“Tis the Age of Ares

Be afraid, be very afraid. The End may, indeed, be near. Surely the stars must be mis-Aligned.

Since I assume that only people who can read are likely to frequent this site (except, of course, for those few students likely to be caught plagiarizing), I’m a little embarassed to admit that while listening to MSNBC Thursday night I found myself actually agreeing with Pat Buchanan. When the far left and the far right can join hands in a common cause surely The Circle must be nearly Whole. And who can tell what completing the circle foreshadows?

This is the same Buchanan I used to laugh at when he was on the McLaughlin Group, the guy who was so far to the right of McLaughlin that he often wasn’t visible unless you had a widescreen TV.

Buchanan argued that the Bush Administration had made no convincing argument that America should attack Iraq. Although readily admitting that Iraq had used poisonous gases on their own people, he argued that this, by itself, was not adequate justification for an attack. He pointed out that America, after all, has used the atomic bomb on the Japanese, and no one was arguing that that justified a first-strike against America. In fact, it was the West that invented and first used poisonous gases.

He argued, as does this MSNBC article, that the countries most likely to be invaded by Sadam, its neighbors, do not support our attempts to overthrow him. At the moment, only Israel, for obvious reasons, and possibly Australia, for reasons only Jonathon may be able to fathom, support our efforts at overthrowing Sadam. That should tell us something about how convincing the administration’s arguments are.

For me personally, the real irony here is that I was enraged during Desert Storm when we did not eliminate Sadam or at least remove him from power. I felt there was no greater injustice than the fact that we killed thousands of relatively innocent Iraqi soldiers who did not want to go to war, but we let the only person who really had anything to gain from the war stay in power.

Unfortunately, in my mind, that still does not give us license to go in years later and finish the job that should have been done before. As Buchanan pointed out, doing so would seem to require us to also take out leaders in Iran, Syria, and Northern Korea.

Buchanan argued that deterrents have worked in the past against those who have weapons of mass destruction, and there’s every reason to believe that they will continue to work against Sadam.

Let me tell you, as a former tank platoon leader and combat veteran, I would not want to have to lead a platoon of tanks into Baghdad. Tanks are not meant for urban warfare and are severely limited when encountering tall buildings, buildings where people can drop things on them, things like Molotov cocktails. Air support is equally ineffective unless you want a total bloodbath, one that would surely dwarf anything we saw on television in Vietnam. If we have to actually enter Baghdad to get Sadam, there are going to be severe losses that will come back to haunt those who sent them in. And such losses have even greater ramifications for the future.

If Pat Buchanan and I can agree that the invasion of Iraq is a mistake, perhaps we do, indeed, have a chance to prevent our country from blindly following Cheney and Bush into battle, despite patriotic echoes of Onward Christian Soldiers playing in the background.

Lest we become complacent, though, the latest Gallup poll seems anything but promising with 53% of Americans favoring sending ground troops into Iraq, with the only good news being that that percentage is down from recent numbers.