Bob's Links and Rants

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Saturday, May 14, 2005

Destined to repeat it

The current US wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were ostensibly intended to get rid of al Qaeda, the Taliban, and the Baathist regime of Saddam Hussein. There was certainly some merit to these goals, if those had indeed been the real goals. Al Qaeda had apparently attacked the US several times. The Taliban was a brutal and repressive regime. Saddam was a brutal dictator who did some very nasty things in fighting a war with Iran and in repressing opposition within Iraq. I don't think these things alone justified these brutal wars, but I can understand to some degree why some people do.

Then, you consider that al Qaeda, the Taliban, and Saddam Hussein all developed with assistance from the US government. (Probably the Taliban the least of the three, but there is evidence that US oil interests, aka the US government, decided that the Taliban was the best chance they had for the stability in Afghanistan they needed to build pipelines across it.) The more thoughtful of the war supporters (those that have one or two thoughts a week), may concede this point, but will insist that just because we made "mistakes" in the past doesn't mean we shouldn't stop these tyrants. Well, maybe. If you mistakenly set your house on fire, you should probably try to put the fire out.

But then you note that while we are supposedly putting out the fire in the living room, we're starting new ones in the bedrooms. As part of the so-called "war on terror," the Bush administration has cozied up to some awful regimes, like Uribe's in Colombia and Musharref's in Pakistan (as well as continuing support for the Saudis, Egyptians and Israelis). But perhaps the most blatant case is our new friendship with the Stalinist torturer Karimov in Uzbekistan. Billmon has a rundown of that sorry page of history.

Boiled people alive! Let me shake your hand!

So don't tell me that you're intending to rid the world of brutal dictators and regimes while you continue to support them. The US has supported tyrants for decades, and continues to do so. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were planned long before 9/11, and had nothing to do with terrorism or weapons of mass destruction, or freedom for that matter.

The sanest response to 9/11 would have been to do NOTHING, an option that was rejected out of hand by our jingoist media and politicians. Instead, Bush and his idiot cabal let the terrorists win, giving them the clash of civilizations they desired, adding hundreds of thousands of deaths to the 3000 or so killed on 9/11. In the process, they have guaranteed many future 9/11's and strife throughout the world for decades to come.

(I've said this before: I realize that doing nothing would likely have cost Bush any chance at re-selection. That was a risk I was certainly willing to take!)