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Gulf War Musings
By Mike Clark - Olympia, WA February 27, 2004

Bringing up politics on Thanksgiving ought to be a hanging offense. And this year, if the law were in effect it would have been me on the scaffold. I made the mistake of bringing up my opinion of Viggo Mortensen, "Lord Aragorn" of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. I have been annoyed with him ever since he made an appearance at an anti-war rally in Washington, DC, in October, reading a poem he had written, called "Back to Babylon." In the first place, I guess I didn't appreciate his poem very much; but that's not so important. Generally, the poem is an anti-war sentiment, and so what? Generally, I'm against war, too. But it wasn't the poem that put me off so much as his appearance at the rally, which was put on by two organizations, "United for Peace and Justice" (UFPJ) and "Act Now to Stop War & End Racism" (ANSWER). These groups are quite simply fronts for international socialism, which is still alive after all these years, and are not so much anti-war as they are anti-American. In our after-dinner conversations, I said to my brother something to the effect of: "I thought Viggo Mortensen was a great actor, but after he appeared at that anti-war rally, my opinion of him changed."

Although directed at my brother, my sister-in-law overheard my remarks, and she was clearly annoyed. However, she was charitably restrained in her response. She looked at me and said "He's still a great actor; you just don't like his politics." Suitably chastised now, I had to agree with her that she was right.

So, to all the Tim Robbinses, Jane Fonda's, and Mike Farrell's of the nation: I'm sorry, despite my disagreement with your political views, you are still actors of some ability. Your talent does not depend upon your political opinions.

But I cannot retreat from my observation that all the aforementioned characters, and all their fellow-travelers, are wrong-headed on the issue of the US involvement in Iraq. Note carefully, I don't say that the U.S. should have invaded Iraq, either this time or the last time. I simply say that anyone who thinks we should leave now with that country still in some degree of disarray, is someone who is asking for human disaster of a greater scale than was caused by our invasion. In other words, it was a mistake (for reasons I will explain below), but since we are there we darned well better leave only after we have settled matters adequately to ensure a state of peace, order, and individual freedom. To do otherwise is not only morally bankrupt, it would also be dangerous.

And as to why we shouldn't have invaded Iraq? It is because Iraq has not done anything to the U.S. to warrant a declaration of war. I don't believe that the Constitution of the United States of America, strictly constructed, gives the U.S. government the right or obligation to make war upon another nation merely because it thinks there's a possibility that country might make war upon us in the future.

I contrast this with Afghanistan under the Taliban, which, on the other hand, did give the US government the obligation to respond militarily, by harboring and supporting the criminal terrorist organization called Al Quaeda, which had committed an act of war against us. We had every justification for invading, conquering and subduing Afghanistan. This is regardless of whether some pettifogging mincing leftists think it was U.S. missteps that contributed to the Taliban becoming the government of Afghanistan in the first place. These people think that since we messed up once, instead of correcting the mistake we have to live with it? No, thankyou.

But Saddam could have been left alone to rape, murder and oppress his own people as he and his sons and hangers-on wished, and this would not have affected the United States materially in any way. And this applies to the first Gulf War as well. Saddams invasion of Kuwait, ruled by another dictatorship, although a milder one, would not have materially impacted the United States, either. And this was not an act of war against us. And even if Iraq had invaded Saudi Arabia afterwards, which Saddam might very well have intended, that would not have affected us, either. Some people were worried that oil supplies would be adversely affected by Saddam's occupation of both Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, but how valid could that be? What was Saddam going to do with the oil riches of Iraq, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia? Drank it? Poured it out on the sand? None of the above! He would have sold it, for ready money, otherwise what advantage would all that oil be to him?

(A stray thought occurs to me, that had Saddam been allowed to invade Saudi Arabia, then Mr. bin Laden would have flown planes into some building in downtown Baghdad, instead of New York City. On the other hand, bin Laden would probably have blamed the US for Iraq's invading Saudi Arabia, and we might still have gotten 9/11.)

In short, there was no Constitutional justification for either invasion of Iraq. And, except for one little tiny matter, that of the incidental freeing of the Iraqi people from the rule of a man who could accurately bear the nickname of either "the Hitler of the Middle East" or "the Stalin of the Middle East," there was no moral justification for invading Iraq.

The problem is, while intellectually I consider the US invasion of Iraq to be unjustified, emotionally I am glad it happened, simply because the people of Iraq now have a chance for a hugely improved future. The mass graves and the persons freed from Saddam's torturous political prisons speak eloquently in favor of what has been done. It needed to be done, if not by us, then by SOMEONE. But who would have done it? Unfortunately, the answer is "Nobody."

At the end of all the argument, what I believe is that now, having done something we shouldn't have done, we need to stick to the task and complete it in as much honor and as effectively as it can be done. I hope, and pray to God that it will be so, that the efforts of this country in the nation of Iraq will ultimately be for the good, and that what comes out of the matter will be an improvement over what was before.

Copyright © 2003 by Mike Clark - Olympia, WA

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