Thursday, February 06, 2003


I realized why it will be hard to commit blog suicide (kill the blog)...And this is because there I have nowhere else to talk about IT. The war, that is. The freaking war.

Did you SEE the slides? Wow. Is this for REAL? Check out the one of the truck carrying a 'weapons of mass destruction' factory? lab? IT'S A DRAWING!

OK, I'm all for visual aids but...oh my God. It was almost a parody of itself.

Iraq truck

Today on TV (it is right in front of me on the treadmill...I cannot avoid it) I saw the democratic senator ?Biden? talking about how great it is that now the administration really has a plan. For example, Rice told him that once we invade we are going to do these things
(1) Secure the borders
(2) Prevent retaliation to avoid civil war
(3) I forgot the third one... It sounds really good though, doesn't it?

We might get all comfy and reassured until we read about a few other plans that need to be carried out first: "A war plan leaked last week to David Martin of CBS News, calls for up to eight hundred cruise missle strikes during the first two days--twice as many as during the forty days of the Gulf War. [It's unclear if this refers to all strikes or only those on Baghdad.] Martin quotes a Pentagon official as saying "There will not be a safe place in Baghdad." The plan is called 'Shock and Awe' and its goal is the "psychological destruction of the enemy's will to fight." ...

The thing is: Isn't it incredibly likely that Iraq has 'weapons of mass destruction'? (Even if we bothered to define this term in such a way that it referred to something that posed a significant threat to neighboring countries.) I just get the feeling that what's driving them crazy is that they know Iraq has these weapons!! They just know it!! But they can't seem to prove it. get...well...some very inconclusive photos...a conversation that could be interpreted in many non-incriminating ways...and drawings! Not even very good drawings.

One argument I'd be ashamed to use if I wanted war is the argument that it is humanitarian to liberate the people of Baghdad. Maybe we should ask them? It's not that the loss of political liberty or living under a totalitarian regime is something to be sneezed at but they seem like they are doing well enough to be left alone for the time being--Every person--in the entire country apparently-- receives enough staples to survive.

In my own way (disregarding the fact that I hope for wealth redistribution, socialism, a complete overhaul of the criminal justice system, an end to the two party system in favor of some form of parlimentariasm, a 4 day work week, free higher education, global justice, environmental laws so strict they will put many large corporations out of business, an end to the reliance on fossil fuel, relatively open borders with Mexico, some other things) I really think of myself as a moderate.

Hence, I do not deny that 'regimes' (interesting word...) which pose a threat to other nations and which seem likely to use biological or nuclear warfare should be 'left alone.'

Is war ever necessary? I guess it depends on what you mean by 'necessary' but I can't really support the claim: No country should ever wage war on another. The obvious case where one can engage in war is to defend one's border from an aggresor. It might also be legitimate to have a war to prevent genocide or mass killings.

'Pre-emptive' wars are part of the more tricky category--You have to estimate what someone is likely to do. If, given all available evidence, there is an overwhelming reason to believe that another nation intends to bring about widespread death and destruction and there is no other way to prevent this than to wage war--this could be a case where war is justified.

There are gigantic issues I am ignoring here. There are many views that would support even a war for oil or even a war to preserve or promote American wealth and power--I'm ignoring those. There are certainly people who believe there is no reason other than national self-interest (whatever this happens to be) to engage in warfare. It makes your nation richer, stronger, etc. there are many who will argue that this is a perfectly acceptable reason for war. For these people, the only reason not to have a war is if you will lose and lose big. The likelihood of the U.S. 'losing' is small...however, the likelihood that a huge level of public resources will be spent and that domestic insecurity will increase dramatically after our war with Iraq is large enough to give even these people pause...Although you notice it doesn't seem to. At the same time, some people stand to make an enormous profit.

You notice how there aren't even on the table or in the public eye? But many suspect that this is the only reason for the war in Iraq.

I'm not responding to that view but in the case of preventive war there are clearly some major caveats. For example, if the reason for engaging in the war is to preserve life, peace and stability (yes, in some cases I do think a war might result in a longer and more secure peace if it is against a nation that has imperialist designs, e.g.) then obviously it is absurd to engage in war which will result in more death, more war and violence and more instability than allowing things to take their natural course.

One thing that seems like a big mistake is to base your decision to go to war on shaky speculation. For example: If you are very uncertain of the outcome in either case (going or not going to war) it is smarter--and obviously more ethical--not to go to war.

So here are some things that I think about a great deal lately...

Obviously, morality and human rights and international law doesn't cut any ice with certain people. Even those people I think are wildly overestimating the 'benefits' of war with Iraq for the national interest. I would say that this is perhaps the reason most of those who oppose the war focus on the oil profits to be made: The risks outweigh the benefits. Except for those who stand to make a profit on oil. War is always a risky proposition.

Even if you don't care at all about morality, don't value human life, etc. or you're just some crazy nationalist patriot who is so concerned to have the U.S. control the world at all costs to might have a reason to stop and think a bit about whether it is worth it to go to war.

One of the major problems with every single person’s discussion of this war is that we truly are in the dark. And I don’t mean: We U.S. citizens are in the dark about what the U.S. government is planning. I believe there are many things which are complete unknowns to everyone. (I put in some things that should matter to us if we care about human life--such as the question concerning how much a threat Iraq poses)

Among the things that don't seem to be known are: What weapons Iraq does have; how usuable they are and how much of a threat they would pose in the future; what Hussein would do with those weapons if he did have them; what would occur during the war; how many casualties there will be on both sides; what sort of threat Iraq genuinely poses to neighboring countries.

Here are some things it seems reasonable to believe: Hussein desires a military advantage and would welcome weaponry that would give him this advantage; Hussein would use these weapons if he could profit from it in some way; many Iraqis will die, perhaps very many and this includes many civilians (the civilian/soldier distinction doesn’t mean much in Iraq, but it’s worth mentioning); many fewer Americans will die, but of course some will; Iraq will ultimately lose the war.

Here are some facts which seem evident and relevant: American corporations will profit ultimately from the war; multi-nationals will make bucketloads off Iraqi oil fields; the war will serve as a justification for many forms of irregular violence against U.S. citizens in the future; the war will serve to demonstrate U.S. military power to the world; many U.S. citizens will be enraged and alienated by the war; the vast majority of non-Americans will develop an even greater contempt for the U.S. than they have already…

Here’s something we can be sure of: Iraq poses no threat to the United States.

The most obvious one: What if Iraq could conceivably get a nuclear weapon in the near future? What if they intended to use it?

If we had evidence to support the claim that Iraq will invade or bomb a neighboring country, it would be hard not to support a war. However, it should not be the U.S. alone. My reasons to object to war would be diminished if Iraq was this kind of threat as long as I was sure that no one in the U.S. or any multi-national corporation would ever make a single penny off it.

That's one rule we should have right now: Every single cent made from oil in the post-war period should go to re-building Iraq and to the Iraqi people...

Then, we might be willing to trust the government we are so sure is lying to us.

The basic principles I believe should prevent the United States from going to war with Iraq: The U.S. lacks the moral and legal authority to go to war with Iraq; War is only justified in cases where an imminent threat is posed—one cannot go to war in the face of a speculative threat or because of the mere possibility of the threat; the (somewhat flawed) channels of international law should be used because a worse precedent is set by flouting them than by letting a dictator go on as he has. International law needs major reform, though. El chico explained some things about the UN security council I didn't's quite arbitrary as only those countries with nuclear weapons when it was founded have veto power...Check out 'details' on the grey info box on the CNN website.

So finally my thought is: If the thought of thousands of people being bombed, soldiers being killed, fires, destruction, hunger, terror, lifelong wounds and trauma for those who survive doesn't make you sick every day even if you are for this goddamn stupid war then there's a special place in hell just for people like you. No matter what sort of dire situation we might be in--even if we were under attack and simply striking back--this is never something that anyone should ever, ever want. What scares me is that some people seem to.

On the lighter side...

If You're Happy and You Know It Bomb Iraq by John Robbins
> If you cannot find Osama, bomb Iraq.
> If the markets are a drama, bomb Iraq.
> If the terrorists are frisky,
> Pakistanis looking shifty,
> North Koreans too risky,
> Bomb Iraq.
> If we have no allies with us, bomb Iraq.
> If we think that someone's dissed us, bomb Iraq.
> So to hell with the inspections,
> Let's look tough for the elections,
> Close your mind and take directions,
> Bomb Iraq.
> It's pre-emptive non-aggression, bomb Iraq.
> They've got weapons we can't see,
> And that's all the proof we need,
> If they're not there, they must be there,
> Bomb Iraq.
> If you never were elected, bomb Iraq.
> If your mood is quite rejected, bomb Iraq.
> If you think Saddam's gone mad,
> With the weapons that he had,
> And he tried to kill your dad,
> Bomb Iraq.
> If corporate fraud is growin', bomb Iraq.
> If your ties to it are showin', bomb Iraq.
> If your politics are sleazy,
> And hiding that ain't easy,
> And your manhood's gettin' queasy,
> Bomb Iraq.
> Fall in line and follow orders, bomb Iraq.
> For our might knows not our borders, bomb Iraq.
> Disagree? We'll call it treason,
> Let's make war not love this season,
> Even if we have no reason,
> Bomb Iraq.


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