Wednesday, March 19, 2003

COUNTDOWN
Well, it's T minus 2:45 until GWB's deadline hits and and a whole world of hurt is unleashed on Iraq. I've been having heartfelt email exchanges with Warren and was impressed to hear he too is concerned with the repercussions that could come from a war (increased terror attacks, crumbling status of the US abroad, etc). Still, he still feels it's a job that needs to be done. I remain conflicted, mostly because I don't trust the people leading the White House. I fear they'll use this battle as a pretext to enforce a permanent state of war. Lord knows they been driving this whole Terror Alert thing into the ground.

My fears got me thinking about the lack of any absolute truth. Belief is not about reality. It's about which cable channel you watch, newspapers you read or political party you hitch your wagon to. Warren described it as increased tribalism and I agree. For instance, If we were in the exact same situation and Gore or Clinton were leading this charge, I bet the left and middle would be backing the actions while the right and far left would be opposed (albeit, for different reasons). The Right in particular would claim that Clinton/Gore was dragging us into the role of Worldwide Peacekeeper and Nationbuilder, wasting all our tax dollars on Third World misfits.

It has to do with who you trust and I think that's why much of Europe doesn't back this action. They think Bush is a cowboy idiot who should have stuck to losing money in the oil biz. Bush spent the first two years telling much of the world Fuck off. I don't need to honor anything signed by a former President if I don't want to. Bye Bye SALT Treaty. Bye Bye Kyoto Agreements. Hello revisions to policies on attacking other nations without provocation. Europe has simply had enough and is saying, "You want war? Go fight it yourself, asshole."

What's the conclusion? Next year, China might decide Taiwan is acting badly and opt to invade preemptively - ala the US - to protect national interests. Will we have a leg to stand on in protest? Nope. In a few hours American troops are marching into Iraq whether Saddam stays, leaves or blows himself up. White House officials are going to re-learn the difficulties of overtaking a city of 5 million (something we really haven't done since WWII). Even if only 50,000 of Bagdad's residents fight, there's going to be a lot of blood and chaos. I hope all the optimistic predictions are correct and Iraqis welcome US and Brit troops with flowers and open arms. But I bet that will end when the first female suicide bomber hands over an exploding bowl of dates.

Even if we wipe out Saddam and his guards, I think the US is entering a long term minefield that will make the Israeli / Palestinian conflict look like an afternoon soccer match. I hope, hope, hope I'm wrong. But bottom line - I've got a four-year old son. I view world events like this in how it could effect him. If he was 16, a war like this loomed and the current White House required his participation, we'd be on our way to Canada tomorrow.

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