Peace Rallies and Ending the Occupation

Saturday (April 29) there was another successful peace rally in New York. Perhaps more than 300,000 attended. There were a number of sister rallies around the nation as well, including here in SLC.

I was not able to attend this rally, though I have attended a couple of large SLC peace rallies in the past. I solidly support and share the general sentiments of the protesters.

I too am outraged that we engaged in the War on Iraq.

I believe President Bush and his administration should be impeached for engaging us in war under false pretenses. By this I mean that the majority of the grounds on which he engaged in the war (Iraq had ties to Al Qaeda and was engaged in a WMD program which threatened American security) were false. At the time the administration was making those allegations, anyone willing to check the validity of their claims could find ample evidence that those claims were questionable (and the idea that Hussein would ally with Al Qaeda was patently ridiculous—how in the world could a paranoid secular dictator align himself with a religious fundamentalist zealot?). Many experts were openly refuting those allegations. Ultimately, the administration’s allegations were proven false. At best, the administration engaged in “wild speculation,” and jumped to conclusions based on incomplete evidence. At worst, they deliberately lied in order to promote their own purposes. Either way, the results of the war have been catastrophic. The occupation has created more ill-will towards the U.S throughout the Middle-Eastern and Muslim world. It has created a haven for Jihadists in the turmoil of Iraq. The decision to conquer Iraq has cost our nation yet untold billions of dollars; even worse, it has led to the death of over two-thousand US soldiers, uncounted thousands of Iraqi combatants and civilians. All of those numbers will continue to rise for the foreseeable future.

There can be no doubt that this qualifies as a “high crime,” and worthy of impeachment, followed by criminal proceedings.

But that is a matter to be further discussed in a future blog entry.

While I do empathize with and in many ways admire peace activists like Cindy Sheehan, I do not agree with their solution. Many of these activists call for immediate withdrawal from Iraq. That simply won’t work. If we leave before order is restored, the region will plunge into complete chaos. The various factions will turn the entire nation into a literal battlefield as they vie for power and seek the ascendancy of their particular sectarian interests. neighboring nations will likely seek to intervene, covertly or directly, in order to promote their own interests. Some new dictator ultimately will rise to fill the vacuum. Iraq will be left even worse than before.

Yet the alternative is hardly more palatable. Our very presence there gives focus for the hate and outrage of various radical entities in the Muslim world. Stay, and we give the appearance of intervening in Iraqi affairs for our own benefit. It adds fuel to the fire of Islamic discontent. And if history is any indication, it would be more than just an appearance of intervention. If we remain, chances are that we establish a permanent presence, and influence the nation to favor U.S. economic interests—likely at the expense of Iraqi interests. We’ve done so before. Why would this time be any different?

That idea is untenable: truly moral, Christian nations do not intercede in other nations for their own interests and needs, but they rather put the interests and needs of the people of those other nations first when they need to interfere in those other nations’ affairs.

The best possible solution would probably be to turn the entire project of rebuilding Iraq (physically and politically) to the U.N, while pledging to pay the costs (we broke it, we should pay for it). But considering this administration’s attitude towards the U.N. that will never happen.

That is perhaps the most sinister aspect of this administration’s decision to drag us into war. We are left in a situation in which there is no good solution. Every option is fraught with peril and morally questionable. Damned if we do, damned if we don’t.

That is perhaps the biggest reason to be disgusted with the disaster into which this administration has dragged us.

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2 Responses to “Peace Rallies and Ending the Occupation”

  1. Thom Says:

    And let’s be honest with out liberal selves, here. The UN has a pretty poor record in Iraq, as well, considering the way they ran the oil for “food” program. I don’t see a better alternative, unfortunately, but I can see why the administration would be hesitant to send in the UN, even beyond their ideological opposition.

  2. Derek Staffanson Says:

    No doubt, the UN is far from perfect. But at least with the UN, there would be some sense of international accountability, some check to any given individual nation’s self-interested manipulations. But whether or not it would be better is moot because of this administration’s ideological opposition.

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