On Monday, when asked this question, "Sir, is U.S. credibility on the line over weapons of mass destruction in Iraq?" President Bush replied with the following quote:
I'm not exactly sure what that means. I mean, Iraq had a weapons program. Intelligence throughout the decade showed they had a weapons program. I am absolutely convinced with time we'll find out that they did have a weapons program. The credibility of this country is based upon our strong desire to make the world more peaceful and the world is now more peaceful after our decision; the strong desire to make sure free nations are more secure - our free nations are now more secure; and the strong desire to spread freedom. And the Iraqi people are now free and are learning the habits of freedom and the responsibilities that come with freedom.
I read a report that somehow, you know, that there is no al Qaeda presence in Baghdad. I guess the people who wrote that article forgot about Al Zarqawi's network inside of Baghdad that ordered the killing of a U.S. citizen named Foley. And history will show, history - time will prove that the United States made the absolute right decision in freeing the people of Iraq from the clutches of Saddam Hussein.
As one who prides himself in objective thinking and the use of critical thinking skills, I immediately came away from that with two questions:
1. How does George W. Bush define peaceful?
There are currently new conflicts in Indonesia, Liberia, Congo, Uganda, Zimbabwe, and undoubtedly others that don't immediately come to mind. There are continuing conflicts in Irael/Palestine, Afganistan, Chechneya, Myanmar, Phillipines, Somalia, and others. The State Department has current Travel Warnings
for Bosnia-Herzegovina, Angola, Burundi, Central African Republic, Lebanon, Cote d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast), and Kenya along with many others. In addition, we are losing more and more US Soldiers in Iraq each week. Some due to accidents
, many due to violence
Yes... what constitutes "peaceful" indeed? Many of the new and renewed conflicts seem to be a direct result of US actions in Iraq. Terrorist bombings in Keny and Morroco, for instance. Robet Mugabe is using "pre-emptive" as an excuse to attack the opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai. Indonesian forces are using embedded journalists to document their little war.
2. Does the presence of a criminal indicate that a nation (or it's leader) is guilty of the same crime?
For this question, I have to compare: does having a Nazi war criminal
in our midst make us Nazi's? It's likely that the former Iraqi regime knew that Al Zarqawi was a terrorist... It's likely that there are known criminals of other countries in the United States, yet we allow their stay, even "assylum" in some circumstances. To the twisted ideologies of the Iraqi regime, Al Zarqawi was not a criminal. To us he is. His presence in Iraq does not imply complicity beyond provision of residence.
The problem I have with politics, is that it frequently bases decisions upon emotion, feelings, revenge, and popularity polls. Less attention is given to critical thinking.
I certainly don't see the world as a more "peaceful" place. I hope it can be soon, however.
The weapons of mass destruction that were but 45 minutes from deployment are no where to be found.
I seriously do not have a problem with wanting to end the Iraqi regime as it was headed by Saddam Hussein. The price, however, has been very steep. The US and British losses were, and are tragic. The Iraqi losses are going unnoticed... uncounted.
Many Iraqi children died to be "free."
We underplanned nearly every facet of the post-war scenario, from needs of health, human services, utilities, employment, and especially security.
To be so concerned with WMDs, one would have thought that at least a squad would have occupied each of the nuclear sites for security, instead, assessors are evaluating potential loss, damage, and contamination of environment and people. The potential for long-term environmental consequences is very significant.
It's easy to say, "what's done is done," but there is much left to do.