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October 18, 2003

Oh, that's why!

By way of my cousin (who is a Lieutenant Commander in the US Navy at the Pentagon) came a copy of the Stratfor newsletter with a discussion of the recent strategy changes for the ongoing war in Iraq. What I found most surprising is not that we needed a change but their understood justification for the war in Iraq:
“To consider this, we need to recall the two strategic reasons the United States had for invading Iraq -- as opposed to the public justifications :(italics mine)
1. Seizing the most strategic country in the region as a base of operations from which to mount follow-on operations against countries that collaborate or permit collaboration with al Qaeda.
2. Transforming the psychological perception of the United States in the Islamic world from a hated and impotent power to a hated but feared power”
OK, the first one, while I am not completely comfortable with the means, I agree with this end. Terrorism needs to be fought both at home and abroad but one would have hoped that with all of the resources at our disposal that there could have been a better and less public way to accomplish this objective. I realize that Reagan’s executive order 12333 prohibited us from just arranging the assassination of Saddam Hussein (not that it kept W from trying, I’ll bet) while he was the “elected” leader of Iraq and it’s probably not the best foreign policy choice to go around whacking people, but I prefer it to invading a sovereign nation and miring ourselves in the thankless job of nation-building. And now, of course, it is too late. We are obligated to finish what this government has started. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee, even if they manage to establish Iraq as a stable base of operations, that the goal of launching successful operations into other countries in the region will bring an end to al Qaeda or its proxies around the world.
The second one I believe is flat short-sighted and assumes that there is no diplomatic path to building relations with Islamic countries. Granted we have not had too much success in this arena since the British first started carving the place up with the other European powers, but am I the only one that thinks fear is what inspired the hatred in the first place? Fear of losing their territory, their history and religion. I don’t pretend to be an expert on Middle East affairs (or anything for that fact) but I still believe that building long-term, mutually beneficial relationships is the best course to providing stability and prosperity. That doesn’t mean we’re wimps, it just means that we are looking to secure a better future for our world. Reviving the “US as world bully role” is not the way to secure that better tomorrow. It is the way to ensure that for every terrorist that dies or is captured there will be 10 to take his/her place.

Posted by terry at October 18, 2003 07:02 PM | TrackBack
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