Europe Crosses the Rubicon
As our national nightmare in Iraq continues, we dare not forget what was behind the terrible 9/11 attacks—the stationing of U.S. troops on Islamic holy lands in Saudi Arabia, the brutal 12-year embargo against Iraq that contributed to the deaths of literally hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi children, and our government’s financial and military support of Israel’s foreign policy.
Meanwhile, two weeks after the Madrid terrorist attacks, Europeans are assessing their own version of 9/11. What is now being called “3/11” has done nothing to decrease their anxiety about the Bush administration’s handling of international terrorism. In fact, a new consensus has now emerged among the majority of Europeans: The attack on Iraq was the wrong war, at the wrong time, for the wrong reasons. Europe has crossed the Rubicon.
The Bush administration has defended its wartime policy by stating it has spent a billion dollars searching for WMD in Iraq, weapons deemed numerous and dangerous enough to justify attacking a country that had never threatened America. Europeans aren’t buying it, however. They see through the slippery logic too easily. The administration began by claiming that Saddam Hussein definitely had weapons in known locations. Then it claimed that Saddam had programs to develop weapons. Next it claimed that Saddam had plans to develop programs to develop weapons. Next it claimed that Saddam had ambitions to develop programs to develop weapons. Finally it claimed that Iraq had scientists capable of making weapons. According to this logic, one wonders why our government hasn’t bombed North Korea yet. Led by one of the world’s worst dictators and possessing some of the world’s nastiest weapons, North Korea could wipe out our forces in South Korea before we even mobilized our troops for attack. It has biological and chemical warheads, and maybe nuclear ones. And its missiles can hit any U.S. base in Asia.
Now, in a strange turn of events, the Gulf Daily News, citing an exclusive report in its sister paper Akhbar Al Khaleej, reported yesterday that parts of missiles, chemical and germ warfare agents, and nuclear weapons are being shipped into Iraq, and that the shipments are being brought in by U.S. forces. Quoting Iraqi Transportation Ministry sources, the report said U.S. forces offloaded this equipment from cargo ships at the port of Umm Qasr during Ashoora. It claimed that riots in the area, coupled with major explosions that killed and injured a large number of Iraqis, had enabled the parts to be offloaded while the attention of the Iraqi people was elsewhere. The report also said that some of the parts were made in the U.S. during the 1980s and 1990s for weapons that had been bought by Saddam Hussein—weapons the U.N. inspectors earlier reported as having been destroyed.
Whatever one makes of this report, it will undoubtedly make Europeans all the more skittish about U.S. foreign policy, especially in light of the Bush administration’s reluctance to open its files and let the public learn exactly what the U.S. government knew — and when it knew it — about the existence of WMD in Iraq prior to the war. Why should anyone believe the exaggerations and deceptions of those who led America into a war that now threatens the nation’s economic survival through the uncontrolled federal spending needed to support it?
If terrorism is indeed rooted in hatred for America’s “freedom and values,” as the Bush administration claims, isn’t it time to stand up for those values? More importantly, if American foreign policy is morally bankrupt, as more and more Americans are beginning to realize, wouldn’t it make sense for Bush to throw out the neocons who led us down this slippery slope in the first place?
Americans might well learn a lesson from our friends in Europe.
March 22, 2004
David Alan Black is the editor of www.daveblackonline.com. His latest book, Why I Stopped Listening to Rush: Confessions of a Recovering Neocon, will be released this year.