives of our soldiers to remedy their mistakes.
This says nothing about their failed domestic policy, from a faltering economy, loss of a budget surplus, a spiraling deficit, tax cuts for the rich, watching retirement pensions vanish due to corporate fraud, infringement of civil liberties, and allowing attacks on the environment by loosening protections, to name a few.
This administration is killing our country.
I am sure they are hoping for a successful campaign in Iraq to keep the American public supportive of them. I hope it is a success, too, but only to prevent unneeded bloodshed and to oust Saddam from power.
Please keep all this in mind next election. Though the last "election" was a sham, we do live in a democracy. Therefore, we all are responsible for guiding our country towards an area we can be proud to be part of, and not fearful of terrorist threats.
Please take care of yourself.