Monday, September 26, 2005

Functionally Disarmed

I've come to put this blog in order.

There's videotape of both Dick Cheney and Colin Powell saying that Iraq was functionally disarmed after the first Persian Gulf war. One statement was made right after the war, and the other was circa 2000. I don't remember which went when, since both men were involved in the war and the 2000 election. And you know my policy towards "fact checking". Suffice to say, I'm just going to treat my foggy memory as an article of faith. The point is that, after 1991, Saddam was never a threat to you, me, or Israel.

Was he following the letter of the law? Was he illegally armed to some extent? No, and yes. But so what?

Perhaps the greatest chimerical ruse perpetrated upon the American people in our history was the false choice between "letting Saddam flaunt the law" and this enormous, expensive, and thoroughly bungled invasion. I'm sorry, but this war was neither inevitable nor neccessary.

First of all, just because he was illegally armed didn't make him a threat. He couldn't have packed much of a punch. At least 60% of Iraq was demilitarized by no-fly zones. He was neutered by sanctions. He was monitored by inspectors until 1998. And despite the fact that Saddam and his cronies were flush with cash, Iraq the nation was broker than a philosophy grad student. Kurdistan was better off under the no fly zone, and women were better off under Saddam than the newly ascendant Ayatollahs.

Second, no pro-war conservative has ever thought on paper about the opportunity cost of this war. You're supposed to be conservatives. You're not thinking about alternative uses for that money? Never? Honestly, the people you'd call "Bush haters" think you've all got a bit of a "Dear Leader" thing going on. We'll get out of that feral sandpit half a trillion in the hole if we're lucky. I wouldn't know how to find out for sure, but I reckon $200 billion dollars is already a huge understatement.

What about the second degree costs? Your man ruined the prestige of the dollar. For an ideology so obessed with maintaining the economic hegemony of America, this is foolish strategy. "It doesn't matter what France thinks." "Freedom fries, fuck 'em all." And so on. How can you be so cavalier towards international opinion?

The trust of the spy network? "Screw them, I heard one of those guys took an order from his wife." All to protect a goddamed treasonous felon? What have we come to? Every one of you has spent hours of your life that you'll never get back thinking of why Karl Rove's not a scumbag for what he did to Valerie Plame.

When are the honest conservatives going to jump ship en masse? And when are honest conservatives going to admit that the Roy Moore's of the world are precisely the people the Founding Fathers were worried about when they put the separation of church and state into the First Amendment? "But the First Amendment wasn't written to keep a judge in the Deep South from planting an enormous granite carving of the Ten Commandments at the epicenter of his fiefdom." Yes it was.

And how exactly does "thou shalt not worship false idols" fit into the Enlightenment ideals of the Constitution? This is America, I can worship an Allen Iverson bobblehead if I want.

Speaking of amendments where people willfully ignore the Founders' intent:

A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

Playing with guns in the woods of Michigan doesn't make a bunch of fat guys a "militia". Paintballers face more peril. Are you telling me you can justify a ban on oral sex and birth control, by vote of the legislature; but any laws whatsoever regarding weaponry should be dismissed out of hand?

Anyway, Saddam Hussein was an old man. He'd have been lucky to outlive Castro had we not given him bodyguards and doctors. His sons were incompetent and crazy, respectively. What would have happened when he died? A violent upheaval, some religious strife, disruption of oil supplies, and then eventually a strongman takes over. Christ it would have been terrible if something like that had happened. And don't think we wouldn't have dirtied our hands in that fight, but it would've been much, much cheaper, and a metric shitload more moral.


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