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The Engineer

The Life and Times of Donald F. Simmons

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Here we go!

Well Gulf War II (or CNN War II) is under way. The situation is pretty confused right now, half the things they said an hour ago they seem to be retracting now. It does seem that some highly specific strikes have been launched to try and wipe out Hussein and the rest of the Iraq leadership. Clear information is going to be a while coming in, so I'm not planning on staying up late.

How do I feel about all this? It's possible to make an excellent case for regime change in Iraq. Hussein's one of the nastiest dictators around. He got his country into two useless wars, and Amnesty International has volumes on massive human-rights violations he's committed over the years. His complete intransigeance over weapons inspections, which did not threaten his rule in any way, just shows how little regard he has for the people of Iraq. And to top it all off, it's possible to remove him militarily without massive risk to other populations (which is not the case with North Korea). Nobody is going to lose any sleep over seeing the last of him, a fact many war protestors seem to overlook. A lot of them regard Bush as being worse than Hussein, to which I answer where would you rather live, the States or Iraq?

That said, I have little faith in the Bush Administration past the military campaign. While they should be able to remove him, I don't think they have any real interest in all the work and expense it'll take to properly rebuild the country. Look how fast they lost interest in Afghanistan once they moved past the dropping bombs stage. Ten years from now both countries might well be back in the same messes with no progress made.

Also, the Bush Administration has so completely mishandled the diplomatic issues that they've got the bulk of the world's countries, includes some important allies, lined up against them. The fallout from all this will be years settling down. And it was so completely unnecessary. The "You're with us or against us" attitude, plus the constantly changing rationals for the war, and the transparent attempts to link Hussein to Al Qeada (for which they've never offered any evidence) alienated plenty of people.

Finally, the Bush Administration seems to have a real contempt for due process. Their handling of terrorist suspects has boiled down to "The White House will do whatever it pleases to and since we're at war how dare you criticize us!" If they wanted to pass new laws regarding the handling of terrorists they probably could have managed it, but they didn't even bother doing that. They've simply stated they have the power to strip people of citizenship, lock them up for indefinite periods, etc. etc with no oversight and no appeal. Because they know what's right and they don't have to answer to anyone.

Sigh. It's going to be a while yet till we see how the chips finally fall. But I predict it won't save the presidency. Bush's numbers are sinking across the board on domestic issues, and those are the ones you get re-elected on. Once the thrill of the war campaign fades away and all the real problems begin, I'm betting he'll follow in his father's footsteps.