Posted on April 1, 2003
Iraqi war will produce many losers
As of this writing, it is unknown whether or not Saddam Hussein survived the "shock and awe" bombing campaign that was unleashed on Baghdad. What is clear, however, is that his regime is going to lose the war. He's not alone, though; for this will be a war of many losers, and not just those who are explicitly allied with Saddam. There are also those who protest the war, but hold President Bush and him alone responsible, while totally ignoring Saddam's provocation of the conflict. In addition, there are many who have, for a variety of reasons, gambled their careers and reputations on the implausibility that the U.S., Britain and their allies will fail to defeat the demented Iraqi dictator.
Some of these people and entities have already been struck by some of the consequences of their words and actions. Others probably won't realize until afterward that they, too, were losers of the war in Iraq. But losers they are, as will become ever clearer as their stated beliefs are shattered, not just by the result of the war, but also by the information that is gathered along the way.
Without further ado, let the loser parade begin.
Terrorism -- Critics of the Iraqi campaign insist it has no relevance to the greater War on Terror, but just consider the probable results. A northern Iraqi terrorist group called Ansar al-Islam was created shortly after 9-11-01, apparently to serve as a safe haven for al-Qaeda members fleeing Afghanistan. Ansar al-Islam leader Nejmeddin Faraj Ahmad claims that his group opposes the Iraqi government, but it has aided it by repeatedly carrying out terrorist attacks against the Kurds.
According to The Washington Post, Ahmad's organization has smuggled VX gas into Iraq. It is also suspected of producing ricin and cyanide, and testing the deadly effect of those chemicals on animals.
Whether Ansar al-Islam is directly connected to Saddam or not, when he goes, they go. If they live long enough to relocate, they'll never be able to take their chemical operations with them.
And that's not all. When Saddam Hussein, his sons, and their regime are history, there will be no more of their money paid to Palestinian families to turn their kids into suicide bombers. No more hijackers' training sessions on the fuselage of that passenger airliner in the desert at Salman Pak. No more strategy meetings between Iraqi officers and al-Qaeda terrorists like Mohammed Atta.
Finally, Iraq will no longer be used as a hideout by terrorist leaders like Osama bin Laden, who was offered asylum by Saddam Hussein after the American embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania. So much for the terrorists' rivalry with the infidel Saddam. It is evident by now that they are his teammates. When he loses, so do they all.
The United Nations -- The occupants of the International Tower of Babel took what should have been a straightforward presentation of its own resolutions regarding Iraq, and turned it into an Abbott and Costello routine, every bit as confused and panicky as the "Who's On First" sketch, while managing to be only slightly funnier.
The U.N.'s inactivity is due in large part to its demand for unanimity among nations with widely divergent interests. If the United States, Great Britain, Russia, China and France are not all in agreement, the Security Council can do nothing. And so it has.
As if to advertise its idiocy to the world, the U.N. has assigned Iraq to chair its Conference on Disarmament. That's like going into the jailhouse to round up a posse -- which is something our "cowboy" president would never do.
Before G.W. Bush took office, many conservatives worried that he would surrender American sovereignty to the United Nations, to help it realize its vision of a New World Order. How ironic that the U.N. would now diminish its own relevance, by denying Bush's plea that it simply back up its own words.
Yasir Arafat -- The lifelong terrorist and leader of the Palestinian Authority has recently appointed a prime minister to head his government, based on the recognition that the dilution of his power is necessary to future negotiations with the Israeli government. The man he felt compelled to select, former PLO Secretary General Abu Mazen, is himself one of the founders of the Fatah, the terrorist group that seized control of the PLO in the late Sixties.
However, Abu Mazen opposes the Intifada that Arafat declared against Israel about two and a half years ago, arguing that the violence has only driven Palestinians farther away from the establishment of an independent state. Abu Mazen has also been critical of Arafat's support for Saddam Hussein, a position which is soon to be vindicated, even within the Arab world.
Mind you, the Palestinian prime minister's function is still only murkily defined, and Arafat reserves the right to fire him at any time. But with the loss of domestic support -- which prodded him to appoint Abu Mazen in the first place -- and the loss of foreign support from Iraq, how long will Old Lemurface be able to prop up his autocratic rule?
Jacques Chirac -- Twenty-first Century France is a nation of little economic or military relevance, but it does have veto power in the United Nations Security Council. Chirac is seeking to use this power to rebuild his country's standing in the world, but his obstinacy regarding Iraq has pushed the U.N. to the sidelines, thereby rendering France as powerless as ever.
It was Chirac who, as prime minister of France in 1975, supplied Iraq with the nuclear reactor that the Israelis wisely bombed in 1981. The long-standing partnership between the two countries is apparently not a one-way street. The French oil company TotalFinaElf has acquired exclusive contracts for oil exploration in southern Iraq. When the current Iraqi regime is overthrown, those contracts will likely be nullified.
Gerhard Schroeder -- The German chancellor based his reelection campaign on attacks against the U.S. position on Iraq. Schroeder has been blamed, credibly, for fomenting anti-Americanism in his country, but he must not have done it quite well enough. His Social Democrat party was trounced in February's elections, due largely to his own promise not to commit troops to Iraq, which he made long before most of the German people had been given a chance to learn about Saddam's horrific human rights abuses, his threats to use supposedly nonexistent chemical weapons against the Kurds, or his continued production of al-Samoud missiles banned by U.N. sanctions.
Much attention has been given to French ingratitude to the United States, but the animosity of the German government toward Americans is even more vexing. Under the Marshall Plan, the U.S. rebuilt West Germany, as well as France, despite the fact that Germany had been its mortal enemy. It then protected West Germany from Soviet aggression for four decades. Out of pettiness, Schroeder has now shunned America, as well as Cold War ally Britain. As revelations within Iraq continue to validate the moral imperative of the war, the German people will come to recognize his actions as a terrible miscalculation, if not an outrage.
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei -- The Supreme Leader of Iran complains that, " anyone who doesn't have the power to defend against the United States and other big powers is in grave danger." He has good reason to be frightened, but not of the U.S. military. There is already a burgeoning reform movement afoot in Khamenei's country, and the development of democratic republics in Afghanistan and Iraq would encourage it.
The unelected leader laughably calls his government a "true democracy" while warning that "so-called democracies based on lies and propaganda ... are only the old dictatorships." Within Iran's power structure is a democratically elected president, but he is subordinated to the Ayatollah, who assumes the role of Commander-in-Chief, and appoints legislators and judges without any check on his power. When the Iranian people see their neighbors living in genuine republics, the charade of Iran's "religious democracy" will be exposed.
Tom Daschle -- The chronically "disappointed" and "saddened" Senate Minority Leader moped that, "this president failed so miserably at diplomacy that we're now forced to war." What, exactly, would one suppose his idea of successful diplomacy must be? If Bush had somehow gotten France, Russia, Germany, Belgium, Guinea, Antarctica, Walla Walla and Alpha Centauri on board in enforcement of U.N. Resolution 1441, that would not have averted war; it would have only meant we'd have more allies when we invaded. The only possibilities to avert war were (a) for Saddam Hussein to start behaving like a human being, or (b) for Bush to do nothing, and allow Saddam to continue producing chemical and biological weapons, and harboring and training terrorists. The first of these options was out of Bush's hands, and the civilized world could not afford the second.
Sen. Daschle belongs to a Democratic Party whose members have repeatedly shamed themselves in opposing the war. Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D, Ga.) claimed that Bush knew about the 9-11 attacks beforehand, but allowed them to happen in order to enrich his cronies, somehow or other. Reps. Jim McDermott (D, Wash.), David Bonior (D, Mich.) and Mike Thompson (D, Calif.) made Iraqi propaganda tools of themselves by taking the Sean Penn tour of Baghdad, as if they had been qualified to conduct an inspection. While there, McDermott charged that, "the president of the United States will lie to the American people in order to get us in this war."
Sen. Patty Murray (D, Wash.) speculated that Osama bin Laden enjoys popular worldwide support because he has done many charitable works, like building schools, hospitals and day care centers (so Afghan women can drop off their kids and go to work?) Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D, Ohio) likened al-Qaeda to some of the colonial militias that fought in the Revolutionary War.
Sen. Robert Byrd (D, W.Va.), the undisputed pork-barrel champion of Washington, has had the nerve to criticize the potential cost of the war. Rest assured that the next time he seeks taxpayer funding to build something called the Robert C. Byrd Museum of Interestingly Shaped Vegetables, money will be no object.
Daschle is supposed to be leading his party. Instead, he's following its most cynical elements to the point where America's success equals their failure. The Democrats unseemliness at the Paul Wellstone memorial service has already cost Daschle his position as Senate Majority Leader. The party's conduct during the war won't undo that.
Jimmy Carter -- All right ... so declaring Carter a loser might seem a little bit like breaking crumbs. But there has been an effort made by American and European leftists to reconstruct his image, and it culminated in his being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his criticism of the U.S. war effort. For this reason, Carter's opposition to this war will be better remembered than his obstruction of our prosecution of the '91 Gulf War, when he wrote a letter to the U.N. Security Council begging its members to vote against his own country.
Carter often presumes to criticize his successors' foreign policy, despite the fact that, when he was president, he stood by and watched the Red Menace spread like a melting popsicle. His only response was to deprive hundreds of American athletes of an opportunity to compete in the 1980 Moscow Olympics.
The former president wrote an op-ed for the New York Times, in which he argued that a U.S.-led invasion of Iraq violated the religious principles of a "just war." (Where were People for the American Way to denounce him for entangling politics and religion?) Among the precepts he outlined was that, "The war's weapons must discriminate between combatants and noncombatants," which he believes would be violated by bombing military targets that Saddam had surrounded with human shields.
Thus, one must conclude that if he were still president, Jimmy Carter would encourage Saddam's moral atrocities by allowing them to succeed in serving their tactical purposes. That's the kind of leadership that caused him to lose his bid for reelection by a landslide, and he seems perversely determined to never let anyone forget it.
Nelson Mandela -- Because the former South African president defeated apartheid, Americans tend to perceive him as the second coming of Abraham Lincoln. His reputation as the anti-racist has shielded him from criticism for the terrorist acts committed by his socialist African National Congress, his friendships with tyrants like Khaddafi and Castro, and his ham-handed military intervention in Lesotho. (Bet you didn't seek U.N. approval for that one, Nellie.)
The world even overlooked Mandela's essay entitled How to be a good Communist, in which he rejoiced over "The victory of socialism in the U.S.S.R., in the People's Republic of China, in Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland and Rumania." Never mind that those last five "victories" were imposed against the people's will by Soviet tanks. Furthermore, Mandela is never asked to account for his nation's utter failure to fulfill his prediction that, "Under a Communist government, South Africa will become a land of milk and honey."
When Amnesty International determined that Mandela's participation in acts of sabotage meant that he had never actually been a "political prisoner," nobody even blinked. The facts didn't matter, because he was a symbol of victory over racial oppression, so any indelicate reminders about his real life would have appeared racist. Nelson Mandela had become the true "Teflon president."
But now, he's got Americans riled. After initially supporting the United States after the terrorist attacks of 9-11, Mandela went crawling back to angered Islamic leaders to apologize. He even went so far as to declare Osama bin Laden "innocent until proven guilty." He hasn't been so lenient, however, with Bush, whom he called a president "who cannot think properly" and who "is now wanting to plunge the world into a holocaust."
Regarding Iraq, he says that Bush wants to invade, "because Iraq produces 64 percent of the oil in the world." Despite such fuzzy math emanating from his 84 year-old noggin, he had the nerve to call Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld "dinosaurs." In that same Newsweek interview, he spewed that "the attitude of the United States of America is a threat to world peace."
That Mandela's administration was marginally less awful than the regime it replaced does not qualify him for sainthood. Thanks to his outrageous criticisms of America and its leaders at this time of crisis, some people are coming to realize this.
The Vatican -- Its moral authority already strained by its unwillingness to effectively deal with the priesthood's pedophilia crisis, the Catholic church has condemned American "aggression" against Iraq, while remaining conspicuously tepid in its disapproval of Saddam Hussein's actions. The pope tells the Iraqi government to cooperate with U.N. resolutions, but then takes the position that there should be no consequences when it does not. What message did he expect Saddam to take from that?
Pope John Paul called for a "fast for peace" on Ash Wednesday, but Catholics fast on Ash Wednesday already. Was this intended to make American Catholics appear to share his opinion? The concept sounds similar to student activists declaring a "blue jean day," and then counting everybody wearing blue jeans on campus as a supporter of their cause.
After President Bush gave Saddam his 48-hour warning, Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls warned, "Those who decide that all peaceful means that international law makes available are exhausted assume a grave responsibility before God, their conscience and history." Exactly. But the church is taking the position that nobody should ever assume that responsibility. When all peaceful means really have been exhausted, the Vatican's eternal pacifism has no answer.
Nobody expects the pope to endorse a war, but the least he could have done was put the onus for maintaining the peace on Saddam, where it belonged.
The Dixie Chicks -- The country music trio had apparently thought they'd crossed over into the pop genre when lead singer Natalie Maines (better known as the little ornery-looking one in the middle) told a London audience, "Just so you know, we're ashamed the President of the United States is from Texas." Saying such a thing overseas during a time of war, it was quite obvious that they weren't critiquing the president's economic plan. The remark was clearly intended as a condemnation of U.S. military action.
It must have come as a shock to them that this incident made them the subject of a boycott, not just by fans, but by country music radio stations. This sort of thing doesn't generally happen to pop musicians, whose listeners either agree with them, or are so numb from such offenses that they stopped caring long ago. When Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders said that she hopes the United States loses the war, the public response consisted of little more than a few rolling eyes.
The Dixie Chicks are not so lucky. Their offense may not have been nearly as bad, but they've forgotten who their constituents are. You can't get away with behaving like Bill Clinton when so much of your support comes from Bush country.
Pat Buchanan -- Once a mainstream conservative Republican, the former Crossfire co-host has gone adrift. In 2000, his pitchfork populism led him to join the Reform Party, the political equivalent of a Roswell convention.
Nevertheless, Buchanan persists in his fervent belief that he is the center of the conservative movement, while all those conservatives who disagree with him have been duped by a devious clique of foreign infiltrators. In his new magazine, The American Conservative, he warns against a takeover of the Republican Party by the "neoconservatives."
He explains the threat in contradictory terms that can only be reconciled in the minds of the terminally paranoid. On one hand, the neoconservatives are a small "cabal" of activists who don't represent the majority of conservative thought. On the other, the political landscape is lousy with neoconservatives, who have overtaken the Bush administration, the Republican Party, and leading conservative publications like The Weekly Standard and National Review.
True neoconservatives are actually former Communists from the Beat Generation, who reacted against their contemporaries' violent anti-Americanism, and thus themselves became patriotic anti-Communists. The movement was founded by Jewish intellectuals in New York, who by now are mostly in their seventies. When the group was formed, its members had newly become conservative, hence the "neo-" prefix on their title. That's not nearly as scary as those who are just now being introduced to the term might have assumed.
Buchanan charges that the neoconservatives have pushed the United States into a war with Iraq in order to further Israeli interests, to which they subordinate the interests of the U.S. Why an overwhelming majority of Republicans, including President Bush, would care to do such a thing is difficult to explain, but Buchanan tries by picking out members of the administration he can call neoconservatives, like Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz, and suggesting that they exert some hypnotic power over the president.
In his magazine, Buchanan hallucinates that the United States has absolutely no allies in the war against Iraq, and that ninety percent of public opinion in Europe is against us. Is this what Mr. "America First" has come to? Determining the legitimacy of American policy by consulting man-on-the-street interviews from Antwerp? Perhaps he'd change his mind about the war if someone conducted a poll showing that ninety percent of Israelis opposed it.
CNN -- The original 24-hour news network, now struggling against Fox News and MSNBC, was expected by many to overwhelm its competitors in a flashback to its glory days of the Gulf War. It's not happening, and no wonder. In the weeks leading up to the invasion of Iraq, CNN broadcasts were dominated by coverage of "peace protests," which had ceased to be newsworthy long before.
On the network's Headline News channel, the demonstrators' inane slogans like "No Blood For Oil" often popped up as stealth editorials on the bottom of the screen, where scrolling news updates appear. Contrast this with Fox, which leftists have criticized as "jingoistic" for its graphic of an American flag offensively waving in one corner of the screen.
Unlike rival Fox, which is beating it in the ratings, CNN was not ejected by the Iraqi government. Apparently, Saddam's people thought Fox was too biased toward the United States. They had no similar fear of CNN, which employed Peter Arnett during the Gulf War, when he relayed pronouncements from the Iraqi dictatorship without cynicism.
Spokespeople for CNN are quick to point out that their network gets more "unique viewers" than Fox, meaning that a greater overall number of people tune in to CNN, but that Fox gets better ratings only because people don't turn it off as quickly. If that's what the folks in Atlanta have to cling to, they're in even bigger trouble than we know.
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