Tuesday, October 04, 2005
Is the world really safer?
Saddam Hussein is in a prison cell, waiting for trial. So, the world is safer, right?
I mean, the US has over 100,000 troops in Iraq, troops they can't put somewhere else. The US is in over a hundred billion dollars of additional debt because of the war in Iraq, money that could have been spent on better technology, more spies, more (dare I say it) law enforcement officials who will track dangers to the United States.
The military is having problems maintaining top combat readiness; you can't keep troops in a combat zone too long without them having problems with morale, exhaustion, and other issues affecting military discipline.
More importantly, the world has learned a lesson, and it's not a very happy one. They've learned that, if George W. Bush thinks there's something wrong, he's willing to go in... and even if he's proven wrong, he will insist he made the right decision, and insist he'd do the exact same thing, all over again.
Let's just pretend that a miracle happens, and we can rotate almost all of our troops out of Iraq. We're facing a threat of nuclear arms from Iran or North Korea. We threaten an invasion if they don't disarm.
Why would they disarm, right now? Saddam Hussein disarmed... and Iraq was invaded anyway. Clearly, there's no percentage in disarming in the face of a threat of invasion from the US, right? Disarming might just make the invasion that much easier.
How about our allies... how quick are they going to be to trust us the next time we tell them there's a threat? Are they going to jump to our aid, because we don't make huge mistakes... or if we do, we're horrified at our mistakes, and do our best to fix things?
Hey, we're doing a lot of work to salvage Iraq, but that's because (per Bush) that we were going to give them freedom all along, even if that freedom comes in the form of an Islamic republic.
Me, I think it's a funny kind of freedom that comes from the outside, that comes forced by the barrel of a gun. I've always thought freedom came from the inside, with people willing to fight, and die, for it. And if the Iraqi people had already been in active revolt against Saddam, I'd have been glad to see the US support the revolt, and see that a new government, of, by, and for Iraqis was put in place, but that's not how the invasion went.
But this is getting off the main track. The question is, are we safer?
Are we safer when the Middle East has seen we will, unapologetically, invade a country for false reasons? Does that make the terrorists job easier or harder? Will there be more, or fewer, people willing to risk their lives to harm America?
Are we safer with 25,000+ civilians, and an untold number of thousands of Iraqi soldiers (who were only defending their homes) dead? Are we safer with their friends and family mourning those deaths, deaths that they can (fairly or not) lay at the feet of America?
There are a lot of people who say, yes, we're safer. I'm damned if I can figure out why they'd say such a thing. Could they really be ignoring these issues?