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?