The Ressurection of the Ugly American
edited: Tuesday, April 22, 2003
By Bryan Gold
Posted: Tuesday, April 22, 2003
Become a Fan
Have we won the battle but lost the war?
We began our conquest of Iraq in the name of self-defense. We stated to the world that we had concrete, undeniable and irrefutable evidence that Saddam Hussein had both a well established nuclear arms program and possessed an arsenal of weapons of mass destruction. This made him not just a menace to world peace, but it made him a direct and immediate threat to the security of the United States. We evoked a doctrine of “diplomacy by pre-emptive military action” and waged our war of self defense.
To the surprise of no one, the war was brilliantly planned and executed. Our victory was quick. Our military honored us with their dedication, determination and sacrifice. The American flag now flies over the city of Baghdad. The Iraqi people are liberated but missing in action, however, are Saddam Hussein, most of his top henchmen and, surprisingly, the weapons of mass destruction that compelled us to go to war in the first place.
But now what? Now is where things get interesting and potentially dangerous. Even more dangerous than the war itself. When all is said and done, who is really going to govern Iraq? Or, should I say, who are we going to let govern the country that we have now so nobly liberated? We claim that we will leave this decision for the Iraqi people to make. We claim to desire a democratically-elected government that is secular and represents the complete bandwidth of the Iraqi cultural and religious landscape.
But lets be honest here. A pro-American government run by former exiles selected, cultivated and controlled by Washington is nothing more than a pipedream, at best. A government that diminishes or subjugates the power of Shiite clerics is doomed before it begins. A government that overpowers the Sunni minority is a recipe for chronic political dissension. And what about the Kurds? Are we going to ignore their plight again and leave them to the mercy of Turkey?
What do we do if the Shiite clerics take control of Iraq and move the country towards Islamic fundamentalism and an anti-American posture? If that happens and Iraq becomes aligned with Iran, a member of the Axis of Evil, do we go back in and re-liberate the country from another potential threat to our national security? Or, do we resurrect the ‘Ugly American’ and let him do his dirty work? Do we let him install a puppet government, pull all the strings and undermine the foundation of true democracy?
We have stepped into a quagmire. We have opened a Pandora’s Box. So, in the end, what have we really gained from this war? Saddam has been removed from power but has our arrogance and tunnel-vision mentality put us in an even more dangerous situation? Have we started the Balkanization of Iraq and by doing so, established nothing but a precursor to future battles, political unrest and an increase in anti-American sentiment?