As I looked through old files for a short story I had written a number of years ago I came upon a letter-to-the-editor I had submitted to the Minneapolis Tribune in April of 2002. The letter hadn’t been accepted for publication and I forgot about it until I came upon it today. When I read the letter I thought, how preconceptive was that?
A short review of the Iraq situation in April of 2002 will be helpful. The United States had established and maintained a no fly zone in southern Iraq for an extended period and had more recently established a no fly zone and in the north Kurd areas. The UN had inspection teams in Iraq searching for weapons of mass destruction.
The letter read as follows:
Justifying War with Iraq
There are powerful people in the Bush administration that make no secret of the desire to make war on Iraq, more specifically on Saddam Hussein. The justification for such action would be that Saddam is producing, or wants to produce weapons of mass destruction that could be used against the United States. It would be more convenient to have proof that Iraq had been a major player in the 9/11 terrorism, but apparently, that is not the case.
A problem with the weapons of mass destruction scenario is that there probably is not a worse place on earth at this time to attempt to covertly produce weapons of mass destruction than Iraq. Our spy satellites and planes have the country under a microscope, and the United States has or should have if they don’t, an army of agents in the country. It is likely that a vehicle can’t move, a building constructed, a message sent, without our knowledge. Our warplanes control and patrol the airspace over the country, and can, as they have in the past, with the help of cruise missiles, destroy anything deemed suspicious going on in the country.
There would be little doubt about the outcome of any war that the United States super power would conduct against Iraq, a crippled third world country. A lot of Iraq’s people would be killed, much of what remains of the Iraq infrastructure would be destroyed, and Saddam would be deposed. Then what?
We would be in control of a country that has three strong factions, the Kurds, the Shi’is, the Sunnis, vying for power. We would be morally obligated to repair the infrastructure, feed the hungry, house the homeless, get the country running, maintain order for an unpredictable period of time, set up a government. What government? Remember, Saddam was one of our boys in the 80’s.
What would be a better solution? How about maintaining our current tight control over what happens in Iraq, and let time help us solve the problem? Saddam is mortal, he will eventually become history, either due to natures inexorable toll, the actions of his own people, some other incipient incident, none of which would require any overt action on our part.
In the mean time, the Mideast and its seemingly intractable problems will continue on into the foreseeable future. War sometimes may be necessary, but it cannot solve all of the problems in that region, and excessive use of military power could make more enemies than friends, generate more terrorists than it eliminates. If we have a choice, wouldn’t it be preferable for us to use our super power in constructive, not destructive ways, mediate when needed, assist when necessary, and strive to provide a positive influence in the world and in the Mideast?
One error I did make in my assumptions had been to give our intelligence community more capability than they later demonstrated. I hope that is the case and the data had not been intentionally skewed.
In any case the letter demonstrates that I have clairvoyant powers and therefore attention should be given to my vision of the state of the union in 2033 as described in the PushBack book! Actually, it didn’t take much vision to see what would be the result of our country taking military action in Iraq in 2002.