I try pretty hard to not get political on this blog but it seems as though about every third post recently has been about global politics. Historians like to talk about the seamless web of history and how nothing has a single cause (As if they had been able to view all events for all time and absolutely determine that nothing has ever had a single cause) However, my recent fixation on politics rather than my more normal naval gazing has but a single cause. The G7 conference here in my home town of Hong Kong.
As ranted about in previous post these people upset me not because I completely disagree with them, at least in theory but rather because they make it impossible to disagree with them even in part, without them throwing rocks at you. Thus, they make me have to adopt a position on issues that is more extreme than I would normally take just so that I am justified in throwing things back at them.
I also find them, as I have stated in previous post, to be somewhat duplicous and deceptive.
This weekend they gave me another reason to hate them.
Some big mucky-muck from the G7 was in Hong Kong this weekend. There, predictably enough were the protesters, many of them ignorant, **** ***ed baboon HKU students. (My wife is a professor at HKU so I have close contact with them and they make the most indolent, spoiled, self absorbed Ivy leaguers look like normal people) They had their signs and banners and stupid, sophomoric chants decrying the evils of capitalism and the glories of closed markets.
The sign that bothered me this past weekend was the somewhat universal anti-war sign "No Blood for Oil"
God, this kind of tripe bothers me. It bothers me for two reasons; but, not for the normal right winger type reasons. It bothers me because I would have liked to oppose this war for what I thought were very sound reasons but ended up supporting it because the anti-war movement seems to be entirely made up of certified 100% pure idiots, cowards and brain-dead dope smokers.
First, why I did not support going into Iraq.
1) I don't think "preemptive strikes" are a good ideas. Unlike the left which seems to think they are OK when Bill Clinton bombs aspirin factories or the Chinese embassy in Belgrade, I don't support preemptive strikes from any political wing. You wait until you are attacked or at least obviously threatened. The US invasion of Afghanistan was justified and correct as a reply to the 9-11 attacks because Osama Bin Laden was known to be in the country. Unlike the left, I believe that Saddam Hussein was in cahoots with Al Qaida. However, the US should have waited to be attacked by weapons that were identifiably Iraqi in origin. Again, unlike the left I believe that such an attack would have occurred and it would have killed more people than 9-11. However that is price you pay for not becoming as bad as your enemies.
2) If you are going to invade one dictator because he/she/they are a threat or are so terribly oppressive then it appears to me that you must invade all of them. This becomes problematic in more ways than I wish to go into. If you can't see the problem then you probably couldn't understand the explanation.
3. Even though it wasn't, the invasion of Iraq looks like imperialism. Sometimes perception is stronger than reality.
Another issue inserts itself at this point that I think is worth mentioning.
I was against going into Iraq. However, now that the US has invaded they have a responsibility to stay until it is finished. Paradox? No it isn't. If your nation invades another nation, overthrows the government, destroys the infrastructure and generally does the kinds of things that military invasions do; then your nation OWES that nation something. At the very least you OWE them a better government than the one you overthrew! You probably also OWE them massive amounts of aid for years to come. That is one of the hallmarks of a righteous or just war. You are not invading them to simply make your nation a bigger place with access to more or cheaper resources.
The anti-war movement appears to me to be totally racist and euro-centric. I believe this because it is obvious that they don't give a nickel for the well being for the people of Iraq who have darker skin and eat different foods than the upper-middle class protesters who fly from city to city. They not only didn't want the war they want immediate withdrawal which would leave anarchy and the people there would have probably been better off under Saddam Hussein! The United States now OWES it to the people of Iraq a government and aid to make sure that the conditions, real or imagined that caused this war never occur again.
But here are these progressive wishing a terrible fate on 20 + million or so people for the sole reason of defeating a domestic political opponent in a future election. They, in effect, have just denied the people in Iraq the same level of political freedom they enjoy. That is a terrible crime that rises the level of a war crime. possibly genocide!
I'm sorry, even if you opposed the war you must support finishing it and giving the Iraqi people a better nation as a result. You've got to hope they become another Germany or Japan. Anything else makes you an evil ideologue worse than George Bush, worse than Saddam.
Now, the "No Blood for Oil"
The blood for oil folks took someone who would have been opposed to the war and made him a proponent of it. There are only really two reason for going to war. These can be summarized in the two words Ideology and Resources. Most wars are a combination of both. Wars about resources are easier to justify. This war is about ideology with almost no resources component and is therefore hard to explain. It is also harder to maintain a war effort on ideological principles. This should be the real lesson of Vietnam.
This war was not for oil and such simplistic slogans obscure the real problems with this war.
Think about it a minute. If the war was for oil then gasoline prices would not be over USD $2.00 a gallon in the US because all that Iraqi oil would be shipped to the US for free and turned into gasoline.
Besides if the United states was going to invade a country for its oil it wouldn't invade Iraq which is a long way and difficult to hold. If the US was going to invade a country for its oil the US would have invaded Canada because it has almost as much oil as Iraq, a smaller population and a smaller less able military. Contrary to the Canadians opinion of themselves the US would probably have received less international opposition because Canada is nation almost totally without influence. It would be easier to hold, easier to subdue and a significant percentage of the population would probably welcome the overthrow of the socialist government. Plus, the people who support the government of Canada are all Politically Correct wimps and the country is filled with Mennonites and other assorted pacifist who would whine but not fight back. Canada also has strict gun control laws so the population couldn't form the militias that appear to be everywhere in Iraq. Logistically it would have been easier and probably less bloody as deals could have possibly been worked out with at least some of the native tribes for independence in return for drilling rights not to mention cheaper since the cost of supplying an army in the Middle East is immense. The oil would be closer to home and thus transportation and maintaining supply lines issues would be easier.
This war is not for oil. It is for ideology. You can see that because Iraq was a bad choice for invasion otherwise. The problem with an ideological war is that you cannot be pragmatic about it. There can be no brokered peace. There can only be complete, unconditional surrender. That takes longer and is harder to achieve.
World War II for example was clearly about both ideology and resources. The Japanese were seeking to overrun the Pacific and China to obtain oil, timber, iron and other resources for the heavenly empire. Germany invaded the USSR to gain "luft" or living space for Aryans.
But, now that the US is in the war, it must be finished and won
All of this is beside the point
If fighting a war to maintain a supply of natural resources is not a good grounds for war then what is? Especially when those resources are controlled by governments that are hostile and expansionist. So why not a war for oil? I'd rather fight for oil than fight for a Post Modern interpretation of politics.
The G7 has no control over the US war effort. As such the sign was a worthless exercise in political grandstanding. If you are going to protest then your protest should be appropriate for the official involved. The G7 has at most very little say in the course of US military policy.
The reluctant political pundit