O.K. This counts as "work" because we've been asked to write an editorial on this subject, which has become quite timely with President Bush about to address the Nation this evening.
My basic thoughts on this:
First - PLEASE remember these four things:
1) In 1981 the Israelis bombed a French-made nuclear reactor in Iraq three days before it was set to go on-line (set to begin taking in fuel rods). At the time, Israel had on order and had fully paid the U.S. for 73 F-16s and F-15s. The U.S. took U.N. action. We supported the U.N. in condemning Israel, which never received the planes, nor to this day has Israel received an apology from either the U.S. for supporting the U.N. condemnation or from the U.N. itself. If but for Israel, we would now be facing a "nuclear" Iraq with 10 years of experience with U-238 (enriched uranium) or plutonium.
2) The U.S. currently imports from the Middle East "only" about 1.6 million barrels of oil per day (out of the approx. 9 million barrels a day we use). (About 20% of our oil needs). It is Japan, Europe and the global economy that are dependent upon Middle Eastern oil, and it is primarily that that we are protecting by maintaining relationships with the Middle Eastern oil producing countries.
3) With the recent Congressional act, this President Bush has effectively repealed the War Powers Act, ratified after the end of the Vietnam War to avoid specifically the type of power that has just been placed into SOLELY the President's hands
. According to the Constitution of the United States, War must pass both the Senate and the Congress. This has now been effectively obviated - without changing the Constitution.
This scares me.
I understand that we as a Nation must make difficult choices between our personal rights as guaranteed by the Constitution and our need to fight terrorism. But I do not like our rights being violated without our say in it
[I live in NJ and work in NYC. They still run random searches - pull over your car and search it. Is this really necessary? It is just that. RANDOM. I am guaranteed my privacy and that I will not be searched unless there is JUST CAUSE according to our constitution].
This also scares me.
4) President Bush is neither a businessman nor from the military, and yet he is facing BOTH the most difficult economic environment our nation has faced since the depression AND the one of the worst military threats our Nation has ever faced: the faceless enemy that doesn't want anything except the eradication of the "Western way of life." (Sidebar: This is potentially worse than the depression despite what the government is trying to tell us. It sure is worse now for the stock markets than it was then. Bear in mind our Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill kept telling us we didn't have a recession for a year, and until about a month ago was still projecting 3 1/2% GDP growth this year. Then this summer ALL the GDP numbers for last year were revised downwards, definitively confirming that, in fact, we were in a recession. Gary & I do not believe we are out of the woods at all yet.) [...and for Gosh sakes, I'm all for Labor, but force the dock workers at Long Beach back to work while you negotiate! The numbers bandied about in the media are that it is costing our economy $1 bn/day. This week it was revised to $2 billion/day. We estimate that SEASONALLY adjusted (HOLIDAYS!) it is closer to $4 billion/day].
So O.K. The war. The war we waged against Iraq in 1990/1991 was quick and successful because our sole intent was to get Iraq to withdraw from Kuwait. That war was good for the economy and the stock markets. But we went into no Iraqi towns or cities. This war would be VERY different. We don't even have good intelligence about where facilities are. This will be a very difficult war. Hussein may be a Dictator, but the Iraqi people hate us. This could be worse than Vietnam. An extended war in the streets of Iraq with a hostile population will exacerbate an already ailing economic situation for the U.S. and global markets and economies.
I ask the same question Andy Rooney asked on 60 Minutes last night: Are we going to "smoke out" Saddam Hussein like we've smoked out Osama bin Laden? To date we have captured or confirmed killed NO senior members of al Qaida.
I totally agree with flimflam. What is the U.N. there for? Of course Iraq is a threat. But President Bush is not acting like a President. He's acting like this is Rome and we rule the known world. That's exactly one of the attitudes of "the West" that the terrorists have a problem with, and he's feeding right into it. President Bush is acting like a child, who when told to "play nice" replies - "But the other children don't know how to play." Are we not a member of the World community?
About our rights. Yes. We as a society are making tough decisions regarding freedom every day, but as Walter Cronkite so eloquently put it "this time we are being asked to make decisions without being given the information we need to make informed decisions." He was speaking to the fact that U.S. citizens are being asked to swallow new policies based upon a whole lot of "trust me, we have information" as the sole input for policy changes. For Gosh sakes, we've gotten more information from Israeli Intelligence on 60 Minutes than we have from our own government. How many of us have had the opportunity to see what is really going on in Afghanistan, not to mention the 5,000 or so other Special Forces groups in the Philippines, Indonesia, and Yemen? These are soldiers that represent U.S. citizens, yet we are unable to find out what they are doing in our names through the media. That is an unacceptable situation. How do we know what to ask our Congressmen to vote for when WE ARE NOT BEING GIVEN ANY INFORMATION with which to make a decision? The government "learned well" from Vietnam (they're convinced the media lost us the war). (How many of you even knew we had Special Forces troops in the Philippines, Indonesia and Yemen?)
I would chasise the "media moguls" for letting this happen. But this is the 00s. They are profit driven. News shows, which used to be "loss leaders" in television, are now expected to turn a profit. Well, it is our loss as watching citizens.
Finally, I have a problem with our moral stance here. There has never been a more critical time in our Nation's history than now. We have become the preeminent power on the earth. With the demise of the Soviet Union and with The People's Republic of China unable to effectively project its military power more than a few miles off shore, it is the United States that stands alone as the world's Uberpower
(Gary's word). The question then becomes to what end will we use this awesome might and responsibility? President Bush talks a great talk about moral responsibility. I suppose we can rationalize, but we should not try to excuse, our very real part in the ongoing tragedy in Iraq (with over 500,000, yes, more than half a million dead children in the past 10 years). One could argue that Saddam Hussein is responsible for the deaths of these children, but how have we as a Nation and a Global Community allowed this to go on for so long?
Yola - it IS unfinished business from 1990, and it should have been taken care of then.
Now it is too late, and a war waged by the U.S. alone is not a long term solution. What do we achieve by killing Hussein? The population of Iraq hates us. And the funding for al Qaida has come principally from Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Iran. ????
And let's review the U.S. record of putting new "Presidents" in power (or supporting against the population's wishes). Let's see....Samoza, Pinochet, the Diem brothers and those who came after (too many to list), Baptista, his Majesty the Shah of Iran, Marcos, Lon Nol, Noriega, and many African Nations that had dismal Dictators I don't even know about off-hand. etc...
Oh that's right. The U.S. has a great record of finding the right people to rule nations.