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Trying To Help "TRYING TO HELP"

TRYING TO HELP - ARTICLE IN WICHITA FALLS PAPER BY DENNIS MILLER

This little gem's been going around the Internet, and of course made it my way. It's not by Dennis Miller, of course. It was a "letter to the editor", not and article or editorial, but it did appear in a Wichita Falls paper. It's credited to "W. Wayne Schields".

Anyway, several of the little "THINGS TO CONSIDER" are, well, questionable, and I'd like to question them here. For example:

1) OUT OF PRESIDENT BUSH AND SADDAM HUSSEIN ... HUSSEIN IS THE BAD GUY.

Unlike the movies, it's physically possible in the real world to have more than one "bad guy". But that's beside the point; one can dislike Saddam Hussein intensely and still disagree intensely with President Bush, and not think that Bush is necessarily a "bad guy".

For the record, Saddam and his cronies are murderous thugs, and the sooner they shuffle off this mortal coil, the better. But there are a lot of other, equally murderous thugs out there, and I don't hear a lot of clamor to go after them.

What about the thugs in Serbia and Kosovo, that the American public actively didn't want to spend lives for? What about the dozen or more corrupt, violent regimes in Africa that have pitilessly massacred hundreds of thousands?

If we're really going after "BAD GUYS", don't they count? Oh, but wait, there's the 9/11 "connection":

7) EVEN IF YOU ARE ANTI-WAR, YOU ARE STILL AN "INFIDEL!" AND BIN LADEN WANTS YOU DEAD, TOO

And I'd rather not give him the recruiting boon that this war has been unless it's absolutely necessary. So far, I've seen nothing to indicate that it's necessary. Nor, it's worth noting, any credible evidence of a link between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda... they haven't even tried to forge evidence of that.

Saddam offers bounties to the families of suicide-bombers in Israel. But that's not al-Qaeda. Even bin Laden couldn't condemn the U.S. invasion of Iraq without digging at Saddam, calling him and his regime 'infidels'. They don't like each other. Indeed, the only thing Saddam fears more than a religious uprising is a military coup.

8) IF YOU BELIEVE IN A "VAST RIGHT-WING CONSPIRACY" BUT NOT IN THE DANGER THAT HUSSEIN POSES, QUIT HANGING OUT WITH THE DELL COMPUTER DUDE

But bin Laden is mobile; he moves from place to place, and his entire ogranization is based on hiding until he strikes. In contrast, Hussein is in charge of a fixed piece of land. He's got it good where he is. What were his options before this war?

  1. Attack one of his neighbors. At which point, we have Gulf War II with a real coalition, and all his neighbors paying the US to stomp him flat. (We're footing the bill this time, people. To the tune of $100 billion or so. Pakistan asked us for help "de- Islamicizing" their educational system, something that might actually reduce our chances of being hit by terrorists. How much did we pony up? $0.00...)
  2. Attack Israel openly, either conventionally or with Weapons Of Mass Destruction. Bagdhad is nuked.
  3. Attack the US openly either conventionally or with WOMAD. Bagdhad is nuked, or just stomped flat by our military, depending on how hard we were hit.
  4. Covertly fund terrorism against the US. If it's ever tracked back to him, he would be in exactly the same boat he's in now, or if it were a really big attack, he's nuked again. (Yes, he already funds terrorism against Israel, but we always apply diplomatic pressure to keep them from retaliating, so they don't inflame all the other Arab countries around them.)
  5. Do nothing. He continues to rule his roost, running the country and controlling who lives and who dies. He could thumb his nose at the US and arrange for bribes in the "food for oil program" and have plenty o'cash.

Hussein is a ruthless, sick, evil SOB but, unfortunately, he's not stupid. He has nothing to gain and everything to lose by attacking us. Everyone knows our military can kick six kinds of crap out of the Iraqi military. He can make it cost more than it should, but he can't win.

And Saddam knows that too. That's why I'm not particularly afraid of him and his military. But we're suffering casualties from this war. I hope no more, but we're putting very brave men and women in harm's way. We'll win, but I just hope the cost isn't too high.

(BTW... note that, if he chooses the last option of "do nothing", he still poses a threat to us. Each time he does some posturing or otherwise makes news, the price of oil will go up a little bit. But everyone knows it's not about the oil, right? Right?)

9) WE ARE NOT TRYING TO LIBERATE THEM.

No kidding. Take a look at this or this or this.

10) WHETHER YOU ARE FOR MILITARY ACTION OR AGAINST IT, OUR YOUNG MEN AND WOMEN OVERSEAS ARE FIGHTING FOR US TO DEFEND OUR RIGHT TO SPEAK OUT. WE ALL NEED TO SUPPORT THEM WITHOUT RESERVATION.

Tell that to Congress:

By a vote along party lines, the majority members of the House Budget Committee passed and reported for a vote by the House a budget resolution that would cut $844 million from veterans' medical care next year and $9.7 billion over the next 10 years. In addition, the budget resolution would cut $15 billion from the disability compensation and other benefit programs over the next 10 years. (March 21st, 2003)

Personally, I'd rather support our troops by only sending them out when it was really necessary. Nobody that I've encountered has made a case that it's necessary in Iraq's case.

Now That We're At War...

...I agree we're committed. We have to get Saddam and take him out. Backing out of that now would be a nightmare. But even so, I assert that we are now committed to more than that... much more.

We need to rebuild Iraq; we need to re-do what we did with Germany and Japan. We need to make Iraq a shining example of a democratic, free Islamic state... that might actually differ with us, and compete with us.

If we put in a puppet government, all the Islamic conspiracy theorists are going to have the proof they want that we're trying to set up an empire, and you watch how much terrorism there is. If we do a half-ass job, and leave the place in shambles, we're just as bad off. We've got to rebuild the whole damn country.

That's not going to be easy. The Sunni minority has been brutally repressing the Shi'ite majority, and both of them have been beating up on the Kurds. Neighboring Turkey is so scared that the Kurds are going to create an independent state (they've got their own problems with separatist Kurds (because the British fiat that created these 'countries' paid scant attention to existing tribal borders (almost as if they wanted them to be weak and preoccupied with internal struggles (gee, y'think?)))) that they are willing to send in troops to prevent it... which the Kurds will vigorously oppose.

It's going to be expensive as all hell. It's going to take a long time. No matter how we do it, there will be people complaining. But the alternatives (doing it half-ass, or creating a sham, puppet state) are worse long-term. That's what we've committed ourselves to. I'm not confident that we'll fulfill that. Frankly, I doubt that George Bush has the balls to ask Congress or the American people to pony up that kind of cash, or the wit to see that it's needed.