In time of war, national global strategy must be kept secret. That's why the reasons given by the administration for invading Iraq have been quite puzzling. The liberals charge the administration with going to war without a just cause.
However, they refuse to consider a plausible alternative explanation because it may exonerate Bush. Worse, the conservatives follow with blind trust, touting freedom, democracy and the overthrow of a brutal dictator and the presence of weapons of mass destruction. I have tried to step back from this rhetoric to explore other alternatives. Here is what I found.
First an assumption. Despite international law and national sovereignty, it should be the responsibility of the most powerful to deter or intervene when people are abused, tortured or killed by the more powerful. However, we did not depose Saddam Hussein because he was torturing his people or to rid the world of weapons of mass destruction, but as a part of a greater geopolitical strategy.
The Gulf kingdoms are significantly less powerful than the United States and technologically backward archaic cultures dominated by political theocracies. Moreover, they have a valuable resource that they cannot develop independently. Technologically more advanced western countries were invited to help develop this resource. The western workers live in the countries that hire them and influence these cultures with western values and beliefs. But, aside from role of the Palestinian cause in igniting Arab rage against the United States, theistically closed Islamic fundamentalists saw this as an invasion and degradation of their religion and culture.
Scattered throughout many countries, the fundamentalists had four alternatives to prevent these intrusions: offense, defense, acquiescence (allow assimilation), or simple coexistence. They chose a terroristic offense.
America also had four response alternatives: offend, defend, acquiesce (back off), or coexist. Because Iran is the major exporter of terrorism throughout the world, and while there is more history than presented here, we chose a different kind of offense; a preemptive containment of Iran by establishing a military presence in two bordering countries, Afghanistan on the East, the dominant terrorist training ground, and Iraq on the Southwest.
Concurrently, we endeavor to maintain friendly relations with the countries that border Iran. Germany, France, Russia and the United Nations lacked the power to deter these assaults.
To take the war on terrorism to the enemy, since the Iraq-Iran war, the United States has wanted to establish an accessible presence in the Middle East and to contain Iran. For this reason during that war we supported Saddam Hussein, the weaker of the two, As Iran has become more supportive of terrorism, and after 9/11, our containment strategy had to become more assertive than it was then; contain the greater evil by bringing down the lesser of the two.
Iran is now surrounded by countries "friendly" to the United States, at least not Gulf kingdoms that support terrorism; Turkey is on the Western border, Armenia, Azerbaijan, the Caspian Sea and Turkmenistan on the Northern Boarder, Afghanistan and Pakistan on the Eastern Border, and the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman on the South and southwest borders. The United States is now physically situated with a strong presence in two major countries that border Iran. The importance of Iraq with its long Iranian border becomes even more evident when we note that insurgent terrorists are now streaming into Iraq from Iran to fight the jihad. Despite the inevitable chaos, Cheney got it right!
Furthermore, having a presence in Iraq is an excellent position relevant to Syria, another exporter of terrorism and a home base of operations for the terrorists. Syria is surrounded by Turkey, Jordan, Iraq, Israel and Lebanon, American "friendly" countries with the exception of Lebanon. Turkey is a NATO member.
So, there you have it. The threat of weapons of mass destruction and the deposition of a ruthless dictator are emotional issues much more compelling and, therefore, easier to explain and justify as compared to a strategy of containment that requires the invasion of two countries.
This analysis causes some questions to emerge. As the most powerful nation, are we responsible to deter the brutality of the Saddam Hussein regime? Yes! Should we have invaded and occupied Afghanistan and Iraq? Yes! Could we have negotiated with the terrorists? No.
Could the administration have sold this strategy to the American people? Probably not. Is George Bush on the right track? Certainly!
Dan Mooney is a retired 32-year resident of Carson City.