Perpetual War

Friday, President Bush made it known that he wishes to push military strategy away from a policy of deterrence and towards a policy of pre-emptive strikes against "terrorist" nations, even when faced with criticism from world leaders. He cites these measures as "common sense and self-defense." I cite it as a clever rhyme which disguises a less than clever policy. If Bush takes us down the road to madness (recently renamed the road to preemptive strikes) he also takes us down the road to perpetual war. There are certainly enough nations to keep us fighting for a long long time.

We know that many nations have weapons of mass destruction, whether they be biological, chemical, or nuclear. Iraq was not the first nation to have these, nor will it be the last. Bush is not looking to start a war against the country that has the greatest stockpile of weapons or the country that constitutes the greatest threat to America. He is looking to start a war against the easiest person to blame.

If you look at Iraq's military capability, you will find that it has been greatly reduced since the Gulf War. Even the UN arms inspector reported on the state of Iraq's WMD. They simply don't have any to speak of. Iraq's leader may bluster and play the madman, but his army is in truth weak. None of that really matters to Bush. He wants to finish what daddy started. So, he says, let's wage war on Iraq.

As long as you're waging war, why not wage war on someone who can actually harm the US? Turn your attention to Iraq's neighbor, Iran. That nation, not having been engaged in any major war recently, has a very good stockpile of arms and equipment--certainly more than Iraq has. Iran has a larger army than does Iraq. It certainly has a grudge against the United States.

There's something about Iran, however, that Georgie-boy doesn't seem to have taken into account. Iran is on the verge of internal meltdown. The government there is hanging on for dear life.  The religious fanatics waiting in the wings would just love for the US to attack Iran--it means that they could rally the nation against the big devil America, overthrow the current theocracy, and set up a government that makes Saddam look like a schoolgirl. If we set foot inside Iran--which will most certainly happen if the warmongers get their way--we're in for a real treat.

As long as we're talking nations with a decent size military and a grudge against the US, how about China? China has a large military. It certainly has nuclear weapons, and very possibly chemical and biological weapons. Bush has engendered within China a strong dislike of American policies due to high tariffs on steel products, among other things. Then there was that little promise to Taiwan--you remember the one that said that if China invaded Taiwan we'd fight against China? I don't think they were very happy about it.

There are other nations with arms and a grudge. You can certainly list more than a handful. Libya. North Korea. The Saudis say they like us, but do they really? If they see our "war" on Iraq as a war against Islam (and it wouldn't be difficult to do so) they'd join up against us in a heartbeat.

But, you say, we could win against all of these nations! We have a huge military and enough money to defeat a bunch of third-world rabble who have nothing better to do than try to thwart the UN. Ok. Do we have enough men and money to fight five or six nations at once? Just think about it. Six armies with all their pooled resources. Men, money, weapons. The tactical knowledge of their generals. We on the other hand have a spoiled silver-spoon president, his largely inept cabinet, and a military that can't even keep its brand-new helicopters in working order.

Don't bother counting on our allies, either. The populace of England is against war. Germany too. The French hate us for reasons passing understanding. No one in Africa has enough money to feed their starving people, let alone to help us. Asia won't do it. The UN has no troops of its own, and has already balked at a US war against one nation, let alone many at a time. Besides, the purpose of the UN was originally to prevent wars, no?

Well, what if they don't launch an attack as one body? Say Iraq starts it first. We go in full force, with 200,000 men. Iraq cries foul. "Look here, Libya, Iran, and Saudi Arabia! This is a war against Islam! They'll do it to you too if you don't defend yourselves now!" Saddam will say. So Libya, Iran, and Saudi Arabia join in. Instead of fielding 200,000 men, we'll need 350,000 for the Persian Gulf and another 10,000 for North Africa. Now we're in three countries at once. Three nations will take up the chorus saying "Hey! North Korea and China! You see what they're doing here? They're trying to topple every government they see as repressive. You're Communist, aren't you? How about all those 'human rights violations' everyone keeps carping about! They're going to get you next if you don't fight!" So China and North Korea join in. And who are they going to call next? Any nation with a grudge will be lined up to fight us. This is what Bush is calling for; a war cascading out of control. Is this what we really want?

If you don't see the logic there, think of it this way: What if another nation decided it was going to annihilate every nation that could conceivably cause harm to it. We have nuclear weapons. We have chemical weapons. We have biological weapons. We have a large army. We have enough men and machines to do serious damage to a nation. If their leader used the same faulty logic that Bush is trying to push on us, he could make a very good case for blowing the US off the map. Now, would we be justified to attack this other country in the instance they attacked first? You bet.

Observe the double standard. Bush says that when we attack without provocation, it's ok. However, when other countries do it, it's not ok. Such standards are imbecilic at best. In this case, they are homicidal.

Bush and others use whatever irrational appeals they can to garner support. On Friday, Bush said that "We do not use our strength to press for unilateral advantage. We seek instead to create a balance of power that favors human freedom." Hm. Balance. War is not balance. Pre-emptive strikes are not balance. Raising a huge standing army and upping the military budget is not balance. Yet, our president wishes to do all these things.

When considering Bush's view on any topic, one must look beyond his stuttering and indecisive manner and observe the horrifying results if his arguments are carried to their full end. The full end of this new doctrine is perpetual war. Your husbands, your sons, and your fathers will be killed in action. Your country will advance along the path towards Cold War Russia.

Your leaders will see that they can push anything over on you if they give it a noble package. Are we fools or cowards? Americans deserve better things than war. Americans deserve to live out their lives securely and peacefully without wondering what nation is going to come out of the woodwork to fight us next.

You can reclaim your right to live in peace and freedom. Tell the politicians that you will not stand to see your family members and friends killed in a war that we need not fight. If we act in concert now, we can change this.

I thank you for your time. 

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Amanda Bowen's picture
Columns on STR: 10

Amanda Bowen is an unaverage high school student who hopes one day to pursue a life of study.