Now, on to politics! LOL
Also, you know something stinks when the reason for it keeps changing. First it was about 9/11. But there wasn’t even fraudulent evidence to back that up. Then it was about WMD’s, which did have some fraudulent evidence backing it up. And once that was all discovered for the codswallop that it was, Iraq was supposed to be about the War on Terror and spreading democracy in the Middle East... something that could have been accomplished just as well FROM AFGHANISTAN!
And, to earn me some conservative / hawk cred, my opposition was not based on legally or morality or international treaty or anything like that. As a freedom loving, pro-human-rights liberal, I am loath to be put in the position of DEFENDING a demonic scumbag like Saddam Hussein on principle. As far as his sovereign rights go? I personally wish the international community would do more to take down leaders like Saddam Hussein, Slobodan Milosevic, Ayatollah Khamenei, Kim Jong Il, Robert Mugabe, General Than Shwe, etc… Now: I know why they don’t! But at some point a government becomes so cruel, so antithetical to basic human rights that I believe they lose the right to this otherwise principled protection of their sovereignty.
So why did I oppose the war? Not for any of my liberal sensibilities but rather because, relative to the War of Terror, it made absolutely no sense from a tactical standpoint! Iraq was the most secular country in the entire region! It’s government had a history of taking a hard line against the very radical Islamic groups most associated with terrorism. And the biggest point: all of their WMD’s were GONE. (Although we were utterly stupid to force him to prove that since for years, their fear of him and those weapons kept IRAN in check!) As much as I hated the man, it would have made far more sense to prop him up, lift the sanctions, work out a treaty so that we can use his air space, and continue to use him to KEEP IRAN IN CHECK while we PROSECUTE THE WAR ON TERROR.
But there’s far more to demonstrate how absolutely incompetent Bush and his military planners were. Rather than do as I outlined above, they got themselves stuck in an expensive quagmire that quickly consumed almost all of the goodwill that Bush had,both from the international community and here at home. (And it’s a lot harder to fight terrorists when countries who you need to share their intelligence with you don’t like you very much!) And, at the end of the day, dismantling Al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan would have been enough. Replacing them with a secure, stable, secular, democratic government and wiping out every last remnant of Islamic Power, would have been a very effective deterrent for any other country that we would then need to deal with. If they knew we meant business, and we had the precedent of the Amanita that I’ve described and that George W. Bush no doubt envisioned, but failed to achieve, even the most hard-line country might be willing to negotiate and deal rather than face the extinction of their system of government and backwards way of life.
But “Bush” and “Hussein” may as well be "Cats" and "Dogs." So, after 9/11, Saddam Hussein’s fate was as certain as Bush’s ineptitude. (I always wondered how much Hussein hated Bin Laden for 9/11. He HAD to know the handwriting was on the wall!) But here’s the rub: Even though it was completely unnecessary and tactically unwise to open a second front in the war, if you’re hell-bent of invading someone else, I still fail to see how Iraq would rank as your first choice! If, back in 2003, you felt that we absolute MUST invade another country? Let me offer the same one that I did even back then:
Sounds odd, perhaps. But that’s only because the media hasn’t spent the last year trying to convince you it’s a good idea. Without the media’s ridiculous cheerleading for the War in Iraq, congressional Democrats might have had the spine to vote against it unanimously, and Bush might never have even been authorized to go there. Also, John Kerry would have won re-election last year. But no matter how you look at it, it just would have made so much more sense to invade SYRIA:
1) Tactical: Smaller Country, easier to invade. (Less Blood / Treasure.)
2) Justification: HAS Chemical Weapons/WMD’s and linke to terrorsim, where Iraq didn’t.
3) Potential Future Threat: Has at least a civilian nuclear power program, which is more that Iraq does.
4) Religion: Is far more cozy, in fact is RUN BY, Radical Islamists – the very people that we were fighting. Saddam took a hard line AGAINST those same people! Thus knocking out that gov’t would weaken the Radicals influence, whilst getting rid of Saddam, if anything, strengthened it.
5) Terrorism: Syria sponsors terrorism, including attacks on U.S. forces. Iraq did not. Thus groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah, who really on Syrian support, would be weakened, whereas Al Qaeda actually GREW, though admittedly only for a short time.
6) Iran: Syria is a strong ALLY of Iran – out biggest enemy in the region. So taking out their gov’t would WEAKEN Iran. Iraq, on the other hand, was Iran’s biggest ENEMY, and historically was used as a counterbalance to their power. Toppling Saddam instead strengthened our chief ENEMY, Iran.
7) Balance of Power: Having a puppet government in Syria would strengthen our ally, Israel and create another potentially very strong Ally in Lebanon. Having all these allies, stretching from Saudi Arabia to Turkey, would make it easier for us to negotiate with the Palestinians.
8) Finally: Iran would not be able to come to Syria’s aid, so the conflict would not be likely to broaden, if we had Saddam, continuing to bluff about WMD’s, keeping Iran in check. Other Islamic countries considering an alliance with Iran might think twice after seeing this.
Now, I hope it’s obvious to everyone that I’m not advocating an invasion of Syria! This whole exercise is merely meant to show how utterly stupid it was to invade Iraq. No matter how you look at it, there was nothing we could accomplish in Iraq that we couldn’t have done in Afghanistan and if you are hell-bent on invading an other country unnecessarily, Syria would have been a far better choice, even if they didn’t have a comic-book villain, like Saddam, to use as a poster boy to market the war.
I originally came up with that strategy just before the Iraq War started. Several Conservatives that I shared this with at the time were surprised and impressed that an admitted liberal and anti-Iraq War advocate would have come up with that. I countered that they should be even more dismayed that a simple, independent blogger and admitted liberal had conceived a far superior war strategy than those that they had trusted to RUN THE WAR.