Skip to comments.Bush's motive? Security (Good read)
Posted on 12/13/2002 1:09:02 PM PST by Heartlander2
Why is George W. Bush so determined to get rid of Saddam Hussein? There are all sorts of popular theories, none of them very flattering to the President -- and none very convincing, either.
According to an international poll published last week, most people outside the United States don't buy the White House argument that Mr. Hussein is a threat. Some believe Mr. Bush's real motive is to control Middle East oil. About 75 per cent of the public in France, 54 per cent in Germany and 44 per cent in Britain think it's "all about oil."
Others think it's all about politics. Mr. Bush is tilting at Iraq to deflect attention from his country's faltering economy and ensure his re-election in 2004. Still others say it's all about family. Mr. Bush is trying to finish the job left uncompleted by his father in the 1991 Persian Gulf war.
Nonsense, all of it.
If Mr. Bush wanted to sew up Mideast oil supplies, he would not start a war that could push up oil prices in the short term and potentially sour relations with Arab countries. A president obsessed with oil security would simply cut relations with Israel and curry favour with the oil-producing nations that oppose it. Instead, he has moved closer to Israel.
As for politics, Mr. Bush learned at his father's knee that being a war leader doesn't make you a shoo-in. The elder Mr. Bush won the gulf war and lost the next election to Bill Clinton, who focused on the administration's economic failures (under the slogan, "It's the economy, stupid").
Family honour? Mr. Bush has nothing to prove. His father won the gulf war, after all. If anyone is motivated by a thirst for revenge, it is Mr. Hussein, who was humiliated in 1991 and would dearly love to take it out on the son.
What, then, is Mr. Bush's real reason for confronting Iraq. The answer is plain. It is fear. Ever since Sept. 11, Mr. Bush and his inner circle have been deathly afraid that the enemies of the United States would make a second, even more devastating attack on Americans.
If terrorists armed with box cutters could kill 3,000 in a morning, what might they do with nuclear, chemical or biological weapons? That is the question that has consumed the Bush White House for the past 15 months. Facing it has to mean facing Mr. Hussein, the only man who has actually used weapons of mass destruction in war.
And facing him means more than sitting back and waiting for him to act. If American vulnerability was the first lesson of Sept. 11, the second was the obsolescence of traditional defence. Despite its vast military might, the United States had no real deterrent that day. All its missiles and Stealth bombers and aircraft carriers were as useless as children's bathtub toys.
Mr. Bush and his circle came to an obvious conclusion: If the United States could not defend against such attacks, it would have to go after the perpetrators and their supporters before they could strike again. Thus the doctrine of pre-emption that Washington invokes to justify going after Iraq and its weapons of mass destruction.
In his book Bush at War,The Washington Post's Bob Woodward shows that the White House considered taking on Iraq right after Sept. 11, because of the fear that Mr. Hussein might hand over weapons of mass destruction to terrorist allies for use against Americans. Mr. Bush decided to focus on Afghanistan first, but Iraq was always high on the hit list.
Mr. Bush is often portrayed overseas as a rip-roarin' cowboy and his country as a global bully. In fact, the post-Sept. 11 United States is still a rather shaken place, its leaders driven by an almost desperate drive to avert the catastrophe they see in their nightmares.
That has certainly meant a more aggressive Washington. But it could mean a more constructive one, too. When he came to the White House, Mr. Bush was skeptical about getting involved in the world's quarrels. Now that he has seen the effects of a disorderly world, he and his administration are talking about a grand agenda to spread democracy and prosperity.
But that is for the long term. Meantime, it is pointless to speculate about why George Bush really wants to get rid of Saddam Hussein. Nothing could be less mysterious. He wants to do it because he believes that, if he doesn't, tens of thousands of Americans could die.
That may not satisfy the conspiracy theorists and professional anti-Americans, but, in the end, American motives are as simple and as honourable as that.
Well, that's part of it, but not nearly the main part. Think about it: now that Afghanistan has been neutralized, who are the three biggest supporters of anti-Western terrorism in the world?
I would say Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia.
Each of them shares a long border with Iraq. Once we occupy Iraq, we have all three within a very short reach of a substantial American force. Iraq is a pawn (OK, maybe a bishop) that just happens to be sitting on a very useful square.
For them it is all about oil. Where would France get its oil otherwise? What these countries are afraid of is being more beholden to the USA. After Bush opens a case of Texas whoopass on Iraq, these countries will have to deal with the USA in one form or another for their oil.
"Mr. Hussein, the only man LIVING who has actually used weapons of mass destruction in war.
To which I toast President Truman, who did the right thing.
Indeed. If only all those wacky nay-sayers were smart enough to sharpen up their Occam's Razors.
Judging from the press- newspapers, wire services, networks, talk radio, internet- almost nobody has grasped this.