Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Can Iraq pay us back in oil or some other natural resource?

The rallying cry of many hip, young, well-fed, well-scrubbed Iraq war protestors from San Francisco to New York is "No war for oil!" Clearly, this is not a war for oil, otherwise those newly liberated and democracized Iraqis would be paying the U.S. and its coalition allies by the barrel for all of that lovely freedom. Wouldn't it be nice to send them a bill for all of the blood, sweat and cash that we've spent over there?

Hold it right there, I'm not suggesting that money would soothe the loss of over 1,000 soldiers that have died in Iraq. Nor am I suggesting that freedom has a price tag, or that for the low, low price of $200 billion, repressed people could contract us to liberate and democracize their corrupt governments. What I am saying is that it would be nice to have some tangible form of appreciation from the Iraqi people. When it's all said and done, do you really think that they'll be grateful for what we've done? I say no, and it's not because they're not polite, it's because they're too busy fighting among themselves to raise themselves up from third-world status. It seems the men that run Iraq seem too busy opressing women and practicing acts of corporal mortification to notice what the U.S. has done. But what has the U.S. truly done in Iraq?

What makes the coalition forces think that simply getting rid of Sadaam and holding democratic elections will equal a stable Iraq? The different sects of the Islamic religion have been warring for hundreds of years. If and when coalition forces pull out of that country, those sects will probably continue to wage war for another milenium. There is no taming or liberating of the intense hatred those people have for each other, and for America for that matter. Back in the cold war days, we played nice with Afghanistan in order to battle the Russians. We trained the Afghani soldiers and freedom fighters, including a young Saudi named Osama bin Laden. Guess where all of that good training and all of those weapons went? They went straight into the hands of modern-day terrorist groups. Guess where those rifles are pointed now? That's right, true believers, those guns are pointed squarely at the U.S.A. Did we need the Afghanis at that time? Yes. For the short-term it paid off. I would venture to say it stopped paying off the minute the Russians were no longer a threat. Is hindsight 20/20? Yes.

So, we trudge on in Iraq, looking to help stabilize and rebuild the country at the cost of billions of dollars and the lives of young soldiers simply doing their duty. What will the U.S. gain for all of this extra effort and prolonged assistance? I hope it's a not a rifle pointed back in our face several years down the line. Does a liberated Iraq make a war widow or grieving soldier's parent feel any better? I honestly don't know. You'd have to ask them and I can't speak for them. What I can say is that there doesn't seem to be much in this for the coalition forces if Iraq defaults right back into its unstable self. What will hindsight and history say? Time will tell, my friends.

The latest speculation centers around a shiite-run Iraq that will partner with shiites from Iran, creating a modern-day Persian Empire. Greaaaaaat. As if we didn't have enough to worry about without strengthening a potential mega-enemy.

Would it be too much to ask for $200 billion in oil in return? Maybe we can soothe the protestors by asking for $200 billion in camels instead. No? Okay. How about $200 billion in sand? No again? Boy, it's hard to think of something valuable that Iraq can give us if they can't pay in actual money ... or actual peacable prosperity and stability.

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