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What's going on with Iraq

Jack Balshaw 7/24/02


We have the president declaring that Saddam Hussein and his government must be overthrown. We have our political leaders accepting this will happen and agreeing that the question isn't if, but when. Information abounds about methods being considered to achieve this end. Is it reasonable to expect Saddam to just sit and wait or are we trying to force him to take some action to justify a reaction by us?

If the situation were reversed, we would be calling his statements a declaration of war against this country and would use that to justify a preemptive strike. This would make us out as the good guy only defending himself.

It sort of reminds me of the old western where the bad guys taunt, challenge and humiliate the settler into going for his gun so they can shoot him down "in self defense". Only this time the President is acting like the bad guy and we're cheering him on. (Not that Saddam qualifies as an innocent settler)

We probably do need to initiate covert actions to keep Saddam off balance. We probably should cause him political problems at home so he has to focus on staying in power. But what's the point of convincing him that we're ready to take him out?

Being the person he is, he'll probably figure that maybe we can do it and his best shot is to take as many of us as he can with him. That way, he can go down as a martyr who stood up against America. Any action he takes in that direction will justify us doing whatever we want or need to do. Are we ready to pay another 9/11 price to achieve that justification? Or, do we feel that he can't reach us and could only hurt the Israelis? If so, then our bluster may be at their expense.

We've seen what a dedicated suicide bomber can do when he's willing to lose his life. What might a dictator such as Saddam be willing to do if he believes that he's doomed anyway? Are we that sure we can thwart any massive chemical or biological attack on our allies or ourselves?

And, just what would we do anyway?, nuke all the innocent civilians in Baghdad? This either hasn't been thought out or it's designed to serve another purpose.

Publicizing our formal policy to remove him from leadership is stupid. If that's what we want to do, let's do it secretly, quietly and quickly. Can you imagine John Ashcroft's reaction if someone leaked some such policy from his department?

All I can think is that this is just another administration ploy to keep us charged up about possible future military actions and keep us believing there is a "war" on so that it's not proper or patriotic to criticize our president in time of "war".

A high percentage of people support overthrowing Saddam, but I'll bet very few of those people have sons in the military, sons who may be the ones to pay the price for such action. Perhaps, since the "war" on terrorism will likely go on forever, we should reinstate the military draft so that a broader segment of Americans will have the opportunity to participate in any military action. I bet that would change the percentage in favor of military action.

I've gotten to the point where I don't much trust or believe what my government says any more. I not only have to decide if I agree or disagree with any proposed government action, I have to wonder if that action isn't only a diversion to keep us all in the dark. But, about what?


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