March 16, 2003

By Michael Strickland

To War or Not to War

As we wait and watch on the eve of war, I thought I would post some interesting bits culled from today's news. Some might make you more certain that the U.S. is doing the right thing, some might make you question our actions further. Certainly, there has been enough material flying left and right these past months to keep me questioning my conviction, to hold me back from taking a firm stand one way or the other. There seem to be so many good reasons for taking out Saddam Hussein, yet so many good reasons for taking it slow, deferring to the U.N.'s authority. I'll let you form your own opinion, because my mind's still far from made up, even at this late juncture.

Hidden WMDs?
The Sunday Times of London reports that an Iraqi official who supervised the burial of chemical weapons outside of Baghdad just before U.N. weapons inspectors arrived last November was executed as he tried to flee Iraq. The members of Iraq's Special Security Organization who hid the weapons were reportedly all killed to keep the location secret. Khalis Muhsin al-Tikriti, the engineer who oversaw the operation, then tried to escape, suspecting he was next. He was.

Iraqi Freedom of Speech
That same Sunday Times article reported a decree by Saddam Hussein several weeks ago proscribing anyone from discussing reports that he step down to avoid war. The penalty was death—a punishment which at least one Iraqi received. Iraqi civilian Mohammed Hadid, overheard talking about Saddam's exile, was taken to Baghdad, tied to a post, had his tongue cut out and was left to bleed to death.

The Other Cost of War
In an editorial in today's San Diego Union-Tribune, Joyce Neu made a point regarding the cost of war which I hadn't previously considered. Opponents of a war in Iraq have made much of the billions that have been or will be spent on military preparations and action against Iraq. They contend that expending so much money when the domestic economy is in such dire straits is fiscally irresponsible. Neu added a whole new column to that spreadsheet by including the cost of rebuilding into the argument. If the U.S. goes it alone in a war against Iraq, will we not have to foot the bill for rebuilding Iraq alone as well? If it costs billions to bring down buildings and destroy infrastructure, how much will it cost to rebuild all of it?

Our Responsibilities in Iraq
Daniel Terris followed a similar line of reasoning in an editorial in the Los Angeles Times. He asserted that once an outside nation intervenes militarily against another nation—as we will be doing if/when we effect a regime change in Iraq—the intervener is responsible for the outcome. Once U.S. planes drop the first bomb, we will shoulder the burden of restoring Iraq's infrastructure, ensuring the welfare of Iraqi civilians, and establishing and maintaining a stable democracy in the aftermath of the war. If the result of President Bush's "moment of truth" is war, we have to be ready and willing not only to take out Saddam and disarm Iraq, but also to build a new country for the Iraqi people.


Development note: I've noticed that this site doesn't look like it should in Netscape Navigator. Rather than waste time jury-rigging it to look right in a soon-to-be-obsolete browser, I'll just add the cliché "This site best viewed with Internet Explorer."
Michael Strickland ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

What is "The Daily Strick"?

I have long called myself a writer, but too often I don't do what a writer must do daily: write. So you, dear reader, are the beneficiary of my resolution to make a positive change in at least one area of my life. Every single day of this new year, I will write something, anything, and post it here. It is my intention to use this daily exercise to jump-start my too-long-dormant creative energies, and perhaps generate some worthwhile material this year. Hopefully you will find at least an occasional amusement or insight in my daily musings.

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3/15: So Long, Seau
3/14: Telemarketing Pays
3/13: Free, For Now
3/12: Chicken Little Gets Respect
3/11: Axis of Evil
3/10: Writing Kept Me From Writing
3/9: King Arthur
3/8: The Women are Smarter
3/7: Salt on Old Wounds
3/6: 3/3/03, 3:33 p.m.
3/5: Beer Day
3/4: Pulling the Trigger
3/3: Make 'Em Laugh
3/2: Whither Iraq?
3/1: Strickland Cellars
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