March 18, 2003
There's been a flurry of activity on the Iraq issue recently and I'll try to sum it up here, as well as drop an opinion or two. Sunday afternoon, from the Azores Islands, Bush, alongside the leaders of Britain, Spain, and Portugal, announced that the time for diplomacy would end the following day (Monday). Monday, Bush then announced that Saddam and his sons had 48 hours to leave Iraq or face an invasion. He set the national terror alert code to orange (the second highest), and told all non-essential diplomats and foriegn workers to leave Iraq immediately. Basically, there's a high likelihood we could be at war tomorrow.I support the President in his push for war. I do think it is Saddam's responsibility to face up to his crimes, that he has been given plenty of time for diplomacy, that trying to wait for the UN (i.e. France) to come aboard is not going to happen and is only delaying the inevitable, and that diplomacy had its chance and failed. However, I think some of Bush's words were a little too exaggerated. For instance, he likened Saddam to Hitler (I consider Saddam bad, but not that bad), and, according to the NY Times, he "portrayed the Iraqi threat as one so large and so imminent that it challenges America's survival." I just don't agree with that and even consider it a bit of an insult to America's strength. I'll also add that I think Bush's whole approach towards regime change in Iraq could have been treated more tactfully from the beginning with possibly minimizing the now-large rift between us and Europe. Flaws aside though, I agree with Bush here.
Posted by charr at 8:58 AM
President Bush is a walking foreign relations disaster. While I'm not opposed to disarming Iraq by force, per se, I think the way he's handled the whole situation is ridiculously bad. I firmly believe that this unilateral attack is a mistake-- not because Iraq doesn't need to be dealt with, but because it's seriously damaging relations with the rest of the world.It was interesting to see poll results about popular support for the war. Apparently support for the President has shot up lately. There were a couple of puzzling statistics, though. Despite Bush's association of this war with reduction of terrorist attacks, only 48% of the respondents thought attacking Iraq would reduce terrorism in the long run. And something like 96% of Republicans support the war, so nearly all the opposition is from Democrats and other parties.Anyway, now I just hope that the military gets to act like a military force instead of political policemen as in Somalia and other recent engagements. I have great respect for our armed forces, and I think they'll be successful as long as they're allowed to do their job. Hopefully they'll be able to finish this as quickly and with as few casualties as possible so we can get on with the damage control.
I pretty much agree with you here. However, despite the current international rift that's very much apparent at the moment, and the talk of worsening situations in a unilateral push, I think those fears are exaggerated. There have been many times before where relations have been strained, but they always come back and global economics are too important for the trasatlantic animosity to be permanent. The US has gone to fight without UN approval before (Kosovo's a prime example, though NATO came on board), and this bump (rather than tire spikes) will pass.