Today on Blogcritics

On To Baghdad

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So war it is. Despite all the protests, Security Council machinations, negotiations and pundit clucking, predictions from six months ago that the US and Britain would invade Iraq in March will have been borne out within about 48 hours. Given the intractable arrogance of Saddam, and the mission George W. Bush has seen himself on since 9/11, what other end could there have been?

I was not a Bush fan before 9/11, didn’t vote for him or any other Republican EVER for president, but I believe his perception that the War on Terror is his “calling” is correct and of vast importance. Diplomatic, inertia-based business as usual is no longer acceptable. Bush sounded tired and drained in his speech last night, but he calmly hit upon all the key elements of why war is necessary, why it is our duty to ourselves and the world (whether the world wants it or not) to take forceful action now.

He explicitly mentioned the appeasement of murderous tyrants in the buildup to WWll, and I believe the lesson he has taken from history is correct: those who hate us and seek our destruction cannot be ignored or contained – they must be destroyed.

Much has been made of the fact that this will be America’s first “preemptive” military action; again, Bush provided the appropriate framework for this action. Saddam has not lived up to the terms of the cease-fire of the first Gulf War, 9/11 brutally demonstrated that such loops cannot be left open. This action is closure rather than preemption.

The “no war for any reason” throngs voicing their impotent discontent around the globe will note it not, but Bush also emphasized the fact that we will not be at war against the Iraqi people, or even the Iraqi military – whom he encouraged to get the hell out of the way – but against the regime. This is not some bloodthirsty warmonger, and those who label him so lack the will or the ability to distinguish any nuance between “war” and “no war.”

With debate on whether we should go to war now moot, let us turn our attention to the conduct of the war. ABC did a nice job last night with a series of reports after Bush’s speech on the planned strategy on the invasion and the status of our troops around the region. We will clearly overwhelm the opposition, but grave dangers remain, especially regarding Saddam’s use of weapons of mass destruction – you know, the ones he doesn’t have.

Regarding news from on the ground, “solo journalist” Kevin Sites has begun a blog – with audio capability assisted by Andromeda – of “life on the front lines of war” – remarkable stuff.

From last night:

    What will happen, where should we go? Race west toward the oil fields of Kirkuk. There are reports that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein has rigged them with explosives. There are reports that American troops will paradrop in–secure that area first. Or should we move south, toward Baghdad. Every correspondent knows there’s glory in that. We all remember, green with envy, the BBC’s John Simpson marching into Kabul after the fall of the Taliban. But it seems somewhat cyncial, unforgivingly opportunistic to feed a career on carnage of war. But we do. If I’m forced to rationalize it, I’ll do it like this–the motivation will make me to work harder to take more chances on the story.

    The people that are here, that cover these thing are often the same faces I see wherever war is brewing or in play. It’s both an avocation and an addiction. A search for moral absolutes in uncompromising violence. War corrspondent Chris Hedges explains beautifully in his book, WAR IS A FORCE THAT GIVES US MEANING.

The next phase is here.

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About Eric Olsen

  • Chicago Vol

    The problem with your assertion that the War on Terror is Bush’s calling is that EVERYONE, from Osama bin Laden to our own FBI and CIA says that an unprovoked attack on Iraq will increase the likelihood of further attacks on the US, and not do one damn thing to increase our security. It has been proven repeatedly, over and over, again and again, that Bush was lying about the chem/bio weapons, and that there was no indication that he was closer than 4 years to being able produce a nuke. This isn’t about removing a supporter of bin Laden from power, they have a mutual disrespect. He has no WMD to give to terrorists, and would not do so if he did. He has only used them maintaining power in Iraq. Even if he does have WMD, the only way they are a threat to the US is if we ATTACK him. The latest claims that the purpose is to “liberate” Iraq also do not hold water. That was also the “goal” in Afghanistan. It has not happened yet, and the Bush administration even forgot to appropriate any funds for Afghanistan in the latest budget. The return of the extremist Islamic enforcement squads in Afghanistan are just the latest reminder that a Bush’s promises are lies.

  • Eric Olsen

    A few quick things: should we not do what needs to be done for fear of terrorism? That’s cowardice. How do you know Saddam has no WMD? We’ll find out shortly. The bin Laden connection is irrelevant to the necessity of removing Saddam from power – I have no idea if they are connected – other than through their mutual hatred of the US – and it doesn’t matter.

    We need to provide better support to Afghanistan, but surely you can’t think it isn’t vastly better off now than 14 months ago?

    The followup to Iraq will be crucial, and if Bush doesn’t stick around for the nation building, I won’t vote for him next year, despite what he has accomplished.