The Real Reason for the Iraq War
by Fred E. Foldvary, Senior Editor
Thousands of people are demonstrating world-wide against the war in Iraq. They cry out, "No War!" They block traffic. They march back and forth across the street. They hold up anti-Israel signs showing swastikas. They smash car windows. They shake their fists.
Their opposition to the war seems to be that they think the U.S. chiefs are imperialist bullies, or they just seek to control and profit from oil, or that the U.S. chiefs have just gone berserk. I don't know where people go to get brainwashed, but wherever it was, the propaganda has been brilliantly effective. There is almost no intellectual content to the war opposition.
The true reasons why the U.S. chiefs have chosen war are strategic. The U.S. was viciously attacked on September 11, 2001. The attackers claim this was in response to American acts against Muslims, mainly the blockage of trade with Iraq, which has resulted in many deaths and sickness, and the U.S. military base on the holy Islamic ground of Saudi Arabia.
The U.S. could simply abandon that military base and end the trade restrictions. But that would be bad strategy. First, it would be seen as giving in to terror. Second, this would strengthen the military capability of Iraq, which is an aggressive threat to the region. Also, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, another grievance of the anti-US terrorists, is impossible to solve while the current regime of Iraq is in place. The Iraqi regime pays Palestinian terrorists to murder Israelis.
Iraq thus presents an intolerable situation. There are great benefits from ending the Iraqi regime, not the least being the ending of the torture that some Iraqis suffer from. The U.S. chiefs have decided that these benefits are greater than the cost of the war. I believe that the costs of this war are greater than the benefits. There are more direct ways to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the U.N. inspectors could have kept Iraq from continuing their weapons program.
These alternative solutions confront the reasons for the war. This analysis also explains why the U.S. has chosen to wage war against Iraq but not North Korea. Clearly, much of the talk coming from the U.S. chiefs in Washington DC is propaganda unrelated to the true reasons. That Iraq has or may have weapons is not the real reason, since North Korea and Iran also have these. That Iraq has defied the U.N. is not the real reason, since many countries defy the U.N. That the Iraqi regime treats the people horribly is not a real reason.
But the U.S. chiefs are in a bind. They dare not articulate the true reasons. They cannot admit that an aim is to get out of the base in Arabia and end the trade blockage that fuels the resentment of Muslims and promotes terror. They cannot be seen to be meeting the political goals of the terrorists. That is why they talk about weapons of mass destruction instead.
So this war on Iraq is really part of a defensive war against Al Qaida, seeking to eliminate the grievances that allegedly fuels the hatred of America. While Muslims and Arabs may get aroused in the short run against America for what seems to be an attack on Arabs and Muslims, once America establishes a democracy in Iraq, so think the US chiefs, then the Muslims will see that this action was meant to help the Iraqis, not hurt them.
There are good reasons to oppose this war, but the protestors are not grasping them. They seem to have been manipulated to think that the U.S. chiefs are just evil aggressors seeking loot and power. Decades of Soviet and extremist propaganda seem to be paying off. People are easily swayed by superficial ideas that sound good. Truth is often complex, strategic, and requires a penetration beneath the surface. And most folks just don't want to think.
"Think for yourself" said Henry George. Don't believe anything anyone says until you have analyzed it for logic and evidence. That includes what I have said here. If the protestors really seek peace, they need to confront the strategic reasons for the war, because otherwise their tactics, rituals, marches and slogans will be as empty of effects as they are of thought.
-- Fred Foldvary
Copyright 2003 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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