Saturday | February 15, 2003
No shots fired yet, and everything is already FUBAR
Damn things are messed up. This post has no overriding point or thesis. Just a smattering of war-related news. None of it good.
In the international arena, the Bush and his cabal of chickenhawks must contend with an embittered world -- a striking turn of events after the international outpouring of support post 9-11.
Since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the administration has pursued an especially muscular foreign policy, but foreign officials say anger at the administration's style set in almost from the moment President Bush took office. The administration's rejection of the Kyoto treaty to stem global warming and Bush's abrupt dismissal of South Korea's "sunshine" policy toward North Korea set the impression that the administration was not interested in listening too closely to the concerns of its allies, diplomats said. The administration exacerbated tensions by refusing to join the International Criminal Court, withdrawing from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and announcing a doctrine of fighting preventive wars that surprised and concerned allies.The US has two solid allies in this war -- Britain and Australia. But Britain is starting to show signs of weakness as Blair has vowed to let inspectors continue their work. Can there be any doubt the massive protests in the UK are having an effect? Blair has made a plea for the protesters' understanding:
I simply ask the marchers, however well intentioned, to understand this: I do not seek unpopularity as a badge of honour, but sometimes it is the price of leadership.Bush has to pray Blair doesn't lose his nerve or get ousted by his own party. It is the only US ally to commit any significant number of forces to the invasion. In Australia, PM Howard remains solidly in Bush's corner, even to the extent of parroting Bush's disdain for additional inspections. Yet Sydney saw 100,000 protesters, and Melbourne 150,000. Not that it matters. Howard, like Bush, doesn't give a damn.
This is not something where you read each opinion poll or you measure the number of people at demonstrations.This war is going to cost A LOT of money. The US has offered Turkey $6 billion, though Turkey is holding out for more. The US has also offered Israel an additional $4 billion and the Great Democracy of Jordan (please note sarcasm) will receive another $1 billion.
So while our nation suffers deficits as far as the eye can see, we have already promised $11 billion in bribes to get the war on. Also toss in an additional $28 billion in loan guarantees for Turkey and Israel. Will Congress approve?
Finally, even the rosiest predictions of a quick US victory in Iraq point to a humanitarian and environmental catastrophe of epic proportions.
To impede American and allied forces, Saddam Hussein's administration has developed plans to blow up dams, destroy bridges and ignite its oil fields, American defense officials say. They say Iraq may also deny food to Iraqi civilians in the southern parts of the country to try to create a crisis that would saddle advancing allied forces with the responsibility of caring for millions of desperate Iraqi civilians.Posted February 15, 2003 09:16 PM | Comments (20)