Scorched Earth

Jonathon wrote a thoughtful and compelling response to my post Cut the Ribbon yesterday, using as counter-point the political and social condition of the Japanese people prior to World War II, and the prosperity these same people have enjoyed since. He doesn’t deny the “ribbon of folly and greed, arrogance and stupidity’; instead, he writes:

Rather I accept Thomas Sowell’s view that the evils of the world derive from “the limited and unhappy choices available, given the inherent moral and intellectual limitations of human beings.” In other words, folly, greed, arrogance, and stupidity will inevitably arise wherever there are people present.

I don’t necessarily disagree with Jonathon, though he and I do share somewhat different viewpoints of the inherent goodness of humanity as balanced against the inherent badness of humanity. I also respect and understand Jonathon’s expressed view that he’s not pro-war just because he’s not completely anti-war. However, I think at times we rely too much on the accidental successes of wars as a justification for war.

In my comments, Kevin Marks included the text of Tony Blair’s speech in response to the protests this weekend. Now that the terrorist threat has begun to recede as an impetus for the war, the talk turns to Saddam Hussein’s treatment of his people. Blair quotes letters from Iraqi people who talk of the deaths of innocents, Saddam’s brutality, the oppression. None of us deny this. This is the reason, all along, that we should have talked about war — to help the people of Iraq. We should have been discussing this thirty years ago.

But now the Iraqi people are being brought up as a justification for war because we need one more reason to fulfill our agenda of a unilateral invasion of Iraq by the US and a few allies. We need justification for our “righteous” war.

Blair’s speech sickens me because in his grand words in support of the war against Saddam Hussein, he neglects to mention why Saddam is in power; who put him there; who supported him while he killed millions in the war with Iran. Who brought about this horror we face now?

Ridding(sic) the world of Saddam would be an act of humanity. It is leaving him there that is in truth inhumane.

And if it does come to this, let us be clear: we should be as committed to the humanitarian task of rebuilding Iraq for the Iraqi people as we have been to removing Saddam

Who brought the horror? The very leaders who hold up photos of children starving in the countryside. The ones who only now talk of rebuilding Iraq “for the people”.

The hypocrisy makes me want to vomit.

The only planning Bush and Blair have done about the effects of the war and the people of Iraq afterwards is who we’ll put in charge, and how much oil will it cost for our occupation. And Bush and Blair will pursue their agendas regardless of what the world, including our allies, says..

No one wants Saddam Hussein to remain in power, but the cost of marching in with the sole goal of defeating Saddam Hussein and disarming Iraq will bring about horrors worse then any that have been perpetuated in this country in the past. Don’t trot out pictures of Afghanistan and Japan and other beneficiaries of accidental successes of war — the situation in Iraq is different. Amnesty International recognized this, which is why they call, again and again, for a discussion in the UN about the people of Iraq. But all we hear is “Weapons of Mass Destruction”. And 9/11.

Have no doubt of what will happen. Today the papers and the news talk about Saddam Hussein’s scorched earth policy, something which I don’t doubt he’ll follow.

I have no doubt he’ll kill millions, let loose chemical and biological weapons, blow up the oil fields — he is a cornered man with nothing to lose, and no concern about the welfare of his people. If this scorched earth happens, it will take years — years — to recover. And ultimately we will have bred more of the same terrorists we sought to confine and eliminate.

We talk of war, but what war are we fighting? The one Blair and Bush have packaged, and are now wrapping with a pretty bow composed of the faces of the children of Iraq we’re going to save? The war governed by sanctions that focus primarily on weapons?

Or are we going to focus our attention and our energies on finding a solution that will allow us to go into Iraq and help the people without destroying them?

These are two different wars. Which war are we to fight?

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