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6B - The Michigan Daily - New Student Edition - Fail 2004

COMMENTARY

IRAQ: A LOOK BACK
BUSH'S WAR AND HOW IT HAS RESHAPED THE WORLD
L You're safe now and by you I mean me

sI

HUSSAIN RAHIM NARCOLEPTiC INSOMN A

MARCH 19, 2004

oy oh boy, do I
wish the rest of the
world could live
where Bush lives. A year
ago to this day, I was
deeply absorbed into my
own domino theories
about the Iraq war and
what it would entail. I had
fantastical visions that
involved a rainfall of nuclear and chemical
weapons, global warfare, Armageddon and
me not making it to 25.
I still haven't made it to 25, but thankfully
Bush was wrong and Iraq turned out to be a
paper tiger. Now bestowed with the always
favored 20-20 hindsight vision, a bit of reflec-
tion on the past year in anticipation of the
future year wouldn't be the worst idea. But let
us start in the present. During a rally at the
Fort Campbell, Ky., military base yesterday,
Bush ignored the world's realities as he issued
a sequence of morale-boosting non sequiturs
to veterans returned from Iraq. While the sol-
diers deserve all the credit imaginable for
doing what I would never do, they also
deserve more than empty words and blind
direction.
By telling the troops "their valor and sacri-
fice had made the Middle East and the world
safer," I wonder exactly what Middle East and
world Bush is talking about. Because if Iraq is
still part of the Middle East and Spain is still
part of the world, then things aren't really
safer. Ask any of the victims of the recent

hotel explosion, the dead missionaries, a mur-
dered reporter or the Spanish train passengers.
In fact, with so many resources diverted to the
maintenance of Iraq it is impossible to give
full attention to global terrorism.
He also told the troops that they had "deliv-
ered justice to many terrorists and they're
keeping the rest of them on the run." They're
running alright, but only after executing their
last attack.
Although tensions fluctuate here at home. I
must say that in America we are safer than a
year ago for no other reason than the fact that
it's easier to direct attacks elsewhere. By draw-
ing others into our singular mission, we
opened the door for a March 11 as well as
attacks on other foreign nations. These attacks
will quickly erode whatever international sup-
port we were able to bully from the world and
leave the United States in a more awkward
position than before.
Spain reacted to its personal tragedy with
the prompt ousting of the Bush-assuaging
government. Other countries won't even need
their own attacks to change course; the Span-
ish incident will be enough for other Euro-
pean nations to realize that they want their
governments to be a more accurate reflection
of their beliefs.
Despite the black-and-white color spectrum
of Bush administration's view, gray shades still
exist in this world. The ramifications of the
Spanish reaction will be debated in political
discourse for generations to come. Was the
ousting of pro-war Prime Minister Aznar's

party a sign that terrorism works? Or did it
show that when a leader drags its populace
into a war with 90 percent disapproval that re-
election hopes are slim? Their urge to with-
draw from Iraq does create a bit of dilemma
for the mission's stability.
By creating such a divisively polarizing
issue, with spurious evidence at its core, the
United States has attracted only fair-weather
friends. I cannot fault them for electing a
government that represents their beliefs
when the 2000 election showed that Ameri-
cans can't even do that. However, Spain's
recent election is being spun by many into an
effort to skirt away from the responsibility of
global terror. No victim of terrorism can
have such naive hopes. But the "either you're
with us or against us mentality" transforms a
difficult and personal election for Spain into
nothing more than an American issue.
A year after the date of invasion and utter
failure of Bush's championed cause to find
any weapons, the president has admitted no
fault nor gained any grasp of reality. Only
recently, in reference to a statement by John
Kerry, Bush was unbelievably quoted as say-
ing, "If you're going to make an accusation in
the course of a presidential campaign, you've
got to back it up with facts." But what was
left out was, "If you're me, you can straight
make shit up."
Happy anniversary.
Rahim can be reached at hrahim@umich.edu.

4

Iraqi citizens watch as a statue of Saddam Hussein topples to the ground in downtown Baghdad,
April 9, 2003.

Choose your own adventure: the dread war caper

SAM BUTLER TI. SOAPBOX

MARCH 8, 2004

JESS PISKOR JOIN m PSKOR

JANUARY 20, 2004

ou are the pres-
ident of the
United States.
I. After an unprece-
dented terror attack at
home, you are faced
with a tough struggle.
Declaring this a war
between good and evil,
you invade Afghanistan
and overthrow the Taliban. However, you
are unable to catch the terror mastermind.
With that campaign sputtering and democ-
racy hard to install, do you:
a. Decide to work with other nations as
a partner to root out terror cells and
build a worldwide alliance devoted to
creating a peaceful world (Go on to X)?
b. Change priorities and invade Iraq
(Go on to II)?
II. You attempt to rally worldwide sup-
port for the invasion. However, many
other nations and their citizens remain
hesitant. Do you:
a. Try diplomacy and wait a few
months to get more allies (Go on to XI)?
b. Forget about international support?
Who needs it anyway (Go to III)?
III. Without international support you
slog on, but come across opposition to
your plans even in the United States. It
seems you will need real reasons if you
want public approval. How do you justify
war with Iraq?
a. Suggest ties between Saddam Hus-
sein and al-Qaida operatives (Go to IV).
b. Raise humanitarian concerns and
cite a pressing need to end Iraqi suffer-
ing (Go to V).
c. Talk about the need to create a sta-
ble democracy in the Middle East and
how Iraq will serve as a model for other
nations (Go to VI).
d. Hype up the threat of weapons of
mass destruction (Go to VII).

IV. Despite the fact that no evidence
of a link exists outside of William
Safire's mad ramblings you press for-
ward with the al-Qaida-loves-Saddam
theory. A majority of U.S. citizens are
convinced Hussein was behind Sept. 11.
Yet this isn't enough to convince the
public, and the media doesn't really buy
it. Without other reasons, your war can-
not happen. (Go back to III.)
V. Appealing to humanitarian necessi-
ty, you attempt to create a feeling of
urgency in the U.S. population. That Sad-
dam had once been a U.S. ally is irrele-
vant. Yet the public wonders what is so
pressing that you can't wait a few more
months for international support. More-
over, the humanitarian argument doesn't
really explain why the focus is only on
Iraq - after all, plenty of other coun-
tries have evil dictators. You don't want
too many people thinking about the
deeper reasons why you want to invade
Iraq. This option therefore cannot work.
(Go back to III.)
VI. Although this directly conflicts
with your campaign assurances that the
United States should not engage in
nation-building, you feel that that was a
few years ago and people will have for-
gotten. Unfortunately, since World War II,
while the United States has won wars, it
has largely failed at installing democracy.
Without international peacekeepers after
the war, you are unlikely to succeed. Hav-
ing abandoned the international commu-
nity, it is unlikely to come to your aid
now. Try another reason (Go back to III).
VII. Exploiting post-Sept. 11 fears in
a jittery populace, you raise the terror
alert to orange and declare that Hussein
could deliver WMDs in a few months if
the United States does not invade imme-
diately. Enough people are appeased by
this justification, and the war begins.

After an easy battle, you scour Iraq but
no WMDs exist. Do you:
a. Stubbornly insist they must exist?
(Go to VIII.)
b. Declare the war wasn't about
WMDs at all but about one of the other
previously unconvincing reasons for
war? (Go to IX.)
VIII. Looking increasingly out of
touch with reality, you face growing pub-
lic outrage over your lies. Intense scruti-
ny is turned on you and your
administration, and more outrageous lies
and shady dealings are uncovered. In a
stunning reversal you lose the 2004 elec-
tion and you spend the rest of your life
trying to find forgiveness for the thou-
sands of U.S. soldiers and Iraqis your
orders killed. The End.
IX. Because you control the present,
you control the past. Declaring the WMD
actually stood for "We Make Democra-
cy" you convince the public that the war
never was about weapons of mass
destruction. The public buys it and the
future never looks darker for democracy
and accountability. The End.
X. Recognizing a powerful yet humble
ally for peace, nations across the globe
react positively to the United States.
Seen not as an arrogant superpower, the
United States starts the 21st century with
a real mandate as a force for peace, tol-
erance and humanity. The End.
XI. You manage to get plenty of allies,
and they work together to overthrow the
dictator and build a stable democracy in
Iraq. The global community is strength-
ened and international precedents are set
that will help ensure dictators cannot rise
to power. The End.
Piskor can be reached
at jpiskor@umich.edu.

VC
NOTABLE QUOTABLE
"*Did I expect George Bush to fuck it up as
badly as he did? I don't think anybody did."
-Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, in an inter-
viewwith Rolling Stone on President Bush 'shandling of the
war in Iraq, as reported Dec. 6, 2003 by The New York Post.
VIEWPOINT
George Bush's brand of freedom MARCH 18, 2004

4

BY JEFF SEGAL

Happy anniversary, lar
JOEL HOARD Ol YEAH? MARCH 22, 2004

nMarch 20,
2003, 1 watched
the televised
beginning of the war in
Iraq like many other
Americans. The argu-
ments in favor of war
laid out by President
Bush in the months
leading up to the inva-
sion made me uncomfortable, and the
president was a bit smug for my liking,
but I was willing to give him the benefit
of the doubt. It all sounded good in theo-
ry. Depose the evil dictator, destroy his
weapons of mass destruction, install a
working democracy and make the world a
safer place for us all. He made it sound so
simple and painless.
One year later, as it turns out, it's actu-
ally complicated and painful. The state of
affairs in Iraq is a mess of epic propor-
tions, and we have more enemies now
than when the whole thing started.
T-;+,.-A l ,,D1

Thus I decided it would be appropriate
for me to lament the president's anniversary
in the only way I know how: by calling him
a liar, belittling him and encouraging peo-
ple to vote for John Kerry.
The anniversary celebration kicked off
when Laura Bush introduced the president
and planted a kiss on his cheek. He joking-
ly wiped his face with a handkerchief as he
sauntered up to the podium. It would have
been cute, if he weren't so evil.
Then with the most Orwellian of
words, Bush told supporters at the rally,
"September 11th, 2001, taught a lesson
I'll never forget. America must confront
threats before they fully materialize." He
boasted that he would "defend the securi-
ty of America, whatever it takes." The
smugness and swagger are still there, and
that's the saddest part of the affair: He
still honestly, in his heart of hearts,
believes he made the right decision in
invading Iraq. He still believes we can
win the war on terror.

icanism abroad, Bush had the nerve to
say "The world is counting on us to lead
the cause of freedom and peace," which
makes it rather unfortunate then that the
president is "going to keep (his) cam-
paign right here in America." One would
think that when it comes to determining
what the world wants, the world would
have a say, but apparently it's best left up
to American voters.
Bush also took the opportunity to lob a
few potshots at his likely opponent in the
upcoming election, Sen. John Kerry. He
criticized Kerry's claim that several for-
eign leaders have offered him their sup-
port and said, "The other day, here in
Florida, (Kerry) claimed some important
endorsements. He won't tell us the name
of the foreign admirers. That's OK.
Either way, I'm not too worried."
Kerry's decision to not disclose the
names of his "foreign admirers" is a wise
one because Kerry, like many of us,
knows that the president would summari-

Exactly 365 days ago, at 5:30 a.m. Baghdad time,
President Bush made the most important decision of
his presidency by lighting up the skies of Iraq with a
dazzling array of American-inspired fireworks. Per-
haps, as on America's celebratory July 4, Bush was
signaling to the Iraqi people that they were finally
free. If only this were truly the case.
In a little more than three months from now -
and more than a year after Bush declared "major
combat operations in Iraq have ended" - the U.S.
will transfer control of Iraq to an interim Iraqi gov-
ernment. While the need for self-governance and
the importance of safeguarding our troops are
undoubtedly vital, this attempt to save political face
by Bush is an encroachment upon all of the goals
we supposedly brought with us to Iraq. By leaving
the country in worse shape than we found it a year
ago, we have not only destabilized an entire region
but we have also created an outpouring of global
anti-American sentiment in the process. The only
way to correctly fix this problem is by increasing
our involvement in Iraq. Simply because the presi-
dent is basing his decisions on a calendar ending
Nov. 2 does not mean the rest of the country - and
world - must follow suit. We broke Iraq; now we
need to fix it.
When Bush launched this war against Saddam
Hussein, he outlined a distinct set of tenets upon
which the war was based. So far, every single one of
them has been wrong. Bush initially described the
war as an operation to "disarm Iraq and to free its

ment for these intentions on the grounds of
hypocrisy. On Nov. 15, when the Coalition Provi-
sional Authority in Baghdad announced that instead
of attempting to create democracy in the classic
sense, it would be handing sovereignty over to an
interim Iraqi government by June 30, the last legs of
support for the war fell off. We provided the ultimate
reproach to morality by leaving Iraq as an anarchis-
tic battlefield. In addition, by delegating the power
over this battlefield to a government that does not
adequately represent the people of Iraq, we have
failed in creating any true sense of democracy. It is
quite easy to come to the conclusion that the war in
Iraq had no purpose. Even conspiracy theory reason-
ing has faltered, as showcased by the fact that this
week gas prices around the United States reached an
all-time high. Bush's war in Iraq has been a com-
plete failure.
Looking forward to the year to come, we must
recognize today's world is no safer than it was
before we forced Saddam Hussein to become inti-
mate with a hole. The recent bombings in Spain
are an absolute testament to this. In order for a
recovery to occur, we must make confronting this
lack of safety our priority. The United Nations
must join with the United States in creating a true
global coalition in Iraq, not just a group of coun-
tries on White House puppet strings. Successful
postwar democracies have been created by the
United States in Germany and Japan and the same
can be done in Iraq - it just takes time. Millions
of Americans will understandably be angered by
the great cost this reparation will bring. Sadly, we
ind grin and1'~ har it - this i s h. cr vthat

4

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