The Results of Bush’s War Against Iraq
|March 27, 2003||Posted by Staff under The Progress Report|
Wars Have Consequences
Bush’s War Will Have Long-Lasting Effects
Here are portions of an article appearing recently in the Ottawa Citizen, just as Bush was beginning his war against Iraq.
by Mario Cuomo
President George W. Bush points out that the only reason inspectors are making some progress in Iraq is because of the show of force by the United States and its allies. That’s probably true. But it’s also true that as long as the United Nations inspectors are making progress, there is no immediate need for war.
That is clearly the majority view in the UN and beyond. If President Bush decides to ignore it by starting a pre-emptive war against Iraq, where will it leave the United States spiritually, economically and politically?
According to the president, we will have a short and successful war that will kill or maim innocent Iraqi civilians and some innocent American soldiers — but not enough of them to stop the people of Baghdad from cheering the removal of Saddam Hussein and the promise of a democracy to replace him. At the same time, we will have made ourselves safer from terrorism at home. We will also be richer at home; stock markets will rise instantly, and together with the help of billions of dollars of still more tax cuts for our investor taxpayers, that will stimulate a strong economic recovery.
The president’s people say his poll ratings will also soar, led by the enthusiastic rejoicing of God-fearing conservatives who believed all along that Mr. Bush was right and the Pope was wrong when they differed over whether the war against Iraq would be a just war.
With a victory in Iraq bolstering the president’s self-confidence, he will then presumably turn his steely gaze on the rest of the axis of evil — North Korea and Iran — and decide whether to continue his aggressive and pre-emptive attempts to make the United States the planet’s democratic but holy hegemon. The United Nations would be less of an impediment to this effort because our repudiation of it over Iraq will have caused it to wither into little more than a global grant agency and political debating society.
On the other hand, if the president’s calculations and designs are incorrect, the United States will launch a war that could kill many times more innocent people than Sept. 11 did, and will be left with the huge burden of building a new democracy out of the tangle of hostile groups ready to destroy one another as soon as the tyrant Saddam is removed. That’s precisely what Mr. Bush earlier condemned as wasteful and dangerous “nation building,” a description that seems apt in view of our faltering efforts in Afghanistan.
The United States will also have lost the support of many of the allies we counted on in 1991, and have inflamed the hate of our enemies in the Muslim world, virtually assuring an increase in acts of terrorism against us.
After a quick euphoric surge in stock markets, the expenditures of hundreds of billions of dollars on the war, the attempted reconstruction of Iraq and more tax cuts will worsen what are already the greatest national deficits and debts in American history. That will exacerbate the already crushing burdens on our state and local governments, debilitating further public health care, education, law enforcement and environmental protection.
And what of his political future if President Bush’s war becomes his proudest boast in 2004? I think he will face the same fate Winston Churchill did in 1945, and his father did in 1992.
The majority of the United Nations and world opinion comes closer to the truth than does the president, and by November 2004, that will be clear to a majority of the American voters. After the music of the victory parades fade, the nation will reflect upon the sober truth of the war. Americans will remember the death and destruction, the debilitated economy, the increased terrorism, the deteriorated world unity and the ugly irony of a nation which says it is too poor to provide its people the health care, education and old-age security they need, but rich enough to fight wars, reconstruct other nations and give its wealthiest taxpayers huge tax cuts. Why then, would Americans want to vote for more of the same?
Mario Cuomo served as governor of New York from 1982 to 1994.
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