Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The Economist

A friend printed an article in the Economist on Bush & the Iraq War titled "Five Years On" (subscription required). Here's my reply:

"But an honest tally of the record since 9/11 has to conclude that the number of jihadists and their sympathizers has probably multiplied many times since then. It has multiplied, moreover, partly as a result of the way America responded"

What troubles me about statements like this is 1. they do not take into consideration the unknowable effects had America not responded and 2. they do not offer any alternative strategy and 3. the fact that an enemy has more recruits once the fighting begins is not remarkable. In fact, the opposite (which may be true) is quite remarkable.

"Loathsome though he was, Saddam Hussein had no link to Al Qaeda or the 9/11 plot"

There is no proof that Saddam had anything to do with 9/11, but no matter how much evidence is turned up regarding links between Al Qaeda and Saddam it just seems to be ignored. There have been numerous confirmed links ranging from Iraqi intelligence to known Al Qaeda member living in Baghdad prior to the invasion. Besides, the war is against terror not Al Qaeda or OBL and Saddam was the most open supporter of terrorists in the world and openly praised the Al Qaeda hijackers.

"Mr. Bush and Tony Blair tried and failed to win a clear United Nations mandate for war...they made themselves vulnerable to the charge that the war was unlawful"

A UN mandate would have been helpful to impress the sort of people who are impressed by such things (like the Economist). Anybody who believes that America should rest her national security interests on the desires of France, Russia and China is not looking after America's best interest. The article also makes no mention of the UN Oil for Food scandal (the largest financial scandal in history) where Saddam had been bribing many key members of the U.N.

"Opinion polls show that millions of Muslims now think America's real aim in Iraq was to grab its oil, help Israel...or wage war on Islam"

Well, which is it? Or did we invade for all three? I believe the fact that the Muslim world (and much of Europe for that matter) believes in lies is more of an indictment on the world media's failure to accurately inform the populace than on U.S. policy failure. The U.S. can only do so much with a nearly monolithically hostile media.

"There were those (such as this newspaper) who supported the Iraq war solely because of the danger that a Saddam Hussein with a biological or atomic bomb would indeed have posed"

Are the editors of The Economist so short sighted as to believe that Saddam actually gave up his desires for biological and/or nuclear weapons? Prior to liberation, his program was destroyed ...twice. Stunning (btw: the NY Times just reported on found documents that Saddam was still pursuing nuclear weapons. The NY Times spin on this finding was to accuse Republicans of endangering national security by posting it on the internet).

"But portraying the whole enterprise as if it has from the start been all about an experiment in democracy just makes Muslims crosser"

Go back and read Bush's speeches prior to invading including the State of the Union. Democracy was constantly emphasized. Again a failure (or perhaps success) of the media to inform (or misinform).

"By what right do you invade someone else's country in order to impose a pattern of government"

Who do you suppose they are referring to when they say "someone else's country"?. Did the Economist actually believe Iraq was Saddam's country? It certainly wasn't the Iraqi people's. Another stunning statement. Besides there were 22 reasons on the congressional resolution supporting the use of force to remove Saddam.

"Yet Abu Ghraib, Guantannamo....America seems to have abandoned the moral high ground..."

Speechless. Saddam had rape rooms, mass graves, prisons for children, human shredders....We excavate the mass graves, freed, feed and educate the children, and prosecute rogue soldiers who humiliated.. not tortured.. humiliated captured enemy combatants. Any moral equivalence between America and Saddam are repugnant. We did not abandon the moral high ground - we are defending it. Really disgusting stuff, but part of the reason "millions of Muslims" believe in lies.

Here's the closing sentence:

"The world must still strive to destroy al Qaeda... But it had better do so with cleverer means than those Mr. Bush has used so far"

Well, that was helpful.