December 23, 2004

Usual Suspects Are War Critics
by Donald G. Mashburn

The anti-war drumbeats grow louder among critics of the Bush administration, including not a few opportunistic Democrats. Most oppose the whole of the Iraq policy of the United States, which means they also oppose and want to create problems for the president.

It makes no difference to them that the removal of Saddam Hussein from power was a dirty but necessary job the world – particularly the European part of it – shunned. Nor do history and the record of the former Iraqi dictator seem to count for much in the critics’ reasoning, if such can be referred to as reasoned criticism.

How soon they forget Saddam’s record of indescribable cruelty in having his henchmen carry out barbarous mass killings of their own people. How soon they forget the squandering of Iraq’s wealth on feeding Saddam’s ego, building more and more palaces, and building elaborate facilities so that Saddam’s two evil sons could indulge their own whims and huge appetites for cruelty and debauchery.

The hand wringing of critics of the Iraq war and the United States seems to have dulled the memory of Saddam Hussein’s violent invasion of peaceful Kuwait, and the crimes perpetrated against Kuwaitis, especially some of the women. They choose to forget the helpless Kuwaitis, ravaged and brutalized by the Iraqi invaders in a way the world hoped it would never see again.

The eyewitness reports of brutality gave added credibility to reports of Iraqi atrocities in killing thousands of Kurds by poison gas and other weapons of terror.

In the deluge of anti-war and anti-American words, memories have grown fuzzy regarding the 16 or so United Nations resolutions ignored by Saddam. And the worldwide belief that Iraq was going about developing and acquiring weapons of mass destruction.

Now, with the present bloody war being waged against American forces and the Iraqi population, one would think that that even opportunistic politicians like President Jacques Chirac of France and Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder of Germany would be enraged at the wanton, senseless attacks on innocent Iraqi civilian. And on those civilians from coalition nations, who daily are risking their lives – and in too many cases losing them – in an effort to bring real freedom and some semblance of a normal life to Iraqis.

But so many of the critics of the war – and of the United States – have never been accused of deep thinking or objectivity. Their lack of objectivity is clearly shown in their opposition to and lack of support for the investigation into the scandals surrounding the corrupt oil-for-food program spawned by and supervised by the United Nations.

The investigation has already revealed widespread corruption and sanction violations in the oil-for-food program. The payoff trail has led right into the UN hierarchy headed by Kofi Annan, while the scent– read “odor” – of trade violations unmistakably lead into the upper levels of business and government in France, Germany and Russia.

It is hoped the probe of the UN’s mishandling of Iraqi oil will be complete and open. And that Paul Volcker and his team can reveal what they find, without high-level government interference to protect the guilty. If that happens, the tired old cries about "No blood for oil" and "Bush's war" will be replaced by renewed cries of “Get us out of the UN.” Perhaps we’ll add even more descriptive terms – if we can say them while holding our collective noses.

Here, given the dangerous and tenuous situation in Iraq, and with our military under daily attack, it’s high time Democrats put the nation, and doing the right thing, above efforts to wring some political advantage over a president that most of them don’t like.

The critics should realize there’s little or no difference in what motivates the insurgents in Iraq today and what motivated Saddam Hussein in 1991 and current war. Driving forces for both were the evil intent to assert control over innocent people by the murderous use of power and violence for self-gratification, and a “cause” that only their demented minds can understand.

All of it naked of any justification acceptable to the civilized mind.