Why is President Clinton talking about a reprise of the 1991 Persian Gulf War?
We’re told it’s because U.N. inspectors believe that Iraq has hidden “weapons of mass destruction.” But of course so does the United States. And Britain, France, Russia, the Ukraine, China, India and Pakistan. Iraq doesn’t even hold a regional monopoly, as Israel certainly has atomic weapons atop U.S.-designed rockets aimed this very moment at Hussein’s Baghdad palaces.
Insanely-destructive weapons are a fact of life in the fin-de-Millennium. There’s already plenty of countries with atomic weapons and the missile systems to lob them into neighboring countries. Hussein probably doesn’t have them, and the weapons U.N. inspectors are worried about are chemical. This is the “poor man’s atomic bomb,” a way to play at the level of nuclear diplomacy without the expenses of a nuclear program.
Clinton seems oblivious to the irony of opposing Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction with our own. The aircraft carriers and battle fleets that have been sent into the Gulf in recent weeks are loaded with tactical nuclear missiles.
If the possession of weapons of mass destruction is wrong for Iraq, then it is wrong for everyone. It is time to abolish all weapons programs and to build real world peace along lines of coöperation.
He’s our Bully
Most Americans, on hearing a call to let Hussein be, will react with disbelief. Conditioned to think of him as our modern Hitler, anyone opposing a new Gulf War must be crazy, someone unfamiliar with the history of the appeasement of Hitler prior to World War II that allowed him to build his military to the frightening levels of 1939.
But Americans have alas not been told too much of more recent history. Saddam Hussein is our creation, he’s our bully. It started with Iran. Obsessed with global military control, the U.S. government started arming regional superpowers. We gave our chosen countries weapons and money to bully around their neighbors and we looked the other way at human rights abuses. We created and strengthened dictators around the world, including the Shah of Iran. A revolution finally threw him out of power and ushered in a government understandable hostile to the United States.
Rather than take this development to mean that the regional superpower concept was a bad idea, the U.S. just chose another regional superpower: Iraq. We looked the other way when the two got into a war, and started building up Iraq’s military arsenal, giving him the planes and military equipment we had given Iran. This was a bloody, crazy war, where huge casualties would be racked up only to move the front a few miles, an advance that would be nullified when the other army attacked with the same level of casualties. The United States supported that war. International human rights activists kept publicizing the abuses within Iraq, and denouncing him for use of chemical weapons. They got little media attention because it was not in U.S. political interests to fight Hussein.
Nothing’s really changed now except U.S. political interests. Hussein is still a tyrant. He’s still stockpiling chemical weapons. Why are U.S. political interests different now? Why does Bill Clinton want U.S. media attention focused on Iraq? Look no further than Big Bill’s zipper. Stop the next war before it starts. Abolish everyone’s weapons of mass destruction and let’s get a President who doesn’t need a war to clear his name.