Well.. this would be a first for me since graduating college. Writing. I haven't sat in front of a computer and put thoughts down without it being something completely useless (facebook, myspace). I do miss writing and doing research. I am constantly keeping up on current events, research, and discovery of new ideas but without a deadline to submit a paper or some form of research, it makes it easy for something to be thought about one moment and forgotten the next. The purpose of starting a blog is to give me something to do, as well as engage in discussion with others about things going on in the world. Whether it be about sports, politics, music, religion or something going on in life, it is beneficial to discuss things with other people. It can make you a better, more educated person.
As the first topic, I want to discuss the Iraq war and whether the costs have out weighed the few benefits we have gained from the decision to overthrow Saddam Hussein in 2003.
First we must discuss the pretexts. Most people know the pretexts. WMD's, Sponsor of Terrorism, part of the Axis of Evil, violation of U.N. treaties, so on. Now to many people, one of those pretexts would be sufficient reason to send an overstretched military into a 2nd country. The question is, where all these reason true? Other than the genocide of the Kurdish people (which would be a perfectly justifiable reason), all the other reasons were horribly elaborated or flat out not true. Let us start with WMD's.
WMD's (Weapons of Mass Destruction) could potentially lead to the end of the world. Biological weapons can terminate entire populations while leaving the hard resources intact. Chemical and nuclear weapons have the potential of total destruction. There are reasons to keep these weapons out of the wrong peoples hands (even though the five permanent members of the U.N security council control the majority of these weapons). Japan experienced this first hand in 1995 with the Sarin gas attack of a subway in Tokyo (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarin_gas_attack_on_the_Tokyo_subway) These weapons can be very dangerous. In context to Iraq, this is known. Iraq did possess biological and chemical weapons in the 1980's and early 1990's. These weapons were used to kill an estimated 1 million Iranian soldiers in the Iran-Iraq war from 1980-1988. These weapons were used against the Kurdish people in Northern Iraq because it was believed they were helping the Iranian's spy on Iraq. This was proven to not be true and was a case of genocide. We'll come back to genocide later.. The major reason we decided to go to war was because it was believed that Iraq possessed these weapons, was trying to acquire yellow cake uranium from Niger which could be used in the making of a nuclear weapon and would try in the near future to attack the United States, United States interests in the Middle East (Saudi Arabia) or for an attack on Israel. Well this would have been a perfectly fine reason to go to war except we came to find out none of this was true. Sure Iraq did possess biological or chemical in the 1980, there was no reason to believe that they were still making these weapons or expanding their programs. There was no nuclear program in Iraq as the site was blown up by Israeli war planes in the 1980s. The connection to Niger was fabricated. United Nations investigators could not find any evidence to suggest any activity in any of the above mentioned fields. However, the United States did what it wanted and invaded anyway. Let us go on to Sponsor of Terrorism.
The pretext to go to war in Afghanistan was that the ruling regime, the Taliban, was allowing terrorist operations and training to be conducted within its boarders. The United States did have right to go after these operations (though to be honest, Pakistan has more of these training facilities than Afghanistan and more problems but that will be a topic for another day). Iraq had no connections to Al-Qaeda. Saddam's Secular regime in Iraq would have viewed Al-Qaeda as a threat to its government for not being strictly based on Islam. Al-Qaeda is predominately Sunni Muslim based (though these people are not living by the true words of the Quran). Iraq has a majority Shia population. There are no known connections between Iraq and Al-Qaeda. None. It is in the 9/11 commission report (flawed but I digress). So the reason to go to war is flawed in that scope. Let's go back to Genocide and talk about that.
Genocide is a terrible act. It has been used to try to exterminate entire populations of people. Acts of genocide have been conducted around the world and sadly for the most part, they have gone ignored. When we first went to war with Iraq it wasn't because they had just killed over 100,000 of its own people, it was because it invaded and occupied its oil rich neighbor to the south, Kuwait. Now if we wanted to act on this, this would have been an acceptable reason but then again we never acted when genocide happened in Cambodia in the 1970s, Angola in the 1970's and 1980's, Rwanda in the 1990's. We only go in when its going to benefit us in the end. The case of genocide was not reason enough.
So why did we go to war with Iraq. Well, I have a couple of theories.
First and foremost theory is the oil. Iraq is extremely oil rich. With the rise of China and India, the demand for Oil has skyrocketed. As we go into the future, it is important dominate countries to maintain a supply of oil. Us going into Iraq means the the United States was able to stake claim to the Oil. Big oil in American helped build pipelines and continues to build refineries in Iraq. Oil is the lifeline to much of the world.
Another Reason. It meant more military bases in the trouble Middle East. Military power in the Middle East is key to control. We now have bases in Afghanistan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey. All these countries share a border with Iran. Iran, according to president Bush, is apart of the Axis of Evil. The United States, Israel and few European countries believe that they are working on a nuclear weapon (I don't buy into this considering Iran has a lot of other problems and would not want to face the possibility of going to war with either the United States or Israel). However, if something suspicious was going on in Iran, it would be easy to conduct war from Afghanistan or Iraq.
A list of Pros to going to war in Iraq.
1.Supply of Oil (This is a gain for the United States but I don't view it as the solution)
2.More Military bases.
3.A dictatorship removed.
A list of Cons to going to war in Iraq
1.A fragile country that is politically broken between Sunni's, Shiite's, and Kurds
2.An empowered Iran that is asserting political clout in the new Shiite government in Iraq and wanting to expand its influence in the Middle East.
3.Multi-Billions of dollars spent while the United States economy went to hell.
4.World wide image of us being the world police. Doing what we want to do whenever we want to do it.
5.Thousands of civilian deaths.
6.Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay.
Was it worth it?