succumbing to peer pressure

Tuesday, March 18, 2003

So I keep trying to get back here to re-cap my weekend in NYC, but I just can't bring myself to...I've been feeling so overwhelmed/depressed/outnumbered by this whole 48-hour-ultimatum that it seems inappropriate to blog about mundane things, yet I just can't get the thoughts in my head to solidify into coherent enough ideas to post a monologue. This is the closest I can remember to feeling hopeless and cynical since adolescence. I just...I just can't believe "we're" actually doing this. Putting "we" in scare quotes somehow makes me feel just a little bit better, like even though I'm a part of the we that is America, and therefore technically a part of the "we" that is preparing to drop bombs on Iraq, putting it in quotes is the furthest I can get from actually being included in the group of people who are in favor of this war. Since I can't get my own thoughts in order, I'll just post some thought-provoking quotes from Bush Sr. regarding his war with Iraq...Thanks to Carrie for e-mailing me this stuff:

p. 464:
"I firmly believed we should not march into Baghdad. Our stated mission, as codified in UN resolutions, was a simple one - end the aggression, knock Iraq's forces out of Kuwait, and restore Kuwait's leaders. To occupy Iraq would instantly shatter our coalition, turning the whole Arab world against us, and make a broken tyrant into a latter-day Arab hero. It would have taken us way beyond the imprimatur of international law bestowed by the resolutions of the Security Council, assigning young soldiers to a fruitless search for a securely entrenched dictator and condemning them to fight in what would be an unwinnable urban guerilla war. It could only plunge that part of the world into even greater instability and destroy the credibility we were working so hard to reestablish."

"Trying to eliminate Saddam, extending the ground war into an occupation of Iraq, would have violated our guideline about not changing objectives in midstream, engaging in "mission creep," and would have incurred incalculable human and political costs. Apprehending him was probably impossible. We had been unable to find Noriega in Panama, which we knew intimately. We would have been forced to occupy Baghdad and, in effect, rule Iraq. The coalition would instantly have collapsed, the Arabs deserting it in anger and other allies pulling out as well. Under those circumstances, there was no viable 'exit strategy' we could see, violating another of our principles. Furthermore, we had been self-consciously trying to set a pattern for handling aggression in the post-Cold War world. Going in and occupying Iraq, thus unilaterally exceeding the United Nations' mandate, would have destroyed the precedent of international response to aggression that we hoped to establish. Had we gone the invasion route, the United States could conceivable still be an occupying power in a bitterly hostile land. It would have been a dramatically different - and perhaps barren - outcome."

p .491:
"In our operations during the war itself, we were as well attempting to establish a pattern and precendent for the future. We had sought, and succeeded, to obtain the mandate of the world community to liberate Kuwait. Unilaterally going significantly beyond that mandate, we might have undermined the confidence of the United Nations to make future grants of such deadly authority."

All quotes from the book "A world transformed" by George Bush and Brent Scowcroft


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