... values in the Hussein problem
Len Dalton, who was a one of the early members of the Melrose Mirror, has been a frequent guest writer for our Social and Political section. His contribution was solicited for this issue.
Opinions concerning Saddam Hussein, Iraq and the rest of the world since 'Desert Storm' have gone from the sublime to the ridiculous. Most folks merely look upon him as a naughty, self seeking dictator whose removal is way past overdue. Those views range from the left thinking to the extreme right. Extreme in either case looms as too expensive both in cost of human life and cost to western economies.
Let's take a look. During 'Desert Storm' lefties wanted our people out of Iraq and, indeed all of the middle east. Many desired a degree of isolationism by this country but, it is academic that Saddam meant to go into Saudi Arabia after his success in Kuwait. He had to be stopped.
The right leaning among us felt strongly that General Schwartskopf be allowed and encouraged to go all the way to Baghdad, invest the government of Hussein and take over the country as an American protectorate. Not only would that have stabilized the area but, they said, the Americans could take Iraqi oil at U.S. prices and pay any proceeds to Kuwait to compensate for Saddam's vandalism in oil fields there. To right thinking individuals that only made sense. The needs of the Iraqi people would be addressed, as they have been since "Desert Storm' via western 'donations'.
While I mention that, please allow me to also mention that the United States as well as the United Nations has been making those donations all along. One misinformed writer has claimed that thousands of Iraqi children have died as a result of American intervention in Iraq leaving kids deprived of medical needs. In actual fact, Saddam has taken those monies for his own purposes and, if children have died, it is as a direct consequence of dictator Saddam and not due to any American malfeasance as claimed.
Leaving Saddam in office was at least unfortunate but, it placated Arab interests in the middle east. Were Saddam taken out and a democracy established in Iraq, no group would be more horrified and hostile than the Saudi Arabians whose family grip on that realm is as solid as it is corrupt. Our liberals won. Saddam was left to commit further mayhem among his own people. Perhaps the most hideous of his acts was to dam up and dry out the mouths of the Tigris/Euphrates Rivers and thereby destroying a culture thousand of years old and causing the population there to relocate largely to Iran. One of the sons of Saddam left the country to Jordan but was enticed to return to Baghdad where Saddam had him murdered as an example. Mr. nice guy he is not.
The presence in the middle east of American forces is the source of great concern among Muslims everywhere. Our protection of the U.N. decreed right of Israel to exist adds to the dilemma. I agree to that. Israel is in an ongoing war with the Palestinians and it must persevere no matter what it takes. The Arab world would exterminate Israel in a heartbeat were it possible. They have ALL sworn to that end but none dare attack as Israel has demonstrated competency in military matters.
Except for protecting Israel, I would espouse the concept of taking American forces out of the middle east and allowing Arabs, including Saddam, to do what they wish until or unless they are one and all panicked into asking for our help. THEN we can exercise our options. That day may be accompanied by the arrival on the world scene of prodigious quantities of oil newly discovered and being developed in the North Caspian Sea by the Republic of Kazakhstan. These reserves are claimed to match or exceed those of the rest of the middle east! At this time Kazakhstan is not a member of OPEC and is so hungry for income to elevate its economy that it may never subscribe to OPEC. All of which would profit Western economies.
Now, what to do in the event Saddam uses nuclear bombs or weapons? Notice, that is not nucular: it is nuclear. No country has dared use nuclear weapons since Hiroshima. Why? For precisely the same reasons no country used chemical or biological weapons in WWII. The other guys had them, too. Today it is the same with nuclear weaponry. Many of the other guys have them. As a result, international paranoia will most likely bring the United States, Russia, Britain and possibly others, to determine that a hydrogen device will have to be dropped on some intransigent bandit country to stop a nuclear holocaust in progress. That includes Pakistan and India. The bad guys know this and I am convinced they will keep their toys locked up.
In the meantime, western interests have actually allowed Saddam to smuggle his oil through Syria and Iran as rather a stabilizer to OPEC price controls. As soon as Kazakhstan oil hits the market, prices should drop dramatically as Kazakhstan needs the income badly.
That is where we stand at this time in 2002. I doubt President Bush or anybody else plans to consult with me on the subject so we shall have to wait and see what or how things develop. Thanks for lis'nin'.
November 1, 2002