The Courage of No Convictions
Vol: 60 Issue: 20 Wednesday, September 20, 2006
The United Nations hosted speeches by two of the most controversial leaders in the world today. The first was Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a world leader seeking nuclear power that has dedicated himself and his nation to the destruction of Israel.
Ahmadinejad has a wide following; all 118 members of the Non Aligned Nations Movement met in Cuba to unanimously support Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons and to marginalize the United States at the UN by calling for the Security Council to strip Washington of its veto power.
In addition to Ahamdinejad’s following among the Non Aligned Nations was the head of the United Nations; Kofi Annan, who also attended as a guest speaker and who endorsed much of the NAM’s 92-page resolution.
The second was President George W. Bush of the United States of America. The fact that one could lump the leader of the United States into a sub-category of “most-controversial leaders” gives some measure of just how much the US has fallen in they eyes of the world community since the outset of the 21st century.
Each made their pitch before the assembled nations of the world. Ahmadinejad argued that his nation should be allowed to pursue nuclear technology for ‘peaceful energy purposes’.
He received ‘huzzahs’ from most of the delegates, who seemingly are unconcerned about some of the somewhat fuzzy details.
Ahmadinejad claimed in his UN speech that Iran’s nuclear activities are both “peaceful” and “transparent”.
Nobody questioned why Iran, a nation so awash with oil that it exports what it cannot use itself, would need an alternative energy source like nuclear power exclusively for peaceful purposes?
It may be a cheaper alternative in the long run, but it will take many decades before the savings realized from cheaper nuclear energy will reach a ‘break-even’ point from the billions and billions invested in getting there.
It would be lots cheaper to build more oil refineries.
Then to the second burning question, that of Iranian ‘transparency’. Why did Iran conceal its nuclear enrichment program for more than a decade if it had no designs on weapons-grade nuclear material? There is no dispute on the fact Iran deliberately lied about its nuclear program, or that it deliberately concealed it until it got caught by the IAEA. So how does follow that Iran’s nuke program is transparent?
Evidently, that is not important now. What IS important is that the United States is really the evil empire, says Ahmadinejad.
In his pointed attack on the United States, Ahmadinejad argued, “There is no indication that the occupiers have the necessary political will to eliminate the sources of instability.”
(Let me interject here that it was the only thing Ahmadinejad said that was arguably true. The United States does NOT have the necessary political will to eliminate the sources of instability. We’ll get back to THAT later.)
Having made his only accurate statement, Ahmadinejad then negated it with his next sentence. “It seems that intensification of hostilities and terrorism serves as a pretext for the continued presence of foreign forces in Iraq.”
There is no discernible reason why the US would want to either occupy or remain in Iraq, apart from US security.
Correct me where I am wrong here.
1) It is costing the US billions of dollars.
2) It is costing the US in international prestige.
3) It is costing the current administration virtually all of its political support at home.
4) The price of oil on the international market went up as a result of the US invasion, not down.
5) The only beneficiaries of the removal of Saddam Hussein’s government were the millions of Iraqis no longer being shot and buried in mass graves.
So what is the benefit to US security? Iraq has become a magnet for international Islamic terrorists hungry for a chance to strike at US interests.
If they weren’t in Iraq fighting armed US Marines, where would they be? America wasn’t in Iraq on September 11, but Islamic terrorists had been attacking the US for more than a decade.
Ok. Which of these points are demonstrably untrue?
Now, let’s go to the next inevitable point. I am just saying that because I am a mindless shill for the Bush administration. Try and see past the partisanship and look at the situation and how it affects ALL of America.
Would that be the same Bush administration that I criticize almost daily for its willful ignorance of the dangers posed by the Islamic threat?
The same administration that idiotically proclaims Islam a religion of peace and love hijacked by a few fundamentalists? The same George Bush who on one hand, claims to know Christ, but on the other, claims Allah is just another name for Him?
The same George Bush that allows the United Nations to walk all over US sovereignty and then shows up, hat in hand, to beg the indulgence of an organization that America both supports financially and hosts within its own borders?
Is THAT the administration that I can find no fault with?
I promised we’d get back to Ahmadinejad’s only factual statement. The United States does NOT have the necessary political will to eliminate the forces of instability in Iraq. Now we come to the question of ‘why’. The answer is that George W. Bush is one of the two most controversial world leaders alive today.
What makes Bush so controversial? Let me pose some more questions and see if the answer emerges. What would have been the consequences had Bill Clinton invaded Iraq in 1998 and toppled Saddam instead of merely lobbing a few bombs at Baghdad?
Well, what were the consequences when Clinton defied the UN and toppled Slobodon Milosevic in Serbia?
Slobo was tried for war crimes at the Hague and died in prison. Kosovo gained autonomy. The sectarian slaughter was contained. Why? Because the Serb separatists had absolutely no hope of defeating the united and committed Western powers.
What was the difference? Think about it. While the opposition party had plenty of criticism for the Clinton administration, their criticism was of the man, not the United States government. Politics stopped at the water’s edge.
Clinton may not have been the opposition’s choice, but he was America’s choice. Bill Clinton didn’t topple Saddam because he didn’t have the courage of his country’s convictions. That isn’t a partisan assessment. It is an historical one.
Think about it. The nation wasn’t united behind Bill Clinton, but it was united behind the flag. Is that a partisan assessment? Or an historical one?
George Bush DID topple Saddam, but his election divided the country along party lines. The flag was torn asunder.
The election, which by EVERY SINGLE recount, was won by George Bush, was sullied by the losers, who, to this day, continue to claim George Bush stole the election and therefore, was not America’s legitimate choice.
George Bush is one of the two most controversial leaders in the world today because America divided itself in 2000 into two separate nations, Red State America and Blue State America. Whatever Red State America favors, Blue State America opposes.
During the 2002 mid-term elections,the majority of Americans favored removing Saddam. In order to get re-elected, so did the majority of Blue State politicians. When the partisan political will shifted, Blue State politicians shifted their views, saying they didn’t really mean what they said about Saddam when they were trying to get elected the last time around.
Meanwhile, the rest of the world, who are as ignorant of internal US politics as Americans are of the internal politics of other countries, listened to the loudest voices. It is the squeaky wheel that gets the grease, remember.
When Bush was re-elected in 2004, one British headline, commenting on Bush’s clear victory, lamented, “How Could Fifty-Five Million Americans Be So Dumb?”
It is perhaps illustrative of the point I am making that how what I am saying is perceived will be absorbed along partisan, rather than American lines. Ask yourself two questions. Is it better for America that we win in Iraq? Or is it better for America that we lose?
Ok. Time’s up. Let’s go to two more questions.
Is it better for Blue State America’s political fortunes if we win in Iraq? Or is it better for Blue State America’s political fortunes if we lose?
(Since it is better for Red State America both as Americans AND for their political fortunes, there is no real point in asking THEM. Their answer would be the same in both cases.)
So, let’s go back to situation at hand. Why aren’t we winning in Iraq? Let’s try and simplify it with an analogy. If Mohammed Ali fought Joe Frazier with one hand tied behind his back, who would have gone down in history as ‘the Greatest’? Ali? Or Frazier? Would it matter which fighter you liked best?
If the answer isn’t obvious, you aren’t being honest with yourself.
It is obvious to the terrorists. As long as America fights with one hand tied behind its back, they have a chance to win. So they keep fighting. Both sides will keep dying. The terrorists have an ace in the hole. They don’t care how many die, as long as they eventually emerge victorious. So they keep killing Americans, no matter what the cost. They have the courage of their convictions.
To Blue State America, the only victory that counts is the one over George Bush. So the terrorists have the added courage of Blue State America’s convictions that winning at the polls is the supreme goal. America therefore suffers from Red State America’s convictions that the supreme goal is America’s military victory.
Maybe it is just clearer to me because I am neither a Republican or a Democrat. I just love America, period. (For those who’ve forgotten, or don’t know, I was born in Canada. I didn’t grow up under either political banner. I see America as one country, no matter which party is in control. To me, it is like watching a couple going through a divorce when I like them both.)
Ahmadinejad gets it better than they do. It isn’t about favoring a Republican over a Democrat, or vice versa. Ahamdinejad couldn’t care less. He wants to see America defeated, regardless of who is in charge.
The simple fact is this. A divided America can be defeated. The proof is in the pudding. Just read this morning’s headline in the UK’s Guardian newspaper. It reads, “Ahmadinejad Has a Point.”
How did THAT happen?