America’s the best… but
February 27, 2003
I need to take a break from the law to get something off my chest. But before I do I want you to read a powerful and compelling pro-American news column appearing in the London Daily Mirror on Sept. 11, 2002 by British writer Tony Parsons at http://www.mirror.co.uk/columnists/tonyparsons (click on Previous Columns then “Shame on You American-Hating Liberals” dated 11/09/2002). Or call the office and we can e-mail or fax the column to you.War wrong move for nowHaving said that, however, I am deeply concerned about our war on Iraq.For months I had hoped President Bush was a good poker player – pushing, pushing, pushing – until Saddam Hussein resigned, or weapons of mass destruction were found that caused all of the world to unite against the tyrant.But he seems hell-bent on attacking Iraq, even if we have to go it alone, and I am not convinced of the Bush plan.We must push for unfettered UN inspections but we cannot ignore our traditional allies and take on Iraq by ourselves. Right or wrong, we will isolate our country – against not only the Muslim world, but we will be a catalyst for Islamic terrorism: Made to order for Osama Bin Laden.To be clear, we can and should contain Saddam Hussein and we should go after Bin Laden and Islamic terrorists with all our might.But there is no downside to waiting to see what the inspectors come up with. If they find nothing, then President Bush needs to produce other evidence to justify an invasion. And if the inspectors come up with what President Bush says they should, then the world community will join us in condemnation.Why do we pick Iraq when North Korea and other countries pose even more serious risks? Saddam is despicable and worthy of containment, but probably no threat to our country – and certainly not worth isolating the U.S. from its long-time allies.Certainly he is not as serious a threat as the consequences of attacking Iraq.The United States cannot save (or control) the entire world. And that’s where we are heading. We have occupation troops in Bosnia and Afghanistan and we are poised to take over Iraq.Where does it stop?I am no political strategist (an obvious understatement), but I can assure you that most Iraqis will not welcome our occupation and automatically embrace democracy. It is arrogant of us to think they will.The cost to attack Iraq is staggering (e.g. $15 billion to buy Turkey’s support alone), which will pale in comparison to the cost of occupying Iraq. And what does the cost of a war on Iraq do to our national economy and domestic budget?While Americans will rally behind our leaders for a just cause and to protect our country, I believe a majority will not support a long-term occupation of Iraq.Dividing our country is not a determinative factor, but is a negative consideration – in my view. To my nave surprise, I am realizing that President Bush and his advisors consider the “oil factor” in developing policy against Saddam Hussein. It’s about the oil stupid. I find that discouraging.President Bush has done serious damage by turning the entire world against the United States.I have heard from many European friends, how they love the American people and the United States – but distrust our government and its heavy-handed foreign policy. I am beginning to feel the same way.I even considered joining a peace march, but I would be self-conscious and am just as skeptical about peace marchers, especially those with ingenuous signs that oppose war under any circumstances.Besides, I’ve never looked good with a flower in my hair.Jim Porter is an attorney with Porter-Simon, with offices in Truckee, South Lake Tahoe and Reno. He is a mediator and was the Governor’s appointee to the Bipartisan McPherson Commission and the California Fair Political Practices Commission. He may be reached at email@example.com or at the firm’s web site http://www.portersimon.com.