Conversation Corner
St. Francis of Assisi, Patron of Peace

Does the military action the U.S. is contemplating against Iraq meet the standards of a just war?


  

Date: 4/2/2003 11:58:01 AM
Name or Pseudonym: jenny
Subject: War in Iraq

Jenny F.’s Comment on the war in Iraq. March 2003

It is true, I may not be the best person to comment on the role of the U.S. Military in Iraq. I have no real credentials and admittedly know little about the Geo-political dynamics of the Middle East. I am truly nothing more then a fairly well educated, liberal minded, Middle American housewife. I am not wholly without credibility, however. Sadly, I have watched many a “battle” carried out right under my nose. However, in stark contrast to the Middle Eastern landscape, our battleground is a quiet suburban backyard with only one swing and four children vying for it. It is on these all too frequent occasions, in which all of my darling offspring desire the same object, that I have learned the delicate art of diplomacy and negotiation. I have to admit, my skills, even in this small arena, are not up to par, but nevertheless, I have learned a great deal from observing both the microcoims and macrocosms of our society.

Where to start? Always a writer’s biggest quandary. Let me first say, again in preface to this piece, that I was born in 1969, halfway through the U.S. involvement in Viet Namn. By the time the war ended, I was still pre-school age and wholly un-aware of any impact that it had on my life. Save one. I was always cognizant that my very presence on this earth was dependent on the fact that my father survived Viet Namn. It was always a matter of pride that I was the direct result of a brave Marine hero who made it out alive. My Brother, two years older, was conceived pre-deployment. So, alone I stood as a symbol of pride and of new life, not only renewed but also victorious. It makes no difference to me that History will long remember our shortcomings and failures in Viet Namn. To me, the only soldier that ever mattered came home and made me.
I preface with this because I believe it has a real impact on how I view war and violence, in all of it’s many forms. I am a self-proclaimed pacifist and “bleeding heart liberal”, although, admittedly I am not entirely sure I fit into either of those two categories. I will say, with some conviction, that I do embrace our honorable former President, Jimmy Carter’s view on war. He recently accepted the Noble Peace Prize and was quoted as saying, “I believe that war is a necessary evil. While sometimes, tragically necessary, war is still and will always be Evil”. I believe that there are forces in the world that are actually inherently evil and that it is these forces that bring us to war. Moreover, I feel that good people, as well as good nations, can commit evil acts and can become a part of the problem, instead part of the greater good. This is where I see America today In Iraq. We, as a nation are walking the tightrope of good and evil; it is my fear is that evil is winning.
Onto timely politics. The way I understand it, the Middle East is a region that holds an un-imaginable stockpile of the world’s finest un-tapped resource for crude oil. This, I believe, is an un-disputed truth. It is also been said that he who controls the oil controls the world……..Now, again, I am no rocket scientist, but why wouldn’t it be a simple assumption that The United States would be desirerous of those mineral rights? I will never stand on a street corner at an anti-war rally holding a sign that says, “Blood for Oil”. However, maybe these protesters are not too much off the mark. I am aware that this idea promotes a very simplistic view of why we are interested in the Middle East. But, doesn’t it make a little bit of sense that the United States, the self proclaimed greatest power on the earth, would be more then a little bit interested in obtaining rights to the greatest reserve of oil in the World? Think how much more powerful we could become if our industries and society at large were not held hostage by the rising oil prices, imposed on by the East? I actually would find it quite hard to blame the U.S. for desiring such power and control over an extremely crucial element in Global and International relations. However, call a spade a spade. Don’t sugar coat our involvement in a country who is clearly none of our responsibility as a “humanitarian effort” to rid the world of a sinister dictator and a corrupt regime.
Ok, it’s true. Saddam Hussein is a bad guy. On a scale of badness he ranks up there among the worst. From what I am told, Hitler may have to take a back seat to this bad guy. All that being said. There are bad people controlling countries all over this lovely planet of ours. I would venture to say that the vast majority of the world’s leaders will never win a congeniality award. As far as the “humanitarian aid” explanation goes, I would also feel safe in saying that there are countries all over this planet in need of just as much, if not more, aid then is due the people of Iraq. So, it leaves me wondering, along with most members of the United Nations and The UN security Counsel, “why is the U.S. so dead set on overthrowing the Government of THIS needy nation? Why have we chosen to de-throne THIS corrupt dictator? I’ll tell you why. Because THIS dictator and THIS country just happen to be sitting on top of, literally, liquid wealth that is un-imaginable to the human mind. Do you think the U.S. is the first nation to figure this out? Hell no. Read any Jr. High World History textbook and it will tell you that this part of the world has been involved in battles since time in-memoriam. Knowing Latin as well as I do, I can tell you, that is a very long time.
I think we as American’s with our “American Sensibilities, falsely assume that the people of this region will welcome our assistance, will accept our influence in their lives and be thankful to let us control their country in both political and monetary ways. Yes, it is true, that while under their current regime, it is doubtful that any of the common folk will ever see even a tiny bit of their in-herent wealth in oil profit used for their better good. Even if we do a much better job of allocating the regions wealth, and even if we are more humane and democratic in our practices, we are still assuming this is something that the Iraqi people will not only accept but also embrace. Did we really think that after a billion years of forced servitude to varying corrupt and self-serving governments, the Iraqi people would emerge from their foxholes ready to embrace Uncle Sam and become our allies in building a “new and better Iraq”? I think not. Do you know why? Because they know, as we should know, that American involvement in this land is just as self serving as any other one government’s interest has ever been. Sure, with us in charge, the streets may be cleaner, the schools may be bigger and there might even be a McDonald’s on every corner, but when all is said and done one truth will remain. The oil profits will be ours. Sure, we will be happy to build a few parks and plant a few trees in exchange for the right to what lies under the parks and the trees. The Iraqi people know this and, although they may have no choice, they will always know what we Western people with tunnel vision may not see. Iraq is an extremely crucial piece of the preverbal pie. Whatever else is going on in that region plays second fiddle to the fact that The Big Dog wants the best piece of pie.
George Bush tried, in vain, to think of valid reasons why we should be involved in Iraq. But, as we see, he failed to persuade the overwhelming majority of the critical thinkersat the United Nations that his motives were pure. Sadly, we have engaged troops anyway; and in defiance of the worlds’ counsel. And this brings me full circle.
We have forced our collective American “will” into this dangerous and volatile land, racked with un-rest. We have, furthermore, proudly sent living, breathing human beings into harms way in the name of America. While I fully validate and applaud each and every individual soldier’s noble and selfless act of enlisting in this war. I am highly critical of the people who send them. I believe that an individual can support the “messenger” while finding fault with the “message”. It is only the myopic thinkers among us who believe that a person can’t embrace the heroism while rejecting the reason why we are called upon to need heroes in the first place. I will pray for our troops, support their families, and mourn the loss of each soldie,r without embracing the cause.
I am the democratic process in action and deed. I am thankful that I have the right to defy what is spoon-fed to me by this or any administration. I owe these rights and privileges to the nameless millions who have trod upon the battlefields of the past and paid the price for me. I am forever humbled for their contribution to this great Nation. All that being said. To me, no amount of wealth, power or dominion, be it actual or imagined, is worth the cost of even one lost soldier. After all, that one lost soldier and all of his inherent possibilities are lost to the world forever. With him is lost our collective innocence and infinitely more important, his opportunity to be someone special’s Daddy someday.




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