It now seems all but inevitable that George Bush will cast aside world opinion and illegally violate the territorial sovereignty of another nation. Perhaps this will take place with the assistance of Great Britain or maybe it will be a unilateral action, but unlike the world-wide coalition built by his father during the Gulf War, there is almost world-wide condemnation of this Bush’s war plans.
And why should there not be? If the United States can unilaterally bomb and invade countries at the slightest pretense (as his father did in Panama), the nations of the globe rightly wonder what’s stopping them from being next on the chopping block.
The invasion of Afganistan had in its aims the destruction of the terrorist network which had attacked the United States, and the rubble of the World Trade Center towers reminded us of the necessity of action against Bid Laden’s group. There was more than a little unease in some quarters, but for my part I’ve always been much more concerned about the threat posed to civil liberties in America by Ashcraft’s Justice Department than by any issues emanating from Afganistan.
No comparable claims of any plausibility can be made about Iraq’s involvement in the 9/11 attacks. Saddam Hussein may be the Bush family’s quintessential “evil-doer,” but trying to link him to Bin Laden is like playing Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon. At best Saddam knows somebody who knows somebody who knows somebody who knows Bin Laden. That seems a dubious reason for an invasion.
The Bush administration will trot out other reasons, of course, like possible Iraqi nuclear weapons and so on, but let’s face it: By now Bush has virtually no credibility on any subject. Whether it’s the environment, education, civil liberties, the economy, corporate ethics, election reform, or almost anything else you’d care to name, Bush’s trustworthiness is near zero for many Americans and for most of the world. The Bush administration will offer some (or more likely several) justification(s) for attack Iraq in the not-too-distant future. The sensible citizenry is right to be skeptical of every word.
Even so, I see grey thunderclouds forming on the horizon, and it harkens back to one of the most painful times of my life. For it is an awful thing to be estranged from one’s government (not to mention one’s university) to the point that you’re willing to march in the streets. It is a pain I do not often willingly revisit because I loved my country then and, if possible, I love it even more today.
But in my mind’s eye I see our forces again engaging the once-bloodied but unbroken foe of a previous day, this time without any logical justification, moral reasoning, or thought to consequence as we let slip the dogs of war. Innocents (or, if you prefer, innocence) will die for a politician’s whim.
And I protest.