Staff Editorial: No Sane Reason for Iraq War
After last week’s little piece of farcical slumber-party theater on the senate floor, questions about the war abound, most of them stemming from this campaign of misinformation that defies logic and critical thinking. So what’s it going to be? Is the troop surge working, or do we need to send even more of our soldiers over there? Are we fighting them over there so we don’t have to on the home front, or is there an imminent terrorist threat looming over our cities even as we speak? Is this administration following a precise plan or are they just making it up as they go along? But the big question, one we’ve been asking for five years and to which we have yet to hear a satisfactory answer, remains this: What, exactly, are we doing over there? Applying Socratic method to this war is an exercise in frustration. Did we invade Iraq to retaliate for 9-11? If so, we’re pretty stupid. No matter how many times the chickenhawks bring up the Twin Towers when discussing this conflict, no matter what their water carriers say and think, there is still no connection between the events of 9-11 and Iraq. Most of the attackers were Saudis and Egyptians, and Osama bin Laden masterminded the plot from Afghanistan. Did we do it for oil? If so, we have failed miserably. On Sept. 11, 2001 the average price of gas in the US was $1.56 per gallon. It has doubled since then. Did we invade to oust an oppressive dictator and bring stability to the region? Perhaps. Saddam Hussein was not a good guy, but the notion that Iraq is better off now is laughable. Trying to get to the motives of the Bush administration for this war leads to disturbing theories. Did the president, like some barroom psychologists think, invade Iraq and send Hussein to his grave because of daddy issues? Did Cheney approve this war because of the lucrative Halliburton contracts? Did Rumsfeld do it for the sheer joy of unleashing the dogs of war? There is another theory: that Bush, an evangelical Christian who has said he believes God wanted him to run for president, is acting on what he feels is a divine mission to either bring his own faith to the people of the Middle East or bring the non-believers forcibly into submission. Which is exactly what extreme Islamic terrorist factions are doing. To assign these intentions to the administration may be unfair, but in the absence of any real answers we are left to our own devices to ascertain their reasons. What is not in dispute, however, are the results of this month’s CBS/New York Times poll which registers 45 percent of respondents as saying the US efforts in Iraq are going “very badly” and 51 percent who believe that the 20,000 surge troops have had “no impact” on the situation. But public opinion, these days, seems to matter very little.