It would pay us all to remember that the war in Iraq was both unjust and illegal. We launched a war of aggression against a country that was not attacking us, did not have the means to attack us, and had never expressed any intention of attacking us.
Thus, America's attack against Iraq is the same as Japan's attack against the U.S. in 1941 and Germany's attack against Poland in 1939. We were the aggressor, pure and simple, and for whatever real reason we attacked Iraq, it was not to save America from any danger, imminent or otherwise.
You can believe the two whitewash jobs blaming everything on intelligence if you wish to do so. I don't believe them. Our intelligence agencies make plenty of mistakes, but I don't believe that the information they provided the Bush administration was as clear-cut as the Bush people claimed. In other words, I think the Bush administration lied to the American people about weapons of mass destruction.
This illegal, unjust and unprovoked war against a sovereign country is what has alienated the rest of the world. This alienation runs deep and will have very long-term implications. The whole push of the best people in the bloody 20th century was an attempt to find ways to avert wars of aggression. The U.S. was one of the leaders in that drive. All of that was chucked on the ash heap of history by George W. Bush's decision to invade Iraq and overthrow its government.
No sane leader of any nation in the world can trust America anymore. We have demonstrated that if we desire to attack a nation, we will fabricate the excuse and attack it, despite international law and international opinion. We have demonstrated that a nation need not provoke us or threaten us to become a victim of our aggression. We have said to the world that the only law we respect is the law of the jungle, and that might makes right. That's why so many people consider us to be a rogue nation and a threat to world peace.
The sad part is that the American people have been so sheeplike. They believed the blarney about weapons of mass destruction, even the stupid parts such as Bush claiming Iraq's tiny little drone airplanes could attack the U.S. When those lies were exposed, they believed that the war was justified by Saddam Hussein's cruelty. We've slept with many bloody dictators, including Saddam. Now they believe that we went there to spread democracy.
That's a bunch of hooey. The present interim government is corrupt to the core. The British Broadcasting Corp. did a lot of interviews with Iraqis, and not one of them mentioned wanting democracy or freedom. They all said they want a strong government that can provide security and end corruption.
Given the world's distrust and alienation, how do you think the Bush administration is going to garner support to stop the proliferation of nuclear weapons? Do you think Russia, China, India and other countries love us? Do you think even the Europeans will not try to weaken our global monopoly on the use of force?
There is a great irony here. Imperialism produces exactly the effects that the critics of isolation claim it produces. Imperialism isolates America. An American policy of noninterference and cooperation would produce allies.
I don't intend to blame the Bush administration entirely. Both the Republicans and the Democrats are committed to an imperialistic policy. Nor was the war against Iraq the first instance of unprovoked and illegal acts of aggression. We invaded Grenada and Panama, and launched aerial attacks against Libya and Serbia.
Don't take too much comfort in the fact that we are, at the moment, the 800-pound gorilla. Everybody hates the gorilla and will try to do everything to weaken it. Given the venality and incompetence of our government, the shaky state of our economy, the apathy of our people and the decadence of our culture, I don't think we'll be king of the jungle for very much longer.
April 18, 2005
Charley Reese [send him mail] has been a journalist for 49 years, reporting on everything from sports to politics. From 1969 to 1971, he worked as a campaign staffer for gubernatorial, senatorial and congressional races in several states. He was an editor, assistant to the publisher, and columnist for the Orlando Sentinel from 1971 to 2001. He now writes a syndicated column which is carried on LewRockwell.com. Reese served two years active duty in the U.S. Army as a tank gunner. Write to Charley Reese at P.O. Box 2446, Orlando, FL 32802.
© 2005 by King Features Syndicate, Inc.