April 14, 2003

By Michael Strickland

Conspiracy Theory

I love a good conspiracy theory. Most prove to be hoaxes or urban legends, but they're fun nonetheless. And the best of them really stretch your mind. And now I've got my own conspiracy theory about one aspect of the war in Iraq.

Today, I tuned in to Bill O'Reilly's "Radio Factor" during my lunch break, and listened to the commentator express shock that many members of the Iraqi leadership have ostensibly been able to flee across the Iraqi border into Syria. Why didn't the Americans assume control of the border sooner, he wondered. Apparently there's only one road into Syria, so on the surface, it seems like it would indeed have been easy for a platoon of American and/or British paratroopers to jump in and take control of the Iraq-Syria border early on in the war. It has been no secret that Syria is Iraq's friendliest neighbor, and would be the natural place to go if Iraqi leaders had to flee on the ground.

So... could coalition forces only do so much? Was there some simple reason to explain their failure to plug the hole before Saddam and his cronies slipped through it? Or could there be a deeper, more sinister rationale behind this apparent mistake?

Suppose one has one's sights on Syria as a terrorist-friendly regime. Though the country is not part of President Bush's "Axis of Evil," it is a card-carrying member of the "Axis of Wanting to Be as Evil as the Axis of Evil." Taking care of North Korea will be a delicate, drawn-out matter. The best course of action with regard to Iran might be a "wait and see" approach. So that leaves Syria "on deck" in the War on Terror. But with the diplomatic difficulties the U.S. faced in trying to oust the regime of a brutal dictator like Saddam Hussein, how could we possibly make a case for an invasion and/or regime change in Syria? The answer is simple, if you're a conspiracy theorist.

Let one's coalition forces run amok in Iraq, invading from the north and south, cutting a swath across the country and taking control of town after town. All the while, leave a clear path to Syria wide open, seemingly by mistake, so the key members of Saddam's regime (including, perhaps, a non-decapitated Saddam) can flee into pesky little Syria. Knowing Syria's pro-Iraq/anti-U.S. leanings, one can predict with a fair degree of certainty that Syria would disclaim any knowledge of the presence of such war fugitives on its soil, deny any involvement in harboring these wanted men. Suddenly, the U.S. has a very good case for invading Syria, assuming circumstantial evidence can be produced to show that the Iraqi leaders are indeed hiding in Syria.

Granted, my knowledge of foreign policy and geo-politics is rather limited, and my main expertise lies in the "what if" scenarios of science fiction and creative writing. But it does seem a compelling possibility to contemplate that the Bush administration purposely allowed the Iraqi leadership to flee into Syria in order to justify a future invasion of that country. It would certainly be a cunning plan. I guess we'll have to wait and see.


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

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4/13: Los Coronados
4/12: Y2K in Y2K3
4/11: Slow Glass
4/10: Freedom of Speech
4/9: Why We're Fighting
4/8: Eucalyptus Memories
4/7: Sleep
4/6: Writing, Just Not Here
4/5: Sci-Files Trivia
4/4: Sobering Up
4/3: Great White Hope
4/2: Entropy
4/1: Peace on Earth
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