Monday, November 17, 2003

Iraq, North Korea, and beyond 


Saddam Hussein, the ego-maniacal President of Iraq has done little to nothing to improve living conditions for his people while living an opulent lifestyle, even while in seclusion. He didn't claim to have nuclear capabilities or biological weapons, but based on his regime's atrocities and the "intelligence" gathered that "proved" he was a threat, we invaded their country and are still stuck there. Our main reason for this line of action was that he threatened our way of life and compromised the safety of the world. Turns out our intelligence was a sham, that our reasons were not sound. Furthermore, we ignored the UN and all the countries that opposed this action and invaded anyway. Right or wrong, we are there now and hopefully we can finish up quickly without losing many, if any, more lives be they American, Iraqi or otherwise. And hopefully, VP Cheney and his cronies will not become too much wealthier as a result. But again, that was another blog.

Now let's visit North Korea. The North Korean president, Kim Jong Il, is certifiable. The man is crazy. He is paranoid, vain, and completely unpredictable. There are rumors that he indulges in 4 day banquets while a vast majority of his "countrymen" are starving in extreme poverty. Various other rumors include:
1. Kidnapping young women from Japan and elsewhere to be his "companions" in his luxury villas.
2. He is suspected of being behind the 1983 bomb attack in Rangoon that killed several members of
the South Korean Cabinet as well as the bombing of a South Korean airliner in 1987.
3. Atrocities against his own people that are comparable to those committed in Nazi Germany such as: starvation and deprivation (aid packages meant for the poor actually pay for the luxuries of the affluent leaders), virtually non-existent medical facilities, a "general state of mental depression", etc.

Recently, Kim Jong Il reported that they have the necessary materials for nuclear weapons. This has not been verified, but it is being taken very seriously.

Here we have a situation that is potentially much more dangerous than the Iraq situation, a situation in which the people of the country are treated at least as badly and more likely worse than the Iraqi people; this being the backing for a humanitarian imposition (as stated in Iraq). Yet there has been no mention of force, no overt threats such as those used against Hussein, only diplomacy. Granted, Hussein played his game with us for over a decade, so maybe the issue of hurt pride and saving face (on the part of the US) should be considered (as well as the presence of oil, which has already greatly benefited Cheney's "ex"-company. Again, I digress).

Why the differing approaches? Why do we start a war against one dictator but not the other, when the calmer less aggressive approach would seem to make more sense against a true threat (Iraq)? Consistency appears to be suspiciously missing, and our justifications for the Iraqi invasion seem weaker and weaker with each passing day. This only serves to further deteriorate the international community's perceptions of us, and that is a huge failing of this administration. This is yet one more example of our Christian Missionary of a president being unable to discern the nuances between countries; to realize that he will not convert the world to Christianity and that in trying he will only further alienate them; that not every country is the same as the US! This misguided man, who spent almost his entire life in the US, was not exposed to foreign (therefore different) cultures until he took office. That is a catastrophe! He is too closed (simple?) minded to realize that countries are all different! I did not like President Clinton, but I now appreciate his ability to please foreign leaders and BE a politician who knows how to talk to and appease foreign powers. I would almost like him back so that he could try and fix the international damage done to us both as a country and as individuals.

Sorry for the digression at the end there, but those were thoughts just busting to come out. If you look hard and squint, you might see a tenuous connection....

Anyway, I struggle to understand the difference reactions to these situations as well as our avoidance of deplorable conditions in other countries. I struggle to not believe that we started this war for either oil and/or revenge (Saddam did attempt as assassination of Bush Sr). I want to believe that there is much that we don't know in regards to intelligence gathered, but I am having a very tough time. My biggest concern is that more and more of the world will generate hatred towards us and that Americans outside of this country will have infinitely more reasons to fear for their safety.

If you study history (and don't ignore most of it like too many people/leaders do), EVERY GREAT NATION HAS FALLEN. Every single one. And every one had the arrogance and ignorance to feel invincible. This is our attitude. We feel we can not be defeated. Well, why not? If history is right, one day we too will be submissive to another great power. Too often I feel that the arrogance and condescension of our leaders are driving us closer to this end; that the decisions made are serving to speed up the process. We are like a solitary bully in a grade school class-eventually the rest of the class will tire of being harassed and will forego their differences and band together long enough to overcome the bully. I don't like these premises, and I don't like that I am beginning to see us as a bit of a bully.

We are alienating more and more countries and peoples. All the small like to see the great fall. What comes next? Do we become contrite and apologetic? Or continue speeding toward our demise? I hope for the former. I hope Bush either realizes his cowboy attitude is not appreciated, or I hope he is defeated in the next election by someone who understands the need for good international relations.

Pan help us

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Name: Corey
Location: Portland, Oregon, United States

I'm on a journey with no destination. The path is constantly changing direction but there are always adventures to be had. "Never" and "always" have left my lexicon.

WWW http:/www.jimspeak.blogspot.com