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Thursday, September 26, 2002
I've thought of another possible explanation for why the Bush Administration is not playing up its accusation that Iraq and al-Qaida are connected.
I've argued in numerous entries, including "Imperial Ambitions" and "Stop Debating Iraq," that the Bush Adminstration is setting a precedent that will allow it and future administrations to attack just about any country they want to attack on the grounds that the United States has the absolute right to control other countries. Althought this might sound like a wild idea, I have back up these entries with the actual documents and statements of the White House. Team Bush hasn't come right out and told the world that they are becoming a full fledged empire in the classical sense but neither have they been hiding it.
Critical to this project is the idea that the U.S. should be attacking countries that have not attacked the U.S. Connecting al-Qaida to the government of Iraq might not technically be the same as connecting the Iraqi government to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks but my guess is that few Americans care to know the difference. Making the connection does bolster Bush's case for conquering Iraq but it also ties the administration to the old-fashion idea of waging war against countries that have first attacked the U.S. or at least intend to attack the U.S. Nearly four months after first arguing for premptive strikes against countries and groups that could potentially harm the U.S., Bush might not want to give up on the argument that the U.S. should attack Iraq because Iraq could be a threat.
There are of course other enemies in the world but none of them -not even Fidel Castro- have been as effectively made into a demon as Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. Nobody doubts that he is a bad guy and the idea that there might be some logic to his actions isn't considered by most. In other words, if Bush doesn't convince the U.S. Congress and public that Hussein shoudl be overthrown because he could be a threat, who can Bush safely assume he can convincingly make such an agrument about? And if Bush can't make that argument or get the congress and public to just accept the U.S. regularly taking over countries without proof of a threat, then the whole empire project is off.
The more I think about it, the more I come to believe that this is most likely explanation.