Insane Bush Reaffirms Pre-Emption

That’s the headline I would have liked to have seen on this Washington Post story, which describes the new national security strategy the President is putting forward today

reaffirming his doctrine of preemptive war against terrorists and hostile states with chemical, biological or nuclear weapons, despite the troubled experience in Iraq.

Troubled? Troubled?!?! What about the fact that Iraq did not possess the weapons? Is it still pre-emption if you were wrong about the threat? No. It is war at will, for no good reason. The piece highlights the stark contrast between Bush’s perception and reality:

many critics believe the failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq fatally undermined an essential assumption of the strategy — that intelligence about an enemy’s capabilities and intentions can be sufficient to justify preventive war.

In his revised version, Bush offers no second thoughts about the preemption policy, saying it “remains the same” and defending it as necessary for a country in the “early years of a long struggle” akin to the Cold War.

. . .

“If necessary, however, under long-standing principles of self defense, we do not rule out use of force before attacks occur, even if uncertainty remains as to the time and place of the enemy’s attack,” the document continues. “When the consequences of an attack with WMD are potentially so devastating, we cannot afford to stand idly by as grave dangers materialize.”

This is pure insanity. How can the American people sit still for this? Bush’s claim is that the consequences of a WMD attack are so grave that it justifies war against anyone he thinks might have those weapons, or who might be trying to get them. He should have learned from Iraq that reality is not always as he fantasizes it will be.

The most unbelievable part of all is this:

“We may face no greater challenge from a single country than from Iran,” the document says,
. . .

The language about confrontation is not repeated with North Korea, which says it already has nuclear bombs, an assertion believed by U.S. intelligence.

So North Korea has nuclear weapons and we are focusing on Iran? This is silliness of the highest order, which would be hilarious satire except that it is actually happening. A policy of going around starting wars with countries we don’t like because we’re paranoid won’t lead anywhere good. It will not generate the prosperity and goodwill in troubled nations that we need to build support for the US around the world. The best way to protect ourselves from attack is not to crush all possible enemies, which creates many more, but to convince people not to want to attack us in the first place.

4 Replies to “Insane Bush Reaffirms Pre-Emption”

  1. Ummmm……OK. Try finding WMD in a desert as big as Texas when the leadership of that country had months to try and hide them before anyone started looking. Try telling people of radical faiths that their religious beliefs are, in fact, incorrect – i.e. the majority of Americans do not believe in Mohammed. We live in a capitalistic society where money flows like water, the western media flaunts all the “haves” and the most rotten, vile behavior as if that is the standard (think MTV) and gives the impression that they speak for and represent the whole of America. Did you forget the reasons cited for why planes were flown into the World Trade Center? Hatred for western capitalism, remember? Long live Allah? How exactly do you convince someone who believes that killing the rest of us infidels will earn him a place among heaven’s most beautiful virgins? Should we all change our faiths and our views so we don’t seem so wrong in their eyes? Is Al Qaeda or whomever else you want to pin this on in Iraq? Probably not, but there is no mistaking there is a hotbed of terrorism that has a stronghold geographically and politically over there and should be broken up before it gets worse for us over here. We need to insert some western friendly people over there to make sure the ones who hate us (and want to kill us all, remember) don’t spread over the entire continent. Don’t get me wrong, I fully believe there are moderate Muslims who condemn this kind of thing. But I don’t really see too much condemnation or action on their part to stop it all. I believe what is going on in Iraq is not what was expected, but then again, this is a war, not Project Management 101. The American public has a 3 second attention span. Don’t blame the President for it.

  2. Thanks for reading! A few of your points intrigue me.

    First, while I acknowledge the fact that it could be difficult to find WMDs in a large desert, particularly when they may be hidden, the weight of evidence after three years suggests that the weapons did not exist. No evidence has been found. Many reports suggest that, while Saddam claimed to possess weapons, this was probably the result of his insanity and megalomania, and not the truth.

    Second, just because the majority of American citizens do not believe a particular faith, does not make it “incorrect.” Our nation has always been committed to respecting the freedom of all religions. As for convincing people whose beliefs are different from our own, I suggest that dialogue and humanitarian aid, coupled with economic development, would be more effective than going to war in most cases.

    Third, I think it is important to be careful about mixing generalizations. For example, you seem to assume that the Iraqi insurgency has a relationship with Al-Qaeda, and that they are motivated by religious fundamentalism. Remember that Iraq was a secular nation before we invaded, and that the religious violence developed over time. In other words, our actions have inflamed the terrorists. They do not believe that we have a right to be there, and they are trying to ject us forcefully, and it is a somewhat popular cause.

    I look forward to hearing from you in the future.

  3. Thanks for the response. A few more thoughts…

    My mistake for miswording the ‘radical faiths being incorrect’ thing. What I meant to say is that it has been demonstrated by some members who hold radical religious ideas that our entire way of life is offensive to them. The “incorrectness” aspect of it comes in the fact that they believe (and use the media to say so) that we should be eradicated from the earth because of our infidelity to their beliefs. And they are acting on those deeply held beliefs violently against both western religions and other sects of Islam. That is what is “incorrect” from an American religious freedom point of view (i.e. My right to throw a punch ends at the start of your nose, sort of thing?). If all that was occurring was a bunch of blogs, some protests here and there (minus the bombs strapped on to would-be martyrs), and a cable TV news station dedicated to detailing how terrible Americans are (besides the ones that already exist), I don’t think we would have started a war. Unfortunately, peaceful protesting isn’t a hallmark of this group, case in point – Mohammed cartoons. I do believe in diplomacy first. But I also believe there is a time to stop the talk and start action. How can I convince someone I shouldn’t be killed while they are telling me that their God wills it, and by doing it they will be martyred. How do I bribe them (or change their minds) with promise of food, a western education (which they despise) or a money influx which may produce a McDonalds in their neighborhood? In a criminal trial, yelling “you will die because Allah wills it” (all the while volunteering to become the instrument to my demise) would be considered insanity. Unfortunately, I don’t believe there are enough hospitals to treat all the people enrolled in Suicide Bombing 101.

    Interestingly enough, though I support the war effort, I do recognize the fact that having a dictator to keep things quiet over there is probably the reason why they haven’t had a civil war. As far as his WMD claim, remember the Kurdish people and the gassing/torture/genocide. To me, that speaks of a capability and a will at the very least. He denied his own people access to the food and medical expertise being provided to him through the United Nations, thus rendering humanitarian effort ineffective.

    As far as linking Al Qaeda and Iraq, I do so because that has been a media pet for demonizing the President over the war. I have read too many times that “there is no link between Al Qaeda and Iraq”, so I brought it up because I do not use the justification myself.

    I can say this is my first experience “blogging” with someone. So thanks for hearing/reading me out! Personally, I fear that this political posturing and grandstanding, and public lack of support and respect for our government is just really adding fuel to the fire in the Middle East. It creates a perception of instability, insecurity and fear within our great country. What a joke we must be to our cousins in other parts of the world, when it seems every self-righteous Monday morning quarterback gets a 20 minute segment on a prime time news program. Thankfully I can retreat to my comfortable, suburban home, watch Sesame Street with my two year old, and not have to lead this country except at the voting booth.

    Thanks again…

  4. I am always happy to have a conversation with my readers. I agree with most of what you wrote, although some aspects seem to be a little more complicated to me.

    For example, you mention that “there is a time to stop the talk and start action,” and I agree with you. I would contend, however, that figuring out what time that is, precisely, is the real challenge. It is not at all easy to know when diplomacy has failed and some other action should be undertaken. With Iraq, we had the UN investigating, we had the regime offering more and more access, and we had no direct, reliable evidence of a credible threat. In that case, I do not believe pre-emptive action was warranted.

    Of course Saddam Hussein is a terrible person. His treatment of the Kurds is unforgiveable and despicable. I am happy that he is on trial, although I hope the court retains legitimacy so that justice can be done. Always remember that Saddam Hussein was our man in the region.

    As for the idea that criticism of the President makes us appear weak to the enemy, I believe our strength comes from our tradition of debate and dissent. If the enemy mistakes this strength for weakness, it is only because the only power they know comes from fear and corruption. I hope we never become that way. Americans understand that the bonds of fellow citizenship are stronger than momentary disagreements, and that dissent can be a path to improving the government for us all.

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