Potomac Fever is the blog of the Hamilton College Semester in Washington Program.
These seem more aggressive-aggressive than passive-aggressive
I would be interested to see how a passive aggressive stance towards saddam hussein would have worked. I also wonder how many people he would have already killed in Iraq given the recent protests... just a thought
We have to give Bush a little credit for his assertions that ALL people want and are ready for freedom.
One might question the wisdom of asserting freedom on the Iraqi people through "Shock and Awe." I would certainly argue that the non-violent techniques used over the past months have proven to be much more effective, and will likely create a stabler base on which to build a government. The democratic promise of the people, by the people, and for the people rings hollow when it's proclaimed by a tomahawk cruise missile. That's the lesson of Bush.
It is likely that there would be revolts in Iraq--in fact, there are currently revolts in Iraq. Hardly the sign of a stable and functioning democracy.Let us not forget the civilian death toll of the Iraq War--WikiLeaks uncovered classified government figures in excess of 100,000 lives. Indeed, the amazing thing about this months revolutions is that they have been very peaceful as revolutions go. In Libya, the most violent state, we have seen a few thousand dead. Hardly 100,000.Let's also consider the source of the freedom fighting in the Middle East. I suggest Al Jazeera, a network we get in the apartments. This is the best source I can imagine on the Arab perspective. Overwhelmingly, the people interviewed are begging the US to stay out. Today, I saw an interview with one of the rebel leaders in Libya. He told the US to mind its own business and they would mind theirs. I am not saying that the US should have no role in these revolutions. However, compared to Iraq, these domestically inspired revolutions have been more successful in almost every conceivable way--less death, faster, greater domestic consensus, and yes, an embrace of freedom.
Let's talk death toll. Nearly a million deaths can be linked directly or indirectly to Suddam Hussein. His methods include torture, secret police, oppression of women and gays, chemical gas, spreading anti-American sentiment, MASS GENOCIDE OF HIS OWN PEOPLE etc. etc. What is the difference between Iraq and Rwanda? Can you seriously argue that Iraq was better off then than they are now? What should we have done? tougher sanctions? We tried that, and all they did was lower the quality of life for the Iraqi people even more. Sanctions have never successfully removed a dictator. Yes there are revolts in Iraq. Iraq is far far from perfect. These revolts are not calling for a new government, just an improved one. Although these revolts have been somewhat peaceful they would not have been had Suddam Hussein been in power. We saw how Suddam responded to revolts in Iraq a couple times- by killing hundreds of thousands of people. Notice how I have not once endorsed Bush's methods. He made a number of tactical mistakes in his foreign policy. He overestimated the Iraqi people's view of America and underestimated the costs and difficulties of rebuilding a fragmented nation like Iraq. All the same, I would like to hear your proposals for what should have been done. I am not advocating getting seriously involved in the Middle Eastern revolutions. This is a different situation than Iraq. It would just be nice if the Obama Administration would show some consistency and start standing up for what America believes in.
Also, many people in Libya DO want help from the West.
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