As you are reading this, if the timetable set down by President George W. Bush progresses as planned, bombs are dropping on southern and central Iraq. And, despite the efforts of some good people, war with Iraq has (or if not yet, will very soon) come.
For the past few days, while watching CNN and FOX News and reading the paper each morning, I can’t help but feel nervous and a little bit angry. The Bush Administration has already come out saying that terrorist attacks are a certainty.
Finally, the terror threat level has been raised to orange, or “high.”
All of this has happened during the past 48 hours, since the now-famous Bush ultimatum to Saddam Hussein. Watching Bush on Monday, I felt a shower of anger wash over me. Here was a man who has decided to abandon the United Nations, to abandon many of his NATO allies and to form an impromptu “coalition of the willing” to go in and invade Iraq.
How such a thing could happen is dumbfoundingly. Does the man not care that, for the past 60 years, the United Nations has kept the world from breaking into all-out war? The way to prevent war is through diplomacy, not by issuing ultimatums to sovereign foreign leaders.
And don’t give me the old “[Hussein] was stalling, and wasn’t disarming” crap, because , he was disarming. Sure, he wasn’t going to have all his weapons destroyed within the next six months, maybe not the next year, but weapons were being destroyed.
And what a hypocritical little man our president is, calling on a foreign nation to destroy its weaponry when, in Alabama and South Dakota, we have stockpiled millions of gallons of the very same biological and chemical weapons.
Meanwhile, in the east, North Korea, which is mere months from developing a nuclear weapon, is being treated like the Billy Carter of international politics. A few weeks ago, the country fired a missile that could be used in the future to launch nuclear weapons into the sea to welcome Secretary of State Colin Powell to South Korea. They harassed a U.S. surveillance plane over international waters a week earlier.
We do nothing to North Korea, even though it poses a more immediate threat to us than Iraq.
Bush’s actions in Iraq will set a dangerous precedent in this country. From now on, any time a president sees a regime he doesn’t like, he will be able to invent a shaky connection to Islamic fundamentalists, scream “War on Terror.” and send in the tanks. He will disregard decades-old alliances and settle for extemporaneous and temporary coalitions instead.
And, the worst consequence is that future presidents will disillusion the entire world by revealing the United States as an imperial, aggressive empire, instead of the peace-seeking, democratic nation it should seek to be. Even if we don’t like it, we are stuck on Earth with nearly 200 other countries. It would do us good to try to co-exist with those countries in relative peace, instead of constantly pissing them off whenever it seems to be in our national interest.
Joe Roma is a junior majoringin political firstname.lastname@example.org