Democrats & Liberals Archives

Why Dean still has a shot

As anyone with a media source within 10 feet of him this weekend discovered, the nefarious Saddam Hussein, that brutal dictator who murdered hundreds of thousands to stamp down an insurgence against him, was captured. And, oh, what a field day the media is having! The sight of a humbled, seemingly distracted, unkempt, glassy-eyed Hussein, opening his mouth obediently while the cameras gazed upon his downfall is now as familiar as the scene of a plane crashing into Tower One was made a little over 2 years ago. And what beautiful timing-such a coup!- for Diane Sawyer to nab the ‘first interview with the President since the capture’ of Saddam Hussein.

While this love-fest parades on, and giving a nod to the fact that, yes, one less of this man’s ilk in power is certainly not a deplorable situation, it seems important to remind others of certain facts that may be glossed over in the next few days.

Little details like this was a war begun in breach of international law. That the ostensible reason for said incursion was the knowledge of Weapons of Mass Destruction and the likelihood of such being aimed at our pretty little heads any day now, and the need to find these and destroy them. These WMDs, of course, were how 'terrorism', 'Iraq', and 'America' all were tied.
Somehow, our foray and subsequent occupation hasn't brought us any closer to that goal.

At what point does the end justify the means? Once the lack of WMDs (and, until this weekend, the harbinger of despotism) became apparent, the weight of reasoning became the mass graves unearthed (graves dug in 1991, it seems prudent to point out)- that we were going to save the Iraqi people and bring the light of democratic capitalism to them.

Up to this point, the U.S. has granted no-bid contracts and entered into a serious play to privatize Iraqi interests- oh, and by allowing these to be wholly owned by foreign firms and and with no blocks in moving profits out of Iraq by said firms. So, what's our message here, leading by example? When you pick this up we'll let you dabble at this yourselves?
There seems to be a tendency to shrug off this seemingly telling geo-political agenda (for this goes a bit further than mere capitalism) by hiding behind a mantra of "The U.S. has not given this much foreign aid since the Marshall Plan".
That would be charming if not for the fact that many countries did not start any real growth rates until Marshall monies ran out- those that saw rapid recovery from the get-go saw this more to the lifting of trade restrictions. If we just throw money at this country, all involved are bound for severe disappointment.

And then there's the matter of our soldiers, who are now fighting a guerilla war (one U.S. soldier killed, 5 wounded, and two Iraqi police stations attacked, bombs, resulting in 25 dead, 33 wounded- all since Saddam's capture). The attacks against them are growing more sophisticated, coordinated. This while Saddam was hiding in a rat-hole.

I will say this- now that we are this far into it, we have to play it out. Leaving Iraq now would probably catapult it to a similar state as Afghanistan (hey, but the hash is cheap and plentiful these days!)- and leave it vulnerable to a Sunni takeover. Seems there are 2 real tasks now- one, to tamp down the insurgents and make the country stable, and two, to help (would fervently hope with the aid of other countries so America would not be the only one footing the bill) with reconstruction.

But perhaps doing more to involve the Iraqi people and business- as it will be their democracy to steward once it's all said and done.

Posted by tamsen at December 15, 2003 11:19 PM