Why War on Iraq?
This assignment has strengthened and given support to my stance against the war in Iraq. Up until maybe a few weeks ago, I was in a kind of limbo with regard to my opinion on the Iraq situation. I was fairly uninformed “sometime after September 11th, 2001 (and to an extent, even after the 2000 elections), I gave up on most forms of media, but I still had radios and televisions and computers and magazines around. When I came to college, I somehow entered this void in which there remains only my computer and a news website in my “Favorites- list. I had a special disregard for the politics with Iraq. For some reason, unknown to me anymore, I stayed relatively undecided (you believe it’s not possible, but it really is) with perhaps some favor toward the anti-war perspective. I didn’t know “yes, I presumed we were being the bullies here, but maybe I was better off if we had a war. Certainly it would be convenient to be rid of Sadaam Hussein. I had this suspicion that somehow the arguments in favor of use of military force could be argued with, but I had no idea how that was. By the time this assignment was given, I had decided that I at least knew that the justification being given to us for this war was false, and I decided to research this topic to obtain more knowledge. What this assignment has given me is a better strength to my opinion through equipping it with better information. Where once I didn’t know how to sort out the verity of all the arguments, I feel I can now do so at a level that satisfies at least myself, if not perhaps at a level to convince somebody else (say, a pro-war friend). Where I didn’t know what questions to ask myself at the beginning of my research, I feel I can now identify my concerns as the situation in Iraq, in our country, and in the rest of the world progresses.
The biggest insight I have been given is into the character of the United States government, both in its current administration, and in its past. I’ve viewed this country as having the arrogance to run around and be everybody’s babysitter without ever being asked to do so. I appreciate what progress our country has made for its citizens and inhabitants in protecting their freedoms, but I don’t expect that everybody in the world should look to the U. S. as a model. That attitude, however, is held by a large part of the citizenry (an estimate more in my opinion than in statistics, admittedly), and by every incarnation of the administration since the early days of the nation, way back in the good ole illegitimate days even.
The Bush administration and its supporters believe they have the right to decide unilaterally who needs punishment. I disagree that they are in the best position to determine world justice, or in the best position to determine who is dangerous. Susan Wright’s lecture following the history of making Iraq a rogue state was very useful. My Iraq history has been mostly my memories of the Gulf War “Sadaam Hussein was painted as the modern anti-hero during that period. The Iran-Iraq war was among the last breaths of a U.S. History class, barely worth a mention in the rush of testing. I learned that the main impetus for the sudden transformation of Iraq the nightmares of children’s dreams (and such) came first when Hussein invaded Kuwait. At that point, a tradition of regarding any non-Westernized peoples as uncivilized and irresponsible came to be applied to Iraq. So anyone who believes that their entire nation is somehow inherently evil must explain why we did not always recognize them as part of any axis of evil, and for what reasons we chose to do so.
The backdrop of affairs that the September 11th attacks was presented against made it easy for a magical shift of attention back to Iraq following the military action in Afghanistan. By some force that I’m willing to attribute to the tendency of Americans to view the Middle East as homogenous in any degree despite the ongoing conflicts that make it readily apparent that it is not, roughly 50% of Americans in 2002 believe on faith alone that Sadaam Hussein was responsible for any part of the attacks. Whether the Bush administration designed this public opinion somehow, or whether it just got lucky, it now had a anti-Iraq sentiment ready to fuel a doctrine that had been in relative incubation for a number of years.
Through this assignment, I was able to discover that there is an actual doctrine being executed during this war that seeks to tune the world to U.S. dominance in domestic and global policies. This is a point that most average-Joe war supporters (and dissenters, for that matter) won’t ever come across in anybody’s justification for this war. The current administration is feeding on an attitude of “American exceptionalism,”” and since so many successes have been had to escape the era of containment, September 11th had no trouble playing the role of a catalyst to bring rollback policies to full realization without anybody to really stop the U.S. Before this assignment, I was able to say that I disagreed with a pre-emptive war, but now I can reason why this move is particularly dangerous for the U.S. in the precedents it sets in the global community. I very much dislike the idea of “conditional sovereignty- for any nation that was introduced in a question posed near the end of Charlie Bright’s lecture, as I have a lot of personal indigence at the undermining of sovereignty the U.S. has conducted in the course of its history while exerting its own.
On all those points, my view has been given information to support it. On another point, the point of oil and the economy, I have to admit I am still a bit foggy about, but I have generally moved from thinking that perhaps this was a war for oil conducted by Bush and his cronies to seeing that it is likely that is not the case. Previously, I understood in a general sense that we are an oil-dependent economy, and that most of that oil is imported. I had some understanding of OPEC and such, but no grounding in how much of the oil we want comes from where(on a relevant sidenote, I almost used the word “need- there “so many words needed to write this paper have a way of coercing meaning, and I’ve been trying throughout to resist that force). I also knew that this war would cost us money I don’t appreciate spending, but again, the numbers were sorely lacking.
WRITE ABOUT THE MONEY IN A PARAGRAPH
One of the readings (“Is it Oil?-) framed the question of Iraqi oil in the larger oil market and global economic scene to say that it is certainly not the entire picture, nor the driving force for Bush and company to go to war over. From what I understood, it said that part of the Bush doctrine includes pre-emptive war to protect U.S. interests, which clearly include oil. In this case, however, it is just a matter of getting our grubby little hands in the mess, which does not call for war. In fact, as Tom Weisskopf said, it would be easier to just drop the sanctions. In the end, with the way that oil distribution is regulated to be stable, I am convinced through the tables and numbers that increasing oil out of Iraq with our control over it will not be a significant profit to the nation nor the individuals of the Bush administration who may have private interests in it.
As a quick note, I was previously under the impression that perhaps the Bush administration was really using this as a smokescreen for the economy while hoping that war would lift us out of the recession. Obviously, it is more complicated than that. I’m a little challenged in understanding how economies work for one reason or another, so for all I know, the opinion given to me in the same lecture that the economic effects will be small, especially compared to changes in tax policy, is quite untrue. For this reason, I can say that now that voice has been planted in my head, and I will watch for further information about that as I digest. That is, it has not affected my views quite yet, but the change is pending.
Finally, through a combination of this course and another I have taken this semester, I have come to realize that much of my general (not Iraq-specific) anti-war sentiment has an element of cultural concern to it. The first concern, already noted, is that of sovereignty “I think that this country has no idea how to apply what partial success it has had toward protecting the sanctity of multiple cultures to any other region, especially the Middle East. Too few people are educated enough about that region to be able to be their advocates, and the wars being waged and the sanctions being upheld are making it rather unlikely that too few educated advocates will be left to speak for their own people. Had I not chosen this topic, it would not have occurred to me to consider the impact of war (or sanctions, as far as funding goes to keep locks on the doors and simple upkeep like that) on the historical artifacts and collections of materials (museums, universities) of one of the older sites of human history. It is another piece of the U.S. arrogance to think that we can manage cultures “mediate their conflicts, support/punish their people, facilitate the economies that keep them alive “and as a person who has witnessed all her life the rebuilding of a terrorized culture and is now accepting responsibility in its continuation, I have realized that the cultural impact of this war and any other similar actions pursued by this administration’s supporters frighten me considerably.
The information this report has given me has helped me sort out arguments that make sense against the war along with the those that maybe don’t. Furthermore, it has helped me realize my personal place in the current events of the world as I become better able to identify my own concerns and questions to supplement my opinions.