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War May Not Be the Most Important Story
March 25, 2003
By RB Ham

The Anglo-American invasion of Iraq may or may not end up being as quick and efficient as was predicted by military analysts. Surprisingly, the Iraqi resistance seems to be stiffening as the campaign drags on. The war itself, however, may not be the most important story in the coming months. What is becoming more and more apparent is that this war is throwing not only international politics into chaos, but is also severely dividing the populace of the western nations into starkly opposing factions. British Prime Minister Tony Blair's political future seems doomed, given the overwhelming opposition to the war in his country. Not that Blair cares, no doubt a nice, cushy spot awaits him on the board of directors of the Carlyle Group for the services he's rendered to the "cause". His own party may turf him before the next election.

Massive demonstrations against the war are sweeping the globe. It is clear that this action, taken without the sanction of the United Nation's Security Council, is viewed by many as illegal, unnecessary and immoral. Declarations by world leaders such as Russia's Vladimir Putin and Pope John Paul II have condemned the war as unjust and the motives of the governments of the United States and the United Kingdom for using military force are being questioned. Most shockingly, 200,000 people in New York City protested the Iraq War in an unprecedented show of dissent against their country's leadership. Other demonstrations across the nation may have been smaller but were nonetheless representative of the feelings of many Americans. They feel that the values that America has traditionally stood for are being threatened by the Bush Administration's headlong rush towards unilateralism. Never before have so many Americans, this soon into a conflict, been so vocal in their opposition. However, the backlash against the peace movement has been shrill and ominously threatening.

The perils of civil strife at home are no longer just the imaginings of fringe groups on either the left or the right. The dangers may very well depend on the actions of the widely disparaged Justice Department being run by Attorney General John Ashcroft. Ashcroft is a Christian fundamentalist who is closely allied to the Christian Reconstructionist movement. Nothing chills me more than contemplating the fact that these people have the chance, through the policies of the Federal Government, to have their agenda realized. Remember this, before you can reconstruct something it is usually necessary to destroy it. Ashcroft is on record as saying that those who oppose the Bush Administration's policies in their "War on Terror" are "aiding and abetting the terrorists." As the Bushies firmly believe that their War on Iraq is simply an extension of that War on Terror, this implies that hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of Americans are potentially in danger of being victims of a new kind of McCarthyism. An official policy of cracking down on dissent may only be a hair's breadth away. The Sedition Act and the FEMA Detention Camps await Holy John's orders.

The only thing that may forestall such a nightmare domestic scenario is if the American people can inspire an effective political opposition to the Bush Administration. One must remember that George W Bush attained the presidency through less than savory means. As a matter of fact, a partisan Supreme Court basically selected him to be the President. If this unilateral war doesn't go well, if Bush becomes more and more vulnerable to criticism, if Martial Law isn't proclaimed, then there remains a chance that this Government can be ousted through legal and nonviolent means. The word "impeachment" is being heard more and more these days. Last Saturday U.S. President George W Bush, in his weekly radio address to the nation, once again listed a litany of reasons why he and his neo-conservative bedfellows belonging to the Project for the New American Century believe this war is necessary. That not one of these excuses, according to world opinion, justifies the current slaughter seems to matter naught. More telling, however, was his proclamation that the "American people will not tolerate an outlaw regime." These words shall echo throughout history, because in the eyes of many within and without the nation, the United States itself is under the tyrannical sway of just such an outlaw regime. If that sentiment is true, then this current outlaw regime may well be on its last legs. It may not appear to be so, this Administration may appear to be unassailable during this time of war. But pride always goes before a fall.

Of course, as noted before about the global opposition to this war, what is even more terrifying to think about are the implications this Iraqi misadventure may have for the world at large. It is quite possible that the Middle East will soon be in an uproar, for much of the Muslim world (including Indonesia and Malaysia) views this invasion as an attack on Islam itself. A clash of civilizations. A new Crusade. This is the biggest fear many of us have. In fact, crazed lunatics of all stripes and all religions will probably seize on this current conflict as a justification to further their causes. Islamic extremists couldn't have received a better gift. And despite the support that most Israelis give to the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq, the Palestinian situation will only become exacerbated because of it. Unless the British and Americans can somehow secure a peace by assuring the creation of a viable Palestinian state that can exist peacefully alongside Israel, I fear an increase in the cycle of violence is a certainty.

It is also not an exercise in rocket science to point out the fact that there is the danger that Iraq may become the next Yugoslavia. Aggressive military leaders representing the Kurds in the North and the Sh'ites in the South are both waiting to step into the power vacuum after the war is over. Turkey is jittery over the implications that a strong Kurdish force may have for the terrorist problems with their Kurdish minority in the south of their country. The recipe for a prolonged and bloody regional conflict is being stirred up as we speak.

Another fear is that the consequences of the war may be like throwing a giant Depleted Uranium tipped wrench into the peaceful working relationship that has developed between the superpower that is the United States and the other two "1A" superpowers Russia and China. Already tensions between Russia and America are at their highest level since the end of the Cold War. The U.S. has formally protested the aid that Iraq has received from certain Russian companies in helping the Iraqi regime work on computer equipment that can jam American electronic signals needed for precise targeting in their aerial bombardment campaign. Russia and China both have vested economic interests in Iraq, and feel that these interests are in dire danger after the war is over. The fact that Iraq is home to the second largest oil reserves on the planet is well noted. The fact that the United States have already publicly announced that private companies such as Haliburton, U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney's old firm, are in line to profit from the rebuilding of Iraq is more than suspicious. Bypassing the traditional UN humanitarian organizations does not sit well with anyone, especially Russia and China.

The only conclusion that one can draw when considering all these aspects of the post-Iraq War world is that, far from securing global peace and stability, this current conflict will only increase the danger of an apocalyptic future. Religious extremists and fanatical military industrialists may find this appealing, but I can assure you that the vast majority of the rest of us do not.

Unfortunately, it may be that our voices will be heard but left unheeded. After all, as Bush himself said, it really doesn't matter what we think.

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