"There is no pillow so soft as a clear conscience." ~ French proverb
Rotten to the Core Principles for Iraq
On May 27th the Wall Street Journal published an editorial by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld entitled 'Core Principles for a Free Iraq.' As one who opposed our unconstitutional attack on Iraq, I found reading it quite exasperating.
As one would expect, Secretary Rumsfeld begins with a recap of the 'remarkable military achievement' and then briefly touches on the challenges still remaining. He then confronts the question that is on the minds of many Americans: What now?
Those of us who opposed the unconstitutional attack on Iraq did so for a variety of reasons, not the least of which was our belief that a successful attack would leave America less secure, not more so. We argued that Iraq was far from our gravest threat in the Middle East, let alone the world, and that removing the relatively secularist regime of Saddam Hussein would benefit his Islamacist rivals in the Middle East like Osama bin Laden. We argued that Iraq could quite possibly end up one day ruled by someone as bad or worse than Saddam unless America took on roles that are contrary to the American tradition of non-interventionism: occupier, nation-builder and peace-keeper. Even President Bush campaigned promising that America would never be the policeman of the world.
Now America finds herself the victim of her own success. Now that Iraq has been conquered (Yes, our gun confiscation program recently cost the lives of four American soldiers, but let's not muddy the waters, shall we?), we have a choice. We can either withdraw immediately, let chaos reign, and likely allow another strongman to emerge; or remain for the long haul and become the kind of colonial power that our Founding Father fought to overthrow. This is a choice we never wanted to make.
Secretary Rumsfeld's response to this dilemma is eerily schizophrenic, at once acknowledging it while at the same time denying it. He says:
We are committed to helping the Iraqi people get on that path to a free society. We do not have an American "template" we want to impose: Iraqis will figure out how to build a free nation in a manner that reflects their unique culture and traditions.
Sounds good. But wait a second...Isn't a free nation itself an American template? What if their unique culture and traditions are diametrically opposed to freedom? Among his core principles for a free Iraq , Secretary Rumsfeld includes:
Commitment to stay; commitment to leave. The coalition will maintain as many security forces in Iraq as necessary, for as long as necessary, to accomplish the stated goals -- and no longer.
Well, just how long might that take? There are some historical precedents. After Germany and Japan were defeated, allied occupation lasted for some 15 years. Germans embraced Nazism for only a decade. When the regime went, they came home to the West. The beliefs of Islamic people are rooted in faith and tradition centuries old.
Exporting capitalism to Germany and Japan and a worldwide military presence may have made some sense during the Cold War as bastions against communism in Europe and Asia , but today all it does is enhance foreign nations' competitiveness against us. But perhaps that was the idea all along.
Many who opposed the unconstitutional attack on Iraq suspected that our true motive was Iraqi oil. Others thought it was to promote Israeli security interests. The two suspicions seemed to merge when it was announced that construction would begin on a pipeline carrying Iraqi oil to Israel. Rummy has an answer for those skeptics too:
The Coalition Provisional Authority will develop a plan for the Iraqi oil industry based on transparency. Iraq 's oil wealth will be used and marketed for the benefit of the Iraqi people.
Of course one wonders, then, why it was that the US-run Iraqi administration has cancelled or suspended three oil contracts with Russian and Chinese firms.
Personally, I never believed that getting our hands on Iraqi oil was our primary motivation ' just a nice fringe benefit. I suspected the globalist agenda was the real impetus underlying this whole endless fiasco. Reproducing the American system worldwide ultimately implies world government. Rummy concurs:
The international community. Other countries and international organizations, including the United Nations and non-governmental organizations, will be welcomed to assist in Iraq . They can play an important role. The Coalition Provisional Authority will work with them to maintain a focus of effort.
It took two World Wars followed by a Cold War to undo America 's allegiance to George Washington's warning against entangling alliances. Today we invoke principles that are rotten to the core to rationalize an obsolete habit of projecting power.