I wonder about the wrong war at the wrong time in the wrong place.
When is the right war, time, and place?
Was Kuwait the right war? It certainly seems like it now. We rolled in, blew the hell out of the largest army in the middle east from the air, and mopped up in a couple of weeks. Shooting fish in the desert. We got to sit in our lazy boys and watch the carnage live, awed and sickly proud of our military might, at our ability to whip the hell out of another country from half way around the world with no fuss or muss at home. Sure beat the hell out of your average daytime television. It was enough to give any red blooded meat eating American a 2 foot hard-on. And as an added bonus it kept our gasoline cheap and our SUVs rolling with their bumpers proudly displaying those american flag stickers.
Was it the right war at the right time in the right place? Well, it was certainly easy enough that we didn't really have to question it.
I wonder about those other wars we didn't involve ourselves in.
Somalia (1988 - ongoing)*
Between 300,000 and 550,000 civilians purposely starved to death or killed outright. Apparently not the right war at the right time in the right place.
800,000 men women and children cut down by machetes in the streets. No one lifted a finger. Another war, not the right time not the right place.
Sudan (1983 - 2002)*
1,000,000. Not the right war not the right time not the right place.
Iraq under Hussein
1,000,000 - Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988)*
182,000 - Al-Anfal Campaign (1986-1989)*
5,000-7,000 - Halabja poison gas attack (Halabjah, Iraq, 1988)*
Mass graves discovered following the US occupation of Iraq in 2003 suggest that the total combined figure for Kurds, Shi'ites and dissidents killed could be as high as 300,000. Approximately 500,000 Iraqi children dead because of international trade sanctions introduced following the Gulf War.**
An awful lot of people seem to think Iraq is the wrong war at the wrong time in the wrong place
What is the right war in the right place at the right time?
Was World War II only okay because we were attacked? Would 10,000,000 dead Jews have been okay if we hadn't been?
Did we not fight our own Civil War in an effort to end slavery? Does that make the 600,000 deaths acceptable? If so, then what about the defacto slavery across the globe?
Do we have an obligation to truly champion the freedom we preach and to fight for the enslaved wherever he might be? Do we have a resposibility to use our power, power truly unprecedented in the history of mankind, to defend the innocent no matter what country they call home? Do we truly believe that mankind is "endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights"*** and do we believe that we should help those oppressed by tyrannical governments to "alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness"***?
Or rather, do we believe that if it's not in our backyard it's not our problem?
I wonder what sort of world we wish to live in? One where brutal dictators like Saddam Hussein buy their french, russian or chinese weapons and test their temper upon their own citizens? Or do we believe in those quaint ideas about "the brotherhood of man" and "life and liberty for all?"
Iraq is a hard war, an uncertain war, and a frightening war. It is also a war I believe, in true armchair general fashion, we could be waging better, but I also believe that Iraq and the world will be a better place without Saddam.
Iraq's troubles are just starting. The elections will signal the beginning of what will probably turn into a proper civil war between the 20% of the country who ran things under Saddam and the 80% of the country who was getting their hands chopped off and watching their daugters being raped under Saddam. It is a civil war that is already being fought by the candidates and poll workers cut down in the streets, by the 1,000,000 and counting Iraqis who have registered to vote despite the dangers, and by the masked old guard militants and their foreign backers doing their best to keep Iraq and the entire middle east enslaved.
If not now, when?
If not Iraq, where?
If not the side of freedom and democracy, then which side? The side of the French, Germans, and Russians? The side of isolationism and economic profit? Of don't ask don't tell? Of, their country, their problem?
A young prince in Britain wears a Nazi outfit to a costume party and the world is up in arms and demanding an apology. What if he had worn a Saddam or Mohamed Farrah Aidid costume, would anyone have cared? Must a person kill 10,000,000 people before he is considered truly evil and untouchable? What about 5,000,000 or even just 1,000,000?
I wonder, how many people have to die before it is the right war in the right place at the right time.
* From Wikipedia
** From More or Less
*** The Decleration of Independence by Our Forefathers :)