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Dustin LindenSmith

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make tea, not war?

Caught some audio news about the huge anti-war demos over the weekend, but I didn't attend any of them myself. After listening to CBC's Cross Country Checkup yesterday, I have to admit that I'm a bit befuddled on my stance on the issue now. All nonduality aside, I'm definitely a pacifist at heart, and I agree with what the French ambassador to the UN and current security council president said in response to Friday's inspector's reports; namely, that resorting to war would reflect our total failure on all other fronts. So have all other efforts have truly been exhausted?

Recently, I've been getting the sense that the US really believes its own rhetoric, particularly Colin Powell, who has always struck me as a pretty level-headed guy. And if they really believe what they're saying, and if they really believe that WMD are still in Iraq and that since Hussain is such a bad-ass he could conceivably let a few chemical bombs or whatever find their way into the wrong hands which could ultimately end up being used in another attack against the US, then in some small measure, I have to respect their opinion that they have to oust Hussain and/or disarm Iraq right now, before that happens. September 11th has wrought havoc with US foreign policy, to be sure -- there's still a lot of emotional response going on down there.

Having said that, I think that there's a lot of important debate that could and should occur on how this is actually carried out logistically. I doubt that the wanton bombing of Iraq would bring much other than increased anti-American sentiment on the part of the Muslim world (and many other countries, too), in addition to countless civilian casualties -- that's lots of innocent women and children who don't deserve to be caught in this at all. But if the US was considering a truly surgical insertion of commando forces to assassinate Hussain or take over the government or something, I could almost (that's almost) support that. At least I would understand it.

And having said that, I don't believe that much is to be gained by bad-mouthing the US or trying to invalidate their position. I think this just alienates Bush and his cronies even further, which will disincline them further to consider dissenting views seriously, much less to forge a multilateral agreement on this issue. And of course, if we're just talking about results, then it's probably a foregone conclusion that within the next 4 weeks when the US has assembled a viable force in the Gulf, we'll see the attacks begin regardless of whether or not there's a second UN resolution. And unfortunately, I think this has the realistic possibility of pushing the UN even farther into irrelevance. I love, love, love Kofi Annan, but God knows that he can't play an effective role in avoiding war at this point.

I just hope that not a lot of people die.

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jjjiii February 17th, 2003
I think Colin Powell is generally (no pun intended) a level-headed guy, too. I don't have any facts to back this up, but I think he's falling victim to the effects of prolonged exposure to the Bush 2.0 Administration's policies and philosophies. Military people above just about everything else know how to follow the leader, and that seems like what he's doing. "Good dog, Colin." "Roof! Roof!"

The thing about a truly surgical commando strike is that it does not have high assurance of working. What if they strike, but Saddam is in one of his other palaces, and one of his doubles gets killed in his stead? At that point, you're pretty much committed to war, and you've definitely provoked them. No avoiding it at that point.

Just ask yourself how the people in this country would feel if a foreign power tried to assassinate our president? As much as I'd *love* to see Bush impeached and removed from office, I don't think killing him is the way to do it -- it surely wouldn't bring about the hoped-for result of a nation turned away from its warlike inclinations. An internal coup would be only slightly more desirable, but even that would throw the nation into chaos and uncertainty as people would have to figure out who really had power and who they need to show loyalty to in order to avoid being purged...

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