Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Financial Morass

And the hits keep on coming. From The Atlantic (July/August 2009):

Operation Iraqi Freedom now ranks second only to World War II as the most expensive conflict in U.S. history. Transforming Iraq has cost roughly $1 trillion, with the meter still running and the job unfinished. Transforming Afghanistan, by any measure an even more daunting task, is likely to cost as much or more. That’s money we don’t have.

I agree with Colin Powell--we broke Iraq, and we have to fix it--but that doesn't mean I like the idea and expense of American troops in Iraq. I can't tell you how many times I wish Americans had demanded clear evidence of an actual threat before invading Iraq. Did we really allow only 19 men/terrorists to pollute our view of the world's 1.3 billion Muslims? Otherwise, how else did we get to the point where so many Americans irrationally viewed Muslims and Arabs as threats and therefore deserving of war and undeserving of sovereignty?

On a more somber note, estimated 100,000 Iraqis have died from violence since the 2003 invasion. Since 2003, over 4,000 Americans have died in Iraq.

2 comments:

Adam Rogoyski said...

What evidence is there that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have anything to do with arabs or muslims? George Bush used poor judgment throughout his presidency, but he did not do things out of xenophobia or intolerance.

K_Yew said...

Adam, thank you for your comment. I know Bush is from Texas, and you are legally obligated to defend a fellow Texan :-)

I agree that Bush didn't invade Iraq because he was intolerant of Arabs or Muslims. But as far as I know, Bush only used military force to promote regime change in Arab and Muslim countries. His policies resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Arab and Muslim lives, including approximately 100,000 Iraqi civilians. Such a unique focus deserves to be analyzed from all angles.

During his tenure, Bush could have focused on several non-Arab countries that threatened American security and interests. North Korea (NK) is one example. No military action was threatened or taken, despite the fact that North Korea had nuclear weapons and has been openly hostile to America for several years. Instead of using our military against NK, Bush focused mostly on Iran, a Muslim country--despite the fact that Iran does not currently have nuclear weapons. NK may now have the capability to attack Hawaii b/c of Bush's inaction.

Also, Somali pirates cost American corporations millions of dollars every year. Somalia is a non-Arab country. Bush did not take any long-term military action against Somalia. I realize that Bush may have wanted to avoid another Mogadishu, but I don't remember him ever talking about regime change in Somalia. (I realize Somalia is a Muslim country, but it is not an Arab country.)

Bush also failed to speak out against the 2006 Lebanon war, a war that resulted in 1,000 Lebanese civilians dead and 1 million displaced Lebanese residents. UNICEF estimated that 30% of Lebanese killed were children under the age of 13. Many experts believe Bush did not intervene in this humanitarian crisis and may have stalled a ceasefire agreement because he was giving one of our allies a chance to effect regime change.

I won't mention Muslim Afghanistan, b/c the situation is extremely complicated, and I support military action against the Taliban. However, it is important to note that American forces may have *accidentally* killed anywhere between 100 and 400 Afghan Muslim civilians. See

http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/asiapcf/02/17/afghanistan.civilian.casualties/index.html

In short, there is ample evidence that during Bush's tenure, hundreds of thousands of Arabs and Muslims were killed because of his direct actions or deliberate inaction. There is no evidence that Bush was responsible for directly or indirectly killing hundreds of thousands of non-Arabs or non-Muslims. The bloody record speaks for itself.

Many of my friends have an alternate explanation. They say oil was the reason for the invasion of Iraq and the threats to Iran, but I'm not so sure. I don't think Bush would sacrifice 4,200 American lives for oil. Perhaps his born-again Christianity made Bush biased against non-Christian countries and made him feel like Richard I, a ruler bringing a crusading light to Arab and Muslim countries. I don't think Bush consciously intended to be a crusader, but the death count and the hundreds of thousands of Arab and Muslim civilian deaths speak for themselves.

Bush may not have been guided by xenophobia or intolerance. Even so, an intolerant, xenophobic Bush would have had a hard time topping the Bush we had unless he used a nuclear weapon. Ultimately, the result is the same: hundreds of thousands of Arabs and Muslims are dead because of Bush's direct and indirect actions.

I do not know of Bush being responsible for hundreds of thousands of Christian or non-Arab deaths, and I hope you will correct me if I have missed more unfortunate deaths.