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February 13, 2003 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 2003-02-13

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The Michigan Daily - Thursday, February 13, 2003 - 5A

Inevitable? Necessary? Outlooks on war

NATO's saboteurs and
the lessons of war

With the Senate Armed Services Committee holding
hearings on the possibility of war, NATO bitterly divided
over the security concerns of Turkey and Osama bin Laden
urging an Iraqi uprising against Americans - the shadow
of war is now looming over the breadth of the entire globe.
Has the Left lost it? Saddam needs ousting

Th e
cy of
Robert Kagan
is now appear-
ing before us.
Kagan set off a
fire storm
across Europe
" M last summer
with his essay "Power and Weakness."
The neoconservative intellectual
argued that Europe and America no
longer share a common worldview,
casting into doubt the future of the ven-
erable Atlantic alliance. The combined
efforts of France, Germany and Bel-
gium to deny military assistance, in the
form of AWACS surveillance planes
and anti-missile batteries, to NATO
member Turkey as a defense against

moniker, "Chemical Ali," said
of the Kurds, "I will kill them
all with chemical weapons!
Who is going to say anything?
The international community?
Fuck them! The international
community, and those who
listen to them!" Imperial
ambition, war crimes and a
multilateral effort to oppose
Iraqi aggression means a just
war, QED. But maybe I was
missing something, a few
details that had been lost over
the course of a decade.
Looking back on the
opinion pieces and arguments
against war from that era, it
looks as though the
cognoscenti had become
stuck in time for 20 years.

AP Photo
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and
NATO Secretary-General George
Robertson address reporters Saturday.

possible Iraqi,
an intractablec
We're unc
will eventually
tions in Turk
the creditabili
undergone ir
how this week
affect the futu
detour for a m
A few wee
der what mo
oppose the P
incredibly vag
were some,p
the Gulf
War, but
t h e s e
seemed to
fizzle out as
the war pro-
gressed. In
the conflict
cally justi-
fied. Iraq
had violat-
ed the terri-
t o r i a 1
integrity of
a sovereign
state for the

aggression, have created Looking at newspaper coverage of the
deadlock. time, allegations of imperialism and
certain if these nations racism were pervasive. A sense of
y live up to their obliga- fatigue and powerlessness marks the
ey, but we do know that historical record. Washington Post
ty of NATO has already columnist William Raspberry wrote,
reparable harm. To see "Increasingly it appears that there can
k's events in Brussels will be no military solution." Vietnam
re of conflict, let's take a Syndrome infected the arguments
oment. against war and prevented opinion
eks ago, I began to won- makers from discerning the true
)tivated individuals to nature of Iraq's occupation of Kuwait.
'ersian Gulf War. I had Surely, there would be numerous
gue memories that there references to the Kurdish genocide in
rotests in Washington the popular media. A Lexis-Nexis
search of
for both
1990 and
M ;L 1991 finds
just six
with the
w o r d
x "An fal '
Even more
- all six
the con-
AP Photo clusion of
Secretary of State Colin Powell takes his the Gulf
case to the U.N. Security Council last week. War. A

some from Kosovo (the editors of The
New Republic), others seek their oracle
in Vietnam (Immanuel Wallerstein)
and one person has even looked to the
Roman invasion of Iraq in 53 B.C. as
the key to predicting the result of a
contemporary intervention (she seems
a bit batty, however).
Returning to the original purpose
of this exercise, if NATO and the U.N.
Security Council fold to-the advocates
of unconditional peace, liberal multi-
lateralists will have lost the pragmatic
appeal of their position. The memo-
ries of this failure will set back the
mission of international organizations
indefinitely. Go to NATO, they said.
Go to the Security Council, they said.
A reasonable solution will be bro-
kered. Now, these promises look like
naive wanderlust.
On the Security Council, France,
Germany and Russia agitate for more
weapons inspectors in Iraq, yet Hans
Blix has no interest in more inspec-
tors, knowing that they will be utterly
ineffective. They have no interest in
reinforcing the authority of the
Untied Nations, instead they strive to
thwart the United States by any
means necessary. They dismiss the
United States as unilateral cowboys,
even as the rest of Europe coalesces
behind the United States.
What lessons will future leaders
learn from the first months of 2003?
Eschew coalition building, reject cal-
culated diplomacy, act unilaterally
and mobilize rapidly. Are we witness-
ing the disintegration of 50 years of
international cooperation? The fate of
these institutions now rests with Ger-
man Foreign Minister Joschka Fisch-
er and French Foreign Minister
Dominique de Villepin. Forgive me,
if I lack hope.

Last fall the College Democrats
organized a forum with U.S. Rep. John
Dingell (D-Dearborn) about Iraq. Near
the end of the forum, a man rose and
said he visited the country himself. He
informed us of his opinion that no
weapons of mass destruction existed.
He then told us that the Republican
Guard looked so hungry due to the
"imperialist" sanctions that he raised a
pot of money for them. The man sat
down to a raucous applause. His state-
ments and the following reaction made
me ask: Has the Left lost it?
The answer is that a true progressive
would be begging President Bush to
stop Saddam. Yet because of the far
Left's love of rhetoric and an automatic
negative response to all "King George"
says, it has made its opposition to the
war founded on ideological cynicism
rather than compassion for humanity.
Saddam has violated 16 U.N. reso-
lutions and is in the process of violating
another, flouting the demands of the
Security Council. This man's actions
have done more to invalidate any con-
cept of international law, a progressive
ideal, than any other leader since World
War II. If the council's resolutions are
not implemented seriously with regard
to an evil dictator, isn't its future about
as bright as the League of Nations,
Woodrow Wilson's liberal dream of
world order? In order for the United
Nations to remain relevant in the 21st
century, its resolutions must begin to be
enforced, especially when those resolu-
tions deal with international security.
An American attack on Iraq would not
be a rejection of international law;
rather, it would be a triumph of a 21st
century that no longer tolerates the vio-
lation of those laws.
The anti-war movement qualifies its
statements of opposition to a war by
admitting that Saddam is a tyrant. How
bad is he really? Evil. Liberals in the

United States should demand this sinis-
ter man be removed from office for vio-
lating almost every human right.
Allowing a man with a regime like the
one in Iraq to rule during the present.
day is a status insult to any hopes of a
future in which sovereignty is no longer
a shield that can be used to justify horri-
bly inhumane acts. When the anti-war
movement argues against a war in Iraq,
it is in essence making an argument that
a man who does the following things
has a right to remain in power on the
basis of international law: rapes,
removes tongues, uses WMDs on his
own people, canes the national soccer
team after a loss, gouges eyes, electri-
cally shocks genitals, tortures with acid.
The Left should dream of a world in
which the world community no longer
tolerates such acts.
The activists would also claim that
Iraq poses no security threat. However,
if Iraq had WMDs, it could blackmail
the United States and attack its neigh-
bors. Remember, Hans Blix has stated
unequivocally that Iraq has not cooper-
ated with inspectors. The second and
scarier possibility is that it could give
WMDs to terrorists. The New York
Times reported Sept. 24, 2001 that "the
clear link between ... Osama ... and
Saddam can be found in Kurdistan ...
[where] the Iraqi dictator has armed and
financed ... al-Qaida mullahs." These
terrorists, the Ansar cell of al-Qaida,
have begun producing poisonous chem-
icals for export. Iraq has also given
sanctuary to one of bin Laden's agents,
a weapons expert named Abu Mussab
al-Zarqawi. So what's the deal?
The deal is that some on Left have
subsumed the war issue and interpret-
ed it to support its own agenda. The
simple theory of Bush is bad has lead
to an interpretation of the Iraq policy
as just a manifestation of his idiocy. I
heard a girl say Bush was a hypocrite
for fighting in Afghanistan.and being
pro-life. Someone at the Dingell dis-

cussion said that Dingell would bettet
understand the Iraq issue by reading a
non-biased communist daily.
Consider Act Now to Stop War and
End Racism. These two issues have
nothing to do with each other. Their
lumping together makes them seem like
a "we are opposed to whatever part of
the status quo is controversial" group.
Yes, protesting is cool and has a time
and place. But when the allure of
protesting the entire status quo becomes
too strong, then totally illogical supposi-
tions are created (communism, fascism).
There are plenty of things for which
the Left should crucify Bush, like the
Information Awareness Office. This
domestic organization is the largest
threat to American freedom ever. The
IAO will record your every credit card
purchase, magazine subscription, med-
ical prescription, website, academic
grade, bank deposit and trip. Bush said
if Saddam wasn't evil, then "evil has no
meaning." If the IAO starts, the Consti-
tution will have no meaning. Yet an
important civil rights group, the Insti-
tute for Public Accuracy, decided not to
raise hell about this violation of liberty,
but to send its weapons inspector, Sean
Penn, to Iraq. In the tradition of Hanoi
Jane, Baghdad Sean was able to assure
us that he didn't see anything bad. I just
hope he didn't raise a pot for the
Republican Guard.
Before I finish, I want to say I love
the Left. I shook former Vice President
Al Gore's hand. I wrote this because I
care about progressive ideas and hate
what's happened to them. Yet there is
one group that I want the Left to
remember. When the forum ended, Din-
gell asked those in favor of war to raise
their hands. Myself and one other man
did so. While people were beginning to
file out of the room, I asked the man
why he raised his hand. The answer: "I
am an Iraqi."


Torigian is an LSA freshman.

sole purpose of economic gain. The
United States and its allies won the
approval of the U.N. Security Council
to repel Saddam's forces from Kuwait.
Simultaneously, the Iraqi govern-
ment represented an unrestrained form
of barbarism. Witness the Anfal cam-
paign against Iraqi Kurdistan. Human
Rights Watch estimates about 100,000
Kurds were killed with weapons as
gruesome as mustard gas and the nerve
agent Sarin. The mastermind of the
Anfal campaign, Iraqi Gen. Ali Hassan
al-Majid better known by the charming

calm, objective, rational analysis of the
Iraqi invasion of Kuwait would have
demanded action against Saddam.
Instead, the chattering classes were
reliving the experience of Vietnam,
attempting to divine the probable out-
come and possible consequences based
on a past conflict that had no relation-
ship to the Gulf War.
We can see this form of behavior
right now as writers struggle to find the
historical analogues of the current Iraq
crisis. Some thinkers get their lessons
from World War II (Andrew Sullivan),


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