So now Syria has the weapons of mass destruction… and Baath party refugees… maybe Saddam… or least a predilection for wearing black socks and sandals. Something we find offensive. Of course “we have no plan for Syria.” But then we had no plan for Iraq until a couple of months ago. Are we just going to mosey through the Middle East until we capture somebody’s weapons or despots or something we can trot out to show the world we were justified? Are we prepared to invade Israel? At least we know for sure they really have weapons of mass destruction.
Now don’t get me wrong, Syria’s record for supporting Iraq and/or terrorism is hardly stellar. But again, we have nothing definitive to pin on them, just satelite photos, a little gun running, and speculation. If this sufficient basis for preemptive strike, then a lot of other countries have to figure we’ll be on their doorstep soon. Does anyone think they are all just gonna roll over one at a time? How much enmity can we engender before we inspire an uprising against the U.S. beyond any terror acts we’ve experienced to date?
I’m no peace-nik. War per se is an integral part of tribal human history. I don’t expect that to change. Sometimes it is the best strategic response. In the current case, I question that. I don’t think anyone in this country is prepared for a sustained conflict or an escalation of domestic terror or the military state required to prevent it. There is still no visible end-game to the current strategy. The Bush administration has an abysmal record of follow-through. From the 2001 economic stimulus plan to Afghanistan, once the headlines stop printing they lose interest. The shine is already fading off Iraq. The hard work is just beginning there. But I don’t think they’ll stick this out either. I hope they prove me wrong.
Well that was quicker than I expected. India is now threatening to make a preemptive invasion of Pakistan claiming (rightfully) that the U.S. has already established the precedent. Arguably the nuclear capable Pakistan is a more imminent threat to India than Iraq ever was to us. It will be interesting to hear the official U.S. reaction. Without making claims which amount to, “my moral compass is more righteous than yours,” it will be tough for G.W. to stand against it. Yet clearly we can’t condone others doing what we’ve done. Stay tuned…
It’s hard to not be glad that Baghdad has fallen. And honestly, I hope Saddam and his whole inner circle were in one of the bunkers when they were “busted” by a JDAM. A friend of mine said she felt a bit guilty feeling happy he might be dead. While I understand her point, I don’t share her guilt. I’m really more concerned that he might be alive. He has a long history of phoenix-like ressurections, and if he’s still alive he may well be a driving force behind persistent outbreaks of intra-Iraq terrorist acts against our troops and his own people for years to come. If he’s not proven dead, someone could exploit his legacy of fear to accomplish the same. Either scenario will only increase the need for an ongoing U.S. military presence in Iraq as a police force. Now that we’ve uncorked the bottle, we can’t leave until there is relative stability. Achieving that amongst three mutually hostile tribal groups will be more than a small challenge. The Muslim culture seems to preclude democracy. There are no useful examples of Muslim democracies. (A point which G.W. seems to have overlooked in his rhetoric.) There are dictatorships; good ones, bad ones, and lots of ones in the middle – but no democracies. The chances of a tri-cameral Kurd/Sunni/Shia government emerging are about as likely as me taking up quilting as a hobby.
And so it begins… G.W. and Rummy are still busy playing whack-a-mole in Iraq and the administration is already threatening Syria. Several pro-Israel congressmen are apparently reintroducing a bill to slap sanctions against Syria for their support of terrorism. Rep. Engel of the Bronx was quoted as saying, “Now that Saddam Hussein’s regime is defeated, it is time for America to get serious about Syria.” Meanwhile, our military is massing along the Syrian border to prevent escaping Iraqis and incoming weapons. And they’ll be well positioned should we just happen to need to teach Syria a lesson. Consider that, according to a new poll, published Saturday by the Los Angeles Times, 42 percent said the United States should take action if Syria, in fact, provides aid to Iraq, while 46 percent said no.
On the bright side, Iran and North Korea are breathing easier on the assumption that Bush is working his way through the alphabet (Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria) and is apparently saving them for the second global pass. Turkmenistan is reportedly a little nervous though.
Meanwhile, Dick Cheney’s alma mater, Halliburton Co., has been awarded an oil services contract in Iraq worth up to $7B. I’m not a huge Hillary Clinton fan, but kudos to her for at leasting having the gumption to put forth a bill requiring Bush Inc. to justify why they are awarding these contracts without even putting them out for bid.
Our area is in the final recovery from the biggest ice storm in a decade. I know this because I saw it on TV. I heard the governor declare the area a “disaster”. I heard the meteorologists compare the weekend’s weather to every other incident of prolonged precipitation ever perpetrated on my place. I’ve listened sympathetically to my friends and co-workers suffer without heat, lights, and (gasp!) cable TV. But mostly, I feel guilty. My lights never flickered. My cable never fuzzed up. In fact, the big crisis of the weekend was that my Sunday newspaper arrived with several sections missing. The horror…