micah holmquist's irregular thoughts and links
Welcome to the musings and notes of a Cadillac, Michigan based writer named Micah Holmquist, who is bothered by his own sarcasm.
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Friday, September 20, 2002
President Bush has asked Congress for the power to go to war and the resolution shows he is asking for pretty much a blank check based on facts that don't add up. (Thanks to Jim Henley for the second link.)
Much is made of September 11, 2001 and yes there were terrrorist attacks against the United States last year on September 11 but the Bush Administration is no longer claiming Iraq was connected to those attacks. There might be operatives of the group Bush has blamed for those attacks but that doesn't mean they are working with the Iraqi government. Furthermore, as I noted on August 21, al Qaida operatives have allied with U.S. allies in the Balkans so if this justification has any merit the U.S. needs to do a lot of rethinking of its policies and practices.
The document also makes a lot out of Iraq's violations of United Nations resolutions as if no other country had ever violated a U.N. resolution and that the U.N. was some independent body in matters of war and peace that could stand up to any country. (I took care of that myth in "Was the United States post September 11 just a Dress Rehearsal?")
But by far the most important section of the document is:
Whereas the United States has the inherent right, as acknowledged in the United Nations Charter, to use force in order to defend itself;In other words the U.S. has the right to defend itself but Iraq doesn't even after years of bombings and sanctions. The second paragraph is backed up by no evidence but I suppose that isn't necessary becasue Bush knows the U.S. are the good guys and Iraq are the bad guys.
If I sound angry about this, it is because I am. The Bush administration is trying to change U.S. foreign policy so that it is explicitly about controlling the world. Bush first outlined the policy in June and, to the credit of him and his advisors, has now issued "The National Security Strategy of the United States of America," a document explaining the strategy in more detail. The basic message is that the U.S. reserves the right to attack any country or group that could become a threat. Since any country and many a group could become a threat, this isn't a workable strategy and so decisions over who to go after will undoubtedly be based on political and economic interests. And the process is going to be secretive. On August 16 Bush said this about debates about Iraq:
Listen, it's a healthy debate for people to express their opinion. People should be allowed to express their opinion. But America needs to know, I'll be making up my mind [as to what to do regarding Iraq] based upon the latest intelligence and how best to protect our own country plus our friends and allies.If the exact reasons for military actions are not to be divulged what is to stop Bush, or one of his sucessors, from just attacking a country without any public justification? The answer, I fear, is nothing.
Team Bush has long wanted to build a a "global Pax Americana" -Neil Mackay of the Sunday Herald has recently reported that Bush's advisors and family wrote such a document well before September 11, 2001- and now it looks like they are going to get their wish.
This is the makings of an empire and opposing it in any meaningful way is not going to be easy. It would be nice if Congress rejected Bush's request for the authorization of the use of force against Iraq but it isn't going to happen. Bush has been smart enough to cloak his desires in getting Iraq to comply with international law and it seems even civil disobedients want that.
The advice I gave in "Stop Debating Iraq" about focusing on the larger picture of what Bush and company are doing seems more relevant than ever and yet I doubt it will make any difference. About the only thing that is going to stop this exercise in empire building is if it becomes something that, due to both internal and external pressures, the White House simply can not build.