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previous: Dave Rich <"Um, Mr. Prez, just exactly whose ... -- 12/16/2003 7:26 PM View Thread

Re: "Iraqi Involvement"?!

12/16/2003 9:47 PM
Mark Hammer
Re: "Iraqi Involvement"?!
The view that perogative belongs to those who send in the most troops or spend the most money or have the most power is precisely what I'm talking about. It's more than a bit like a tyrannical father proclaiming "When you pay the bills you can live the way you want, but as long as you're under my roof, it's my rules!". That may have some plausibility in the home environment (though it doesn't work very well), but considerably less on the international stage. And yes it is precisely where the resentment comes from. It doesn't make 19 year-old boys feel any more respected and it certainly isn't much better for sovereign nations. If the Iraqi political opposition had as much money and weaponry as the US (or as the US and other countries sold to Saddam over the years) they would have taken care of things themselves. But they didn't, and the fact that they didn't has little bearing on whose justice ought to be served first and foremost.  
As for my own country (Canada), I think we acted in good conscience and appropriately. If a friend wants to sink all his money into a bad investment, is he correct in blaming you for not jumping in with him and maybe putting him over the top instead of floundering. We knew this was gonna be a mess, we knew it was going to preclude our capacity to intervene in any of the other tragedies around the world that keep cropping up (and to which we are already committed), and in spite of how many jubilant headlines popped up the last two days, its still a mess and will be for a few years at least. I'm quite comfortable that we said "No thank you" and most of my countrymen are too. We lose no moral authority in doing so.  
My comments about Bush's use of the phrase "Iraqi involvement" were about what it implied. Perhaps he means something more substantive, but it is reflective of the guy's tendency to figure out what he should have said or done after the fact. The "crusade" term was egocentric and dismissive and so is the phrase "involvement". For my money, you can bet your bottom dollar that the justice process will be heavily directed by the US. Indeed, as many commentators have noted, referral to any sort of world court or UN court would open up too many possibilities for the defense to raise and identify American culpability. Remaining in an ostensibly Iraqi court will keep it about Saddam's crimes against his people and neighbouring nations. If you think the mandate of the Bush administration is to simply serve as backup until the Iraqis are better organized and then completely step aside during any trial, you're dreaming in technicolor.  
Should George have listened to me? Over the years, the US could have outdone the Iraqi government in directly supplied humanitarian aid three times over for a fraction of the cost of the invasion in lives and money and disruption and earned the loyalty of citizens, but they never did. Instead, they armed him, supported him, turned a blind eye to his crimes, then when he went bad they turned him into a pariah, gave him full leeway to blame the US for everything bad that befell his people (due to his greed and corruption). This is the problem that arises when governments try to curry the favour of each other for political and military leverage rather than because they are truly interested in human welfare and parity among nations. If foreign aid was distributed with the intent of raising the lifestyle of your average Khartoum or Islamabad resident to the level of your average Kansas City or Bangor, Maine resident, rather than for what it accomplished in terms of positioning the US economically and militarily to assure Kansas City and Bangor residents their quality of life in spite of everything, there would not be those hundreds of fellow Americans who have a folded flag as a momento of their kids. Foreign policy and foreign aid has to be about more than what it gets you in return.  
Yeah, George shoulda talked to me first instead of the Pentagon or Wall Street. Saddam might have ended up as some doofus with a beard on a street corner yelling out anti-west epithets to passersby who shake their heads at the poor homeless guy, or maybe just a small-time thug shaking down grannies for lunchmoney, or some jerk peddling make-a-million-bucks-in-real-estate-with-no-money-down scams. But he wouldn't be the despot that he became, aided and abetted by thousands of folks who believed in him because of how he was able to grease their palms. Come to think of it, that pretty much describes the House of Saud, Kuwait, the former Shah of Iran, Juan Battista, Papa Doc Duvalier, Allende, Noriega, and plenty of others whose names escape me. You can't keep setting up despots then claiming the moral high ground when they get out of hand and you spend billions to take them down or buy them out. You CAN claim the moral high ground when you spend and forfeit billions to stop it from ever happening in the first place.

anonymous Well said, as always.I suspect ... -- 12/17/2003 3:50 AM
Love Hippie You:Should George have l... -- 12/17/2003 4:08 AM
AlChemIst If foreign aid was distributed w... -- 12/17/2003 1:28 PM
Mark Hammer Correction -- 12/17/2003 5:19 PM