Pre-emption Does Not Equal Democracy
by Vince Page
President Bush's theory of pre-emption which states that it is acceptable to attack another country before being attacked is experiencing its last vestiges of credibility. After all, if every country in the world adopted the same philosophy, World War III wouldn't be far off. The latest indications are that pre-emption doesn't even promote democracy, as was vehemently proffered by the Bush administration.
Let's review. Prior to George Bush the Younger taking up residence in the White House, the prevailing philosophy regarding the enactment of war was the concept of a just war in which a country must be attacked before responding, and then only after all diplomatic avenues have been exhausted, and then only in proportion to the way in which it was attacked.
After September 11th the entire world was with the U.S. in our quest to bring Osama bin Laden to justice. We then flew off on a tangent and attacked Iraq based upon a new and untried theory of pre-emption. All of a sudden, the world was against us. Despite the president's protestations, the world saw us as opportunistic rather than being in earnest about capturing our attacker.
Two and one-half years have passed since that infamous Tuesday morning, and we are now better able to see the fruit of our policies. The Islamic world saw our foray into Iraq as a threat to their way of life and vowed to retaliate. The terrorist bombings which have become regular fare on the nightly news over the past couple of years did not exist when we were only in Afghanistan and Pakistan looking for bin Laden. They came later, after our pre-emptive strike in Iraq.
We were given a whole host of reasons for going to Iraq, none of which had anything to do with legitimate threats against America. Yes, Saddam is a bad man, but he was gassing his population before the first Gulf War. If that was a reason for going to war, it should have been a reason for going to Baghdad during the first Gulf War, not the second Gulf War.
We were told that democracy needs to be instituted in the middle east as a means to avoid terrorism, but let's take a look at what is happening in Iraq. The constitution the Iraqis are writing will set-up a parliamentary system of government instead of bi-cameral legislative branches. Now, you would think that Americans would advise the Iraqis, with their many disparate factions, that they need to create a United States of Iraq with a House and Senate and president, just like we have in America. That way, the population is well represented in the House and each state carries equal voting weight in the Senate. Instead, every faction is vying for maximum political advantage in a single House of Parliament, and it looks like the Shiites will win the political battle. If they do, they will set-up a theocracy in Iraq and any hope of a democracy will be dashed.
This is exactly what happened in Afghanistan. Before continuing, I want to emphasize that we have every right to be in Afghanistan and Pakistan, because we are looking for our attackers, yet the post 9/11 political situation there is instructive. After pinning political hopes on the statesmanship of Hamid Karzai, the U.S. apparently gave little guidance to the creation of a new constitution in that country, because the new Afghan constitution which has already been signed institutes Islamic law in that country. Once again, A United States of Afghanistan should have been created with bi-cameral legislative branches, but apparently no one from the U.S. thought of that. Go figure.
And now, Al-Qaida has bombed Spain a major supporter of pre-emption in Iraq and toppled its government in favor of Socialists. Make no mistake about it, this provides great incentive for future terror attacks close to election times in other countries which support pre-emption. Unfortunately, the United States is not immune.
So the chickens have come home to roost. Al-Qaida is now using pre-emption against countries that support pre-emption, but they are doing it in an attempt to help political parties thought to be soft on terrorism.
The moral of this story is that attacking your neighbor before you've been attacked pre-emption does not build democracies. It does not promote peace. Pre-emption causes more and more chaos as more and more factions and governments implement its principles. Pre-emption causes instability. Pre-emption creates problems rather than solving them. As the quintessential point here, one only needs to note that America has a tin-horn dictator in custody while the architect and mastermind of 9/11 continues to roam the earth a free man, thus emboldening his followers.
The United States of America has a job to do, and that job is bringing Osama bin Laden to justice. Any level of force short of nuclear attack is justified in realizing this objective. America should be firm in its resolve and single-minded in purpose until the task is complete. All other military endeavors should pale into insignificance until then, and we should not be expected to swallow any more warm bedtime stories about how pre-emption will save the world from insignificant countries who couldn't hit us with a rock if they wanted to. Pre-emption is a disaster. It cannot be justified, it has failed utterly, and it is not building democracies. It should be dumped into the trash heap of failed foreign policies.
America had a single job to do after 9/11 bring Osama bin Laden to justice and the theory of pre-emption has done nothing but get in the way. It's time to jettison the excess baggage.
Vince Page is the Communications Director for the Texas State Constitution Party and is a District Deputy for the Texas State Knights of Columbus. He can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org
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