March 18, 2003
Oh. Now We See Why We're Invading Iraq. (Because we can.)

Last night on Chris Matthews's Hardball (MSNBC), William Bennett and a former CIA Chief, enthralled with the heady bouquet that is preemptive war, outlined the real plan for this war. First we take Iraq. Then, in order to expedite a Middle East peace between Israel and Palestine, we "pressure" (read: threaten to invade) Syria to get out of Lebanon and we take Damascus. Presumably we follow up by "imposing upon" (read: threaten to invade) Iran to give up their nuclear weapons program and then we do something to Libya, too.

This plan was echoed in Paul Krugman's analysis today (get it here) in the New York Times:

It's a matter of public record that this war with is largely the brainchild of a group of neoconservative intellectuals, who view it as a pilot project. In August a British official close to the Bush team told Newsweek: "Everyone wants to go to Baghdad. Real men want to go to Tehran." In February 2003, according to Ha'aretz, an Israeli newspaper, Under Secretary of State John Bolton told Israeli officials that after defeating the United States would "deal with" Iran, Syria and North Korea.
One of the guys on hardball last night defended this as perfectly justifiable, saying, "Well, it took 70 years for us to clean up Europe, get rid of all those petty dictators . . ." (Link to the transcript will be up as soon as MSNBC makes it available.)

These pinhead neoconservatives forget: that was a World War. And we had a true coalition of the International Community on board. (Last night Bush said we had a "broad coalition." Read: Britain, Spain, and Australia.) And that was a war of self defense. A war of necessity.

The world will not accept the U.S. plowing through the Middle East and dictating (like those dictators) who does what and how and where and what their "democracy" will look like. (Can true democracy occur when it is imposed and orchestrated by another country that is acting in its sole interest?)

I've said it before and will say it again. This militant go-it-our-own-way madness will unify, embolden, and fuel the terrorist opposition to this country, until what happened on 9/11 will seem like peanuts. No one and no place will be safe. It's no surprise that the New York Times reported that al Queda is using our hostility as a recruiting tool.

The philosophy espoused by Sean Connery in The Untouchables, where he said, "They pull a knife, you pull a gun. He sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue," makes for a fine Oscar award winning speech, but in the real world, it leads to Armageddon.

Israel and the Palestinians have taught us that that cycle never ends.

Posted by Tom Burka at 9:48 AM in Commentary