So far, I have resisted talking about the imminent threat of war in Iraq. But someone recently asked me point-blank what I thought the solution to the problem in Iraq is.
What is the solution? Ah, now THAT is the right question!
Many of the arguments both for and against war have been focussed on whether or not Saddam has weapons of mass destruction, whether or not he’s a dangerous sociopath, and so on. Those are, I think, the wrong questions.
Does Saddam have weapons of mass destruction? Of course he does! How do we know? We sold them to him!!! We sold them to him because we hated Iran, he hated Iran, and we were hoping he’d use them against Iran.
Is Saddam a raving, murderous psychopath? Of course he is! That’s why we helped put him in power!!! If he wasn’t a psycho, we would never have supported him in the first place. We were just hoping he’d murder Iranians, not Kuwaitis, that’s all.
I consistently find it surprising how many people either have forgotten or genuinely don’t know that we helped put Saddam Hussein in the position he is in today.
So, what is the solution?
Well, let’s see. In the late 1980’s, we found a bunch of unfunded, disorganized Islamic radicals in Afghanistan, and we gave them weapons (including Stinger missiles and rocket launchers), money, and training. We dug bunkers and fortified caverns for them. When we did this, we knew that they hated the West and everything Western. We knew they hated us. We knew they were willing to die to destroy Western ideals. We organized, trained, and armed them. They would later be called the Taliban. Gosh, who knew that giving a bunch of radical, hate-mongering anti-Western fanatics missiles and guns and money would turn out to be a bad idea?
We hated Iran, so we funded, equipped, and armed a raving, murderous psycho lunatic named Saddam Hussein. We sold him weapons, we helped prop up his power base. When we did this, we knew he was a dangerous, sadistic, power-mad, self-aggrandizing madman who genuinely believes he is destined to rule all of the Islamic world. Jeepers, who knew THAT might backfire on us?
In its conduct of foreign policy in the Middle East, the United States often seems like a drunken baboon with a party hat and a chainsaw: Big, dumb, clumsy, sometimes unintentionally funny, and very, very dangerous.
If you go to bed with a monster, don’t be surprised when you wake up the next morning and there’s a monster in your bed.
So what should we do? Well, how about this: How about we stop arming and equipping and training power-hungry, psychotic fanatics just because they hate whoever we hate. How about we stop putting these people in power. How about we stop selling them weapons and then acting all shocked when they use those weapons to kill people.
How about we stop creating monsters, and then whining and crying that there are monsters in the world. How does that sound?
Am I way off base here?