And then it hit me...

After yesterday's round of debates, it started to think of about several things, Iraq, Syria, oil, weapons of mass destruction, and the like. While brushing the old chompers with the Sonicare, I mentally went through all the justifications used by the Administration for this war in Iraq and what is shaping up to be a war on Syria and then Iran while at the same time going through all the counter-arguments and counter-counter-arguments:

Stopping the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction: I had just watched a brilliant documentary on PBS called Avoiding Armageddon that last night focused on nuclear weapons. One contributer semi-postulated the idea that nations such as Iran were trying to develop their own nuclear weapons to get in the position of North Korea, where the US would be "forced" to negotiate. If the US wanted to send a message about WMD and specifically nuclear weapons proliferations to rogue nations like Syria and Iran, it would've attacked and destroyed North Korea's stockpile of weapons rather than Iraq's. That would send a message to those rogue nations that even having nuclear weapons and WMDs won't save you. So, that motive for going to war with Iraq and advancing towards Syria are in question.

Oil: The Administration says the oil is for the Iraqis to use to rebuild their country, its detractors say that the war was only about taking control of that oil for companies that the Administration has had connections with. There certainly are some suspicious goings on with the oil. Why was the military so bent on securing the oil fields before any other strategic objective in Iraq? Why are the leading contractors for rebuilding the infrastructure of Iraq such big contributors to the Republican Party? But, there is one counter-argument to that that nobody thinks of: if it was about oil, President Bush could just buy it from his close friends in the Saudi oil regime. Getting a percentage of oil sales from Iraq is a fringe benefit, but not the core motive.

Regime change and liberating the Iraqis: No one will claim overthrowing Saddam Hussein is a bad thing; most skeptics question why it was done when it was done. Skeptics will cite several other dictators around the world either propped up or ignored by the US that are just as cruel as Saddam Hussein. Another issue is why the US is keeping out other nations from participating in the reconstruction of Iraq, including a couple of the members of the so-called "Coalition of the Willing." Why not let in international peacekeepers to ease the burden off of battle-fatigued US soldiers and marines? Why not let in companies from the UK, Australia, and Spain to help in the country they helped to liberate? These lingering doubts call into question the "compassionate" motives for going to war. Also, with talk of confronting Syria and Iran on WMDs, where is the parallel talk of how "evil" President Bashar Assad of Syria and President Mohammed Khotemi of Iran are?

Combatting terrorism: Gulf War I and its aftermath created al-Qaeda. Some argue and believe that Osama bin Ladin and Saddam Hussein are closely linked. However, they forget that in 1990 Osama bin Ladin offered his mujahadeen from Afghanistan to protect Saudi Arabia from Saddam Hussein, a Communist infidel just like the Soviets in Afghanistan. When the Saudis called on the US for help, bin Ladin was incensed and al-Qaeda was born in the first bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993. Although some terrorists and terror groups have located, captured, and killed some terrorists with loose ties to al-Qaeda, these terrorists were considered renegades by the Iraqi government. Some will no doubt say that Abu Abbas' capture in Baghdad proves Saddam harbored terrorists. Abu Abbas is not associated with al-Qaeda; he is more closely linked to Yassir Arafat than Osama bin Ladin. And the al-Qaeda terrorist that Saddam was accused of sheltering in Baghdad last year was executed by the Iraqi secret police; with hospitality like that, one can see why al-Qaeda would see Iraq as a safe haven for their ranks.

Peace and stability: War and regime change are the antithesis of those two terms. Strike that one from the list.

No, I finally started to realize something when I started to connect Iraq, Syria, and Iran. It isn't so much that their in some secret dictator alliance; it is something they all have in common from the 1980s...

Once upon a time there was an actor named Ronnie who came out against Communists in the ranks of the Hollywood elite. Politicians praised him while some of his peers felt he would turn them over to the FBI without batting an eyelash. Eventually, Ronnie became governor of a state called California and sheparded that state from a little conflict called Vietnam, where he ordered the National Guard to use force to put down protests at his state's universities and cities. Eventually, Ronnie thought about running for highest office in the land, but he had small, smiling, and overwhelmingly likeable obstacle in his way.

Once upon a time there was a president named Jimmy who was well liked. Even though the economy was in crisis and the oil barons from the Middle East had slashed oil production, most people thought Jimmy was a shoe-in to get reelected in 1980. Until the evil mean terrorists of Iran went and captured the staff of the US embassy there. Jimmy tried to negotiate, and that failed. Jimmy sent in troops to save them, and that failed miserably. Candidate Ronnie promised that he could free them, and lo and behold, he won the election in 1980.

President Ronnie became like God on Earth to his followers during his reign. The hostages were freed. He fought the bad economy and won. But Ronnie didn't stop there. He faced down the likes of Mikhail Gorbachev, Muhmar Qadafi, and Walter Mondale and won. These were all great victories and when he left office in 1989, he handed the throne to his proverbial crown prince George the Forty-First. Ronnie's disciples, calling themselves either Reaganites or Neo-conservatives, were quite pleased. But there were a few lingering clouds that hung over the 80s that quite displeased the Reaganites.

First, in order to free the hostages, the Reaganites (after Watergate, they were smart enough to leave Ronnie away from the actual planning of the act) agreed to sell weapons to the terrorists while funneling the money from the sales to rebels fighting leftist governments in South America. Several of the Reaganites closest to Ronnie got stung, but most escaped prosecution. Still though, the leader of the terrorists Ayatollah Khomeni continued to preach the destruction of America unimpeded in Iran. This was cloud number 1 over the Golden Age.

A second problem was a little conflict in a country called Lebanon. Many Americans died and were forced out by forces hailing from a country called Syria led by a President named Assad. Syria to this day still controls Lebanon and their troops hang out not far from the barracks that housed the Marines killed in Beirut. Cloud number 2.

The third cloud really didn't reer his moustached head until after Ronnie left office. In order to help fight the Iranians, the Reaganites turned to the Iranians worst foe, Iraq, run by a man called Saddam. This Saddam was equally evil as the terrorists running Iran, but that didn't bother the Reaganites. It also didn't bother the Reaganites that Saddam was a Communist just like Gorby, whom Ronnie often sparred against. They sent their special envoy Rummy to meet with Saddam and give him weapons, aide, and intelligence. They sent another envoy Dickie to talk about Saddam's greatest tressure: oil. With Iraq and Iran destroying each other and not America and its friends, this seemed like a good deal.

At least it did until Saddam turned on the Reaganites by invading the friendly country of Kuwait. By that point, George 41 was in power with many of top Reaganites, including the up-and-coming Paulie. Outraged by this betrayal by Saddam against a deal made with the lord Ronnie, George 41's response was swift and decisive. But, George could only push Saddam out of Kuwait. He couldn't exact the kind of revenge in the name of Ronnie they thought was necessary. The George 41 was forced out of office by Bubba, a man with several qualities in common with old Jimmy. "How can this be?" asked the Reaganites. "We have given this country over a decade of prosperity and vanquished several of its greatest foes! They should love us!"

It got worse for the Reaganites. Not only did Bubba not "finish" the job against Saddam, he also reached out to Assad and the Iranians led by their democratically elected president, Mohammed Khotemi. "How can this be?" asked the Reaganites. "Both the Syrians and the Iranians killed our people! We should be destroying them!"

Once Bubba had to leave office, the Reaganites offerd up a show-horse named George the 43rd, the son of George the 41st. The Reaganites viewed this as their chance to sweep away the three dark clouds that hung over Ronnie's legacy. First Iraq, then Syria, then Iran. Unfortunately, something got in the way...

Once upon a time there was a man named Osama who hated America. He hated America for many reasons, but one of those big reason was because they fought with Saddam instead of him. So Osama had his followers fly planes into a few American buildings as payback. Of course, the Reaganites had to respond to this, so they sent troops to stop Osama, even though Rummy suggested to show-horse George that now would be a good time to launch the big plan. "Heck," said Rummy. "We could tell the American people that Osama and Saddam are friends. It may not be true but if we say it while everyone's panicking, they'll believe us!"

George the show-horse decided that Osama needed to go before the Reaganites could embrace their plan. So America went into Osama's home in Afghanistan and kicked he and his people out. They didn't capture him, but that wasn't necessary. So after Osama, the Reaganites launched their big plan to avenge their lord Ronnie by first starting with Iraq. However, not everybody wanted to sign on with the plan. People named Jacques, Gerhardt, and Vlady protested. Even Americans protested. "How can this be?" asked the Reaganites. "Saddam is evil! He needs to go."

But despite all this protest, the Reaganites went ahead and overthrough Saddam. Once they had Iraq, they could move on Syria and Iran...

Yes folks. These wars are not about money, WMDs, oil, freedom, or peace; it's about revenge. Reagan may have defeated the Soviets, the Libyans, and the Democrats, but what has bothered his followers for years is a string of failures in the Middle East for their lord God. They may publically promote Reagan's victories, but for years they stewed over the disasters of Beirut, Iran-Contra, and Saddam Hussein. So when the Neo-Conservatives had a second shot at fixing this problem by hitching their wagon to George W. Bush, they took it. And look what happened. Saddam is gone and Syria and Iran are on the chopping block. Now Reagan shall be avenged and once again the Neo-Conservatives will begin to reshape the world back to their image of how things should be. America shall be the law of the land, all nations will either embrace America or its values, or they will be destroyed. Well folks, how do you feel about that? Think that the world would be better off as the United Planet of America? Think that the world would be better off with statues of Ronald Reagan and the Georges Bush erected in all public plazas? Think that you'd last long if you voiced your dissent against the Pax Americana?

I think someone has been snorting too much Raid.

You''re very quick to point out faults of the US, and more times then I can count, have suggested how we''re all doomed.

Yet, I''ve never seen you offer anything helpful to the discussions in the way of policy improvement. That tirade you went on, though entertaining, leaves out one little factor: the American voter. Though, I would guess you think the average American has been brain washed by the Republican party?

Yelling fire in a crowded movie house is ok to save some folks from burning, but its not ok just to see how many will jump out of their seats. You''re ''wolf crying'' is starting to get old. Back up some of your points and we''ll address them. Telling us we''re run by evil powerhungry revenge seeking trolls isn''t the sort of intellectual discourse I''ve come to expect from you.

(not a flame, btw)

"Yomm" wrote:

I think someone has been snorting too much Raid.

Thats what I sorta was thinking, however ....

You''re very quick to point out faults of the US, and more times then I can count, have suggested how we''re all doomed.

How does that say were all doomed? It looks like to me hes speculating about the motives of the current War(s)

Yet, I''ve never seen you offer anything helpful to the discussions in the way of policy improvement. That tirade you went on, though entertaining, leaves out one little factor: the American voter. Though, I would guess you think the average American has been brain washed by the Republican party?

Where does the American voter fit into what he said? I dont understand where factoring in the American voter suddenly makes his argument insensible.

Yelling fire in a crowded movie house is ok to save some folks from burning, but its not ok just to see how many will jump out of their seats. You''re ''wolf crying'' is starting to get old. Back up some of your points and we''ll address them. Telling us we''re run by evil powerhungry revenge seeking trolls isn''t the sort of intellectual discourse I''ve come to expect from you.

(not a flame, btw)

A couple of points here.
1) Were always run by evil powwerhungry revenge seeking trolls. Everybody always has been, its what leaders are. Doesnt mean they arent also something else.
2) Again, how is he crying wolf? I dont think he said we were all doomed, I thought he was speculating on motive. The last paragraph just seems like a prompt for discussion.

Overall, I think the length of the read probably required some of the entertaining tone to keep the reader interested. However, I think that the tone also went a little too far, and sort of weakened your argument Rat Boy. If you''d had some more facts intersperced with the nicknames, it could be a pretty decent argument. At any rate, its definately some food for thought.

(not a flame, btw)

Then I am most definitely not looking forward to seeing what one of your flames actually looks like.

I''m not actually on board with Rat Boy here. I think a long standing conflict between America, Iraq, Iran, and Syria certainly plays a part, but isn''t the crux of the plan. Still, I get a little tired of the ''if you don''t have a plan, you don''t count'' rebuttal. It''s no more valid than Rat Boy''s ""tirade"". Let me exaggerate to draw a point.

The Elysium Proves A Point Skit:

- Guy in blue shirt says ""Wow, that guy in that red shirt stole my lunch box!""
- Guy in red shirt stage left, laughs
- Guy in green shirt says ""He did! That bastard. I''m going to blow him up with this howlitzer.
- Guy in green shirt blows up guy in red shirt with a howlitzer.
- Guy in blue shirt says ""hey, you can''t go around blowing up people with howlitzers without a pretty good reason.""
- Guy in green shirt says ""Hey, you didn''t have a better idea, so your opinion doesn''t count!""

Fin

Ok, fundamentally flawed on some levels I presume, but maybe I can rephrase it a bit. Let''s say I have a broken leg. I''m no doctor so I don''t necessarily have a good plan for fixing my broken leg, but I''m also pretty sure I don''t want you chopping one or both legs off. The fact that I don''t know how to fix a broken leg, doesn''t mean I shouldn''t have an opinion on Draconian measures.

The point is, recognizing a flawed plan without having an alternative is part of a discussion, and not a disqualification.

And that''s all I was after. A theory (one that I hope isn''t true; I''d like to think our constitutional republic isn''t run by Captain Ahab and Hamlet) that I offered that fits the facts. The bedtime story, while overdramitized for ease of reading, does follow a certain element of truth in terms of the players. Rumsfeld, Cheney, and Wolfowitz are devout believers in the Reagan method. They, and the Republican Party, were bewildered by Clinton (a draft dodger in their eyes, besides being an adulterer) beating a war-hero and wartime president, so much so that the Party set out to expose all of Clintons misdeameanors to turn the nation against him. They have been pushing for the war in Iraq since at least 1997. Now they have won the proverbial Super Bowl, what''s next?

"Elysium" wrote:

The point is, recognizing a flawed plan without having an alternative is part of a discussion, and not a disqualification.

Agreed, which is why Ratboy forced me to start another post trying to start from the begining. [See Real World vs What we''d like to see]

My overall point however, is more often than not, I''ve seen Rat post something about the horrible state of affairs we are in, and not back it up with anything. I could just as easily search the web, and find an article that says the exact opposite.

There''s not a person here whom I don''t respect, but I''d rather hear well thought out arguments then some blanket statment thrown into the pit.

Pyro:
Where does the American voter fit into what he said? I dont understand where factoring in the American voter suddenly makes his argument insensible.
====================================
I''m suggesting that as a democracy, the voters dictate the policy, not the adminstration. Blaming the leaders but not the people who put them there is just silly. Saying that years of revenge dictates our international policy fails to take into account that the voters have, in essence, voted for it all.

Pyro:A couple of points here.
1) Were always run by evil powwerhungry revenge seeking trolls. Everybody always has been, its what leaders are. Doesnt mean they arent also something else.
2) Again, how is he crying wolf? I dont think he said we were all doomed, I thought he was speculating on motive. The last paragraph just seems like a prompt for discussion.
======================================

I think we have to make a distinction between trolls and self-interest [see Real World vs How we''d....] being evil and powerhungry (ie. Saddam) is a far cry from protecting your self and insuring your people are well cared for in the international arena (ie. Ghandi,)
As for point #2, you''re right, and I take it back.

Fair enough, Yomm. I''ll trot my hiney over to your new thread and post all new opinions that many will be happy to slam there. I''m looking forward to it, in fact.

I think the problem we are now facing is not what motives were behind this war, but what the outcome of this whole affair brings for us all in the near and not so near future.

First for you Americans this outcome means you have two choices:

1. Do the rebuild for yourself maybe with some of your allies in the coalition of the willing. That means it will cost you quite a lot of money, but your economy may still benefit from it as you get quite a few deals out of the rebuild process. As it currently stands your soldiers might have to stay there for quite some time for peace keeping. A reason for this is that most of the republican guards and mercenaries just disappeared. This hints to partisan fights in the near future within Iraq.
Another reason is that someone has to supervise the police units in Iraq for the time being. A lot of the people who volunteered for this job were the ones who had the same job when Saddam was in Power. Granted not all of these are corrupt cops, but you at least have to assure that at least the higher ranks are not corrupt and still loyal to saddam.
All this means that you will have quite a lot of your troops bound to the area and not available for other conflicts that might arise. More on that later.

2. Include the UN in this process. This would mean your troops would be available for other tasks, as UN soldiers would take their job in Iraq. Downside is that you do not have as much control over the situation as you have now. The reason why this still should be considered by the US is as follows:

America finally got the role it was always keen on: Policemen of the world. This is the outcome of the current US foreign policy which equals to ignoring the UN as long as they don''t act as the US administration pleases.
The whole time the US insisted on acting on their own behalf and even without UN sanction. Bush stated several times that he sees the UN more as a debating club than a serious organisation.
While I agree that the UN and also the ICC is not as functional as it should be (read: remove those vetos) it still represents the lowest common denominator all countries can agree on. Before the UN countries solved their conflicts by threatening each other or even worse lobbing some bombs at each other. Countries are threatening each other now as well, but at least if there is a serious crisis the councils came together and debated instead of invading in the first place. To me personally this surely is an improvement of the situation as it was.

But now all this might become meaningless. Basically this is the effort of some terrorists. In the end it does not even matter if Bin Laden was behind the 9/11 attacks or someone else. It was the perfect reason to go on a major rampage at some other countries with more or less full UN sanction. That means you had a great share of countries behind your goal to fight terrorism.

All this changed though when Bush declared several countries an axis of evil that had nothing to do with the 9/11 attack directly. All the religious references apart about the fight of good (US) vs evil (axis of evil) Bush is so keen on, this was not really a smart move. Because it meant pointing fingers at some regimes and threatening them directly. Because it meant fighting terrorism no longer meant getting rid of terrorist groups but reorganizing a whole region. This became even worse since the list was completely biased. As Rat Boy said it seems mostly the countries the US holds a grudge against are on the list. Take Saudi Arabia as an example. A lot of the terrorists of the 9/11 attacks were trained at Saudi Arabia some say even with government support. Interestingly it is nowhere near a classification of being an ""evil country"".
A lot of people may agree that the countries on this list are all dictatorial or fundamental islamic regimes. Still a lot of countries are not very eager at going to war again.
Still the US went to war even without UN sanction.

As of now there are no plans to sanction this move. For the UN this means that the US decided to just ignore them. For other countries this means that they can ignore the UN as well. They can just point fingers at the US and their foreign policy to justify their cause.
Current example of this is India and Pakistan openly thinking about preemptive strikes against each other to defend themselves. And who is there to stop them in case they decide for that? The UN? It is unlikely that either country will accept the UN as a negotiator as the US already declared them meaningless. Plus how are we going to sanction moves like that when we did not sanction the move of the US? To me applying sanctions to the US for this seems ridiculous as they got the world rid of a ruthless dictator. This is a dilemma for the UN. In the end it means the only country capable of stopping moves like India or Pakistan are thinking about, is the US.

So either way, like it or not, in the near future the US will have a lot of conflicts to solve. You are now the only global player and have to act like one.
Mmh there is still more on my mind about this, but it is getting late here and work starts early tomorrow. Hope my rant was not too confusing to you :).