Wednesday, September 08, 2004

On the Prescient Nature of The Glob

From The Archives
Iraq Attaq
March/April, 2003
By Mark Connolly
Editor, Dallas Bureau

The following article was written before we had actually begun the War in Iraq. Many misgivings were had regarding this war; only The Glob had the journalistic courage to raise the issues at the time. Lo, we were a voice crying in the wilderness, yet, the concerns are eerily laid out.

As an editor's note, the primary concern at the time of this article was with the endgame, the lack of which even now plagues our nation. We believed there were WMD, along with most. But, how this was to be carried out was a concern. This article from the past is offered as a cautionary notice: Heed The Glob in important matters. We have thus far failed in our goal to be bought out by The Media Conglomerate and transformed into millionaires, and so our paper (for now) still serves the common man. Take advantage of it while you can.
Continued from Page 1: Iraq Attaq
Is anyone else concerned, a little confused, perhaps dismayed by the apparent inevitable march toward war? I sit with an open mouth as I watch the news commentary, listen to co-workers, hear on the radio, the gradual inexorble shift from IF to WHEN we attack.

My concern is the lack of a defined measurable objective that is achievable, and final. The objective of "getting Hussein", really just a step in the process, does not define the endpoint. The primary question after the getting is "what then?"

Not that Hussein may not need "getting". In fact, Uncle Buck, an almost mythical figure known only to a select few, can give cogent reasons as to why. I has asked him, "so, what do you think about this apparent inevitable march toward war?" I didn't ask about his thoughts regarding the lack of a stated "official" endpoint. With that caveat, I offer his lucent comments on going to war:

Your inflammatory rehtoric has got me thinking...

War is not inevitable. It is not "forced upon us." It is something we choose (or not) as a sovereign nation that has a DUTY TO ITS CITIZENS to defend the national interest.

War is expensive. War is an ugly hell. If we go to war, people will die, the innocent along with the guilty. In my mind there are two main reasons for war:

1. Preserve our way of life as Americans.
2. Prevent greater bloodshed if nothing is done.

Preservation of the American way of life means more than keeping the cost of gas under $2.00 a galon or saving the airline industry. Is Saddam capable of fostering or encouraging an attack on the US in a way that endangers the Republic? How much "police state" can exist, how much individual liberty can we surrender, and still legitimately say we live as free Americans?

How much "proof" do we need to act against a perceived threat? I ask you: how many lives would have been spared in World War II if we had attached the Japanese fleet in 1940?

The individuals who actually start wars rarely do the dying; asking other people to go in harm's way is an awesome responsibility. Is it possible that President Bush has access to information that he can't share with Dan Rather? I think he has. Sometimes none of us can know the "right" decision until after it is made. This is when we pray to God for an ethical leader with some integrity and inner strength, not for an opinion poll watcher.

History will be our judge in this "war on terror."

That said: history teaches me that TALK not seen as serious and CERTAIN TO BE FOLLOWED BY ACTION is not only a waste of time, it damages our national security by revealing a weak political character. We would be wise to follow TR's advice to "speak softly and carry a big stick." If it becomes necesary to use that stick we better swing it with both hands, for everyone's sake.

While I share Uncle Buck's sentiments regarding reasons and methods for waging war, and the need to protect our way of life, the missing part of the equation is the definition of success.

We don't seem to have a plan beyond "Get Hussein." War without a defined endpoint becomes a drawn out horrendous bog.

Here's what is bothering me. I can see going after and destroying his capabilities to use chemical and biological weapons. I can see stopping his efforts to gain nuclear capability. But, do we really want Imperial America?

That may be an inevitable consequence of starting down this path. We will have to set up a provisional government, and then prop up whatever leader takes the place of Hussein. Doing such is not a long term solution. In fact the longer we are there, the more destabilizing I believe that will be to the rest of the region.

What are the long term plans, and their repercussions? How far down the road are we thinking? I've heard nothing about how ending this is defined. In fact, I recently read that "planners" had come late to the problem of "after the war"!

And another thing. Just how exactly does this address Osama Bin Laden? It seems we have forgotten about him. Is he in Iraq? Maybe he is. Or was. What country do we take over next?

Desert Storm was crystal clear. Get Saddam out of Kuwait. We had a defined endpoint. The killing stops when Iraq leaves Kuwait, and when Saddam meets certain clear demands.

I understand he has since reneged on the treaty. And I understand something needs to be done. But, how is success defined? When does the killing stop?

See Iraq on page 7


Kat said...

From my perspective, I personally did not understand the condition that Iraq was in. I mean the infrastructure, the complete and utter degradation of it's civil institutions.

I really thought, and obviously I hadn't researched the topic back then, that, if we did a constrained war and largely preserved their existing infrastructure, that we would be able to move through the process of setting up a government and providing services for the people and stabilizing the country.

Along with that, while I had thought that we would see some guerilla activity, I really believed that this would be limited and we would have more working room to accomplish the necessary projects to get the country up and running.

Of course, I will also tell you that I did not look at the really big strategic picture of the middle east and where are troops were stationed before. I am no longer shocked by our current situation or that we are not leaving there any time soon. Iraq has a lot more strategic purposes than offing the madman regime of Saddam.

Iraq is a staging area. These folks are saying "imperial America" by our desire to go there and stay there. I think this is more about "strategy" every day. Positioning our troops and supplies in an area surrounded by friendly countries in the ME (tajikistan, uzbekistan, Turkey, etc). Iraq is the in road to the area. Saudi Arabia can no longer hold that distinction because they asked us to pull our troops and they are in a very tenuous place with more than half of their government controlled by pro-wahhabi groups.

I believe that Saudi Arabia has been in a low level civil war for many years. At least this last decade. Much of it was in shifting power struggles within the government with each side controlling some portion of the armed services. I believe that it makes it very probably that, at some point, the extreme side of their government is going to demand more recognition for it's roll in government just as surely as the less extreme (note "less extreme" not "non-extreme") portion of the government continues to try and modernize some portions of their society and government.

What will be the catalyst for a more defined struggle within SA will be the eventual demise of their current "king". He has been incompacitated for years and is getting older. He did not select his successor before he became incompacitated. That means the succession is in question and, when you have to powerful factions within the government, it is a given that there will be a serious issue when the time comes.

Also, it's very obvious that the positioning of Iraq as a friendly country between Iran and Syria gives us additional staging points to intercept or take other preventative or reactionary actions against Iran, Syria or Saudi Arabia.

In a sense, I suppose someone could look at this as imperialistic as it puts the US squarely in the middle of the ME and able to control certain situations. And it would be blind of some to ignore that these countries are the major exporters of oil. Oil, that,if interrupted by fighting in those countries, would put the world (note: "world" not just the "US") in a serious predicament.

But again, there is a simple look at this situation. These countries are also the supporters and exporters of terrorists who have their own agenda for gaining power in the region. That power is contigent on, regardless of our actual presence there, attacking the US and it's interests around the world to insure that we are weakened and unable to interfere in their plans.

This struggle is not "david and goliath" (with the US as goliath), but more along the lines of fighting the spread of fascism or communism in Europe.

maybe some would say we are acting as the "world policeman". but, these factions already attacked us and we should not take this threat lightly.

So, we have an issue with how the war is going. This article is concerned about our "exit" strategy. The Democrats have been hammering on this for sometime. The President continually says that we will not leave until the "job is done" without giving us a plan for troop withdrawal. I think that the reason for not giving such a plan is because this thing is bigger than taking out Saddam's regime as a potential threat. This is also about the other potential threats from the area and stagind our troops in the area to handle them.

Just my two cents on the subject.

So, Iraq, for all it's conditions and faults, seems to have more strategic value than just simply dep

Frater Bovious said...

Kat, thanks for the comment. I've been thinking about reasons why we should have done what we did in Iraq, regardless of the stated reasons. It is a multi-faceted argument, but you have caused several ideas to coalesce in my mind. The strategic fact of where Iraq is cannot be ignored.

It all really depends on if you think Islamifascism is a long term dangerous problem, or not. To me that question was answered in 9-11. I've heard people describe 9/11 as a "security lapse" and minimize what happened. I don't know how to minimize it. The world is changed, and not for the better. The fact of the world trade centers collapsing is a source of pride and celebration among a significant part of the world.

That is very scary. And it is not going away. fb