The situation in Iraq isn't exactly what I would consider a model for any and all future foreign policy manuevers by this or any future administration. Iraq has been a persistent problem for over a decade now, thanks to a despotic lunatic running a country as if it were his own international circle jerk. A buildup or, as we now know to be the case for the last few years under Hussein, an attempted buildup of weapons, conventional or otherwise, for seemingly no other purpose but to insure that no one would dare disturb his regime, that of building after building, and, amusingly, mosque after mosque, built in his name. Sanctions, those which had been roundly protested by many of the same individuals who now protest the war, were failing, and doing little more than starving the people, already under the fist of their own country and now being punished by much of the rest of the world. This is also implying that any aid, let's say, the Oil for Food program, was ever even aiding the Iraqis, as opposed to, say, padding several bank accounts, in several countries, of several individuals whose moral uprigtness isn't exactly earned.
So, for some twelve years, the international community putzed around with the mafia, hoping that one day, the old man would play ball. The hope of this kind of thinking is that when the old man dies, one of his sadistic sons will stop feeding women to tigers long enough to come to their senses and do what the old man never did. We're also to assume that if the sanctions were lifted, if the oil for food program worked, if diplomatic relations improved thanks to multilateral assistance in such matters, that Saddam would not have continued to do what he'd been doing for years, attempting to, if not successfully building up weapons programs of all types, that he wouldn't buy missiles off the shelf at the North Korean Walmart-o-weapons as records show he was trying to do just prior to the U.S. led invasion.
After all that, not to mention the human rights violations which are now apparently meant to be seen as next to nothing, since, well, other countries are worse, we are meant to believe that there was some kind of definitive choice in the case of Iraq. We are meant to believe that leaving Saddam in place was the idea and that his regime would not cause us much problems in the future if left alone. (In a side note, I'm always flummuxed by the politics of filmmaker David O. Russell, whose film Three Kings
seems to imply that although we never should have gone to Iraq for the first Gulf War, the least we could've done is stand up with the Iraqis against Saddam. But, then, well, I guess that wasn't really what he meant. He meant that instead, we should just have left it alone altogether, and maybe wagged our finger some more or flew over and bombed a few more buildings, and left the country to be saved by people without the means to save themselves.) None of this is meant to gloss over the obvious flaws in the Bush administration's plan for peace after the invasion or, for that matter, their methods of getting us there in the first place. But I am not of the mind that somehow this is only our predicament because George W. Bush became president. Iraq was a matter of great importance to this government, be it led by a president of the Republican or Democratic party, and sooner or later, this was going to come to a head. Could we have waited? I suppose so, but for how long? What would have come from another year of inspections? Suppose that Hans Blix and friends find nothing, as we have found nothing. Then what? Do we lift the sanctions? Open up relations, as we had done before with him or other despots like him, and, perhaps, play a few more Kissinger-like games of realpolitik? And then what? Are we to assume he plays by our rules, whatever those may be? I'm consistently confused by the assertion that, somehow, this was some created conflict, that Iraq was just some random country we picked off of a map for any number of reasons, ranging from those dastardly Jews like Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle or that this was all just a way for cowboy Bush to get it all back for his dad, who, if you'll notice, pretty much opposed this war, if not publicly, but via proxies like Weinberger and Kissinger and the old guard of which he's a part, and in the simple fact that this man's memoirs are consistenyly quoted as the prognostication for what is now something of a mess in Iraq. He knew what every anti-war protestor felt. This was doomed.
So, after all that, how do I respond to Josh's assertion
that I'll be drinking it up with Hitch and beating the war drums on the march to the Sudan. The Sudan isn't Iraq and, conversely, Iraq isn't the Sudan. I think our handling of the Sudan, thus far, has been lazy and fairly shameful and action on the matter must be taken. Am I calling for an invasion? No. But I am calling for action of some kind, which it would seem to me, is what so many were calling for in Iraq, if not, say, for an invasion. Or am I wrong? Is everyone who was against the war in Iraq calling for complete isolationism in regards to the country or any country for that matter or were they calling for different means of solving the problem? (Granted, the cheers that Nazi loving fuckwits like Pat Buchanan get from "liberal" audiences makes me worry.) There are ways to cope with the problems in Sudan, ways to fix the situation, with international agreement, but I suppose any call for this might be considered "beating the drums of war" by my friend at Fagistan.
Is this like the simplistic chant of "Fight AIDS not Iraq" that was heard this week in New York? I am for this administration or any other calling on all its allies to assist them in helping to solve the problems plaguing the Sudan. Aid, peacekeeping forces, etc. Every fight is not the same. The Sudan is not Iraq and neither of them are Iran and none of the above are North Korea. Y'know, the frequent charge against George W. is that everything is black and white and that the world is viewed too simplistically. And you know what? That's not too far off. But the way to defeat him in November is not to start acting like him. The way to defeat him is to think of better ideas on how to solve the multitude of problems that plague our world. How can the chaos and genocide and horrors in the Sudan be stopped? The answer to that question isn't another quip from the peanut gallery. The answer to that question is finding a way to do what the president you hate so much couldn't. The Sudan can be an opportunity to bring allies back together, for a cause just as noble as the one I think many deemed unnecessary. But differences of opinions aside, something must be done and this is a chance to do it.
Or, if you're "possibly racist" like me, you just say bomb em all. Who gives a fuck about brown people anyway.