On Invading Iraq, and the Terrorist Threat
by Fred E. Foldvary, Senior Editor
As of September 8, 2002, when this editorial column is being written, the news media has been reporting that communications among al Qaida terrorists indicate they may be planning another major attack to coincide with the September 11 anniversary of the attack of a year ago.
While the terrorists may have political motivations, in their lust for power and perverted sense of good and evil, they do not understand America. The terrorists can damage buildings, communications, computer systems, and murder many human beings, but they cannot destroy America. The soul of America is its creed of liberty, as enshrined in our Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights. America is most of all an idea. The spirit of America can only be destroyed from within, by foolish Americans who are throwing away their libertarian heritage, not from a bunch of terrorists seeking mad glory.
The chiefs of the U.S. government have been proclaiming another threat, Iraq. They point to its past actions, using poison gas, invading Kuwait and then madly destroying the oil-producing facilities as they left Kuwait. They say it is better to attack before aggressive Iraq is fully equipped with nuclear weapons.
But when China was developing nuclear weapons, the US did not pre-empt it with an attack. Many other countries are bonkers and have behaved badly. There is no talk of invading evil North Korea or Iran. The threat of retaliation should suffice to contain any danger posed by Iraq.
However, the chiefs of the U.S. government may be playing a clever strategy in threatening to invade Iraq. If there is another major terrorist attack on the U.S., especially if it involves biological, chemical, or nuclear substances, we will not know who attacked. Iraq will be the most likely source of these materials.
Shocked by this second attack, there would be overwhelming support from Congress and U.S. allies for a response. The opposition to an invasion and conquest of Iraq would vanish. The regime of Iraq would be finished. Iraq would be occupied as an American protectorate.
The government of Iraq knows this, and they too are clever. To stay in power, the Iraqi government needs to use its power and influence to prevent any massive attack on the US. The Arab states also don't want to see an American protectorate in Iraq. They too, if they are smart, are persuading the terrorists to avoid provoking the arrogant men of Washington DC. Al Qaida might try a small attack on some American embassy or military base outside the U.S., just to show it still has a punch, but not anything that will provoke and anger the American eagle.
So while it would be bad to attack Iraq if there is no further major terrorist attack on the US, it is good to threaten Iraq. It is clever to seek support from allies, to make the threat credible. Make Iraq think we will be so foolish as to attack. While al Qaida is too fuzzy and spread out to be attacked, Iraq presents a sitting target. It is not an easy target, but it at least has a location and some stuff the US military can bomb.
Peace lovers worldwide are protesting the threat of war with Iraq. This is good. Keep protesting, because the US should not attack Iraq unless provoked. We are fortunate that the peace movement is naive and does not think strategically, because we need to make the Iraqis think that all that restrains an attack is this opposition to it.
The president and his cheerleaders should go head on with the saber rattling. This rat-tat-tat-tat may just prevent another tragedy like September 11.
-- Fred Foldvary
Copyright 2002 by Fred E. Foldvary. All rights reserved. No part of this material may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, which includes but is not limited to facsimile transmission, photocopying, recording, rekeying, or using any information storage or retrieval system, without giving full credit to Fred Foldvary and The Progress Report.
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