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Will Kill For Oil
With the revelation that US officials knew within three weeks after the end of the second Iraq War that Iraq didn't possess any chemical weapons, we can only wonder if our war against Iraq was justified. Had the American and British public found out immediately after the war that we were wrong about the weapons, there may have been a huge backlash. Now people don't care. They'd rather watch the Super Bowl. What's a few dead Iraqis between friends?

Knowing we were wrong after the fact is not the same as knowing we were wrong before the fact. In Colin Powell's speech to the United Nations on Iraq, it would be difficult to prove that he knew the British intelligence report he was lauding was plagiarized. It now appears that Powell's “100 to 500 tons of chemical weapons agent” never existed. The storm of controversy over the infamous “16 words” in Bush's State of the Union address where he cited forged documents to bolster claims of Iraq's weapons programs has faded away. Unfortunately, the 16 words have drawn our attention away from other claims in the speech. Bush spoke of “25,000 liters of anthrax,” “38,000 liters of botulinum toxin,” and “materials to produce as much as 500 tons of sarin, mustard and VX nerve agent.” He described “mobile biological weapons labs”, and how Hussein “attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes suitable for nuclear weapons production.”

This was a damning indictment of Iraq. It was also wrong. There were no “tons of chemical weapons agents”. The mobile labs appear to have been for producing hydrogen for artillery balloons. The aluminum tubes were apparently for conventional rockets, not nuclear weapons. With many of our reasons for war being swept away, supporters of the war have stood behind Bush, arguing that even if our intelligence was wrong, we were still justified in attacking first because Saddam Hussein was a bad man. Yes, Hussein was an evil man. We know that this brutal dictator that the United States supported for many years was an abomination. However, this raises a troubling question. If their government is ruled by a tyrant, is it right to attack a country for something they didn't do?

Ignoring the “ends justify the means” argument, let's go ahead and stipulate that it's OK to attack other countries if their leader is a bad person. Let's start with our new ally, Pakistan. In 1999, General Pervez Musharraf staged a coup against Pakistan's democratically elected government. After four years of his rule, we find that Pakistan is frequently torturing political opponents, allows young girls to be offered as compensation for crimes, and has stated their intention to continue developing weapons of mass destruction.

Or perhaps we should invade our good pal, Saudi Arabia. They're routinely alleged to resort to torture, flogging children, and arresting political opponents and holding them for years without announcing their legal status.

Uzbekistan is yet another brutal dictatorship that we support. Should we ready our troops? This member of the “Coalition of the Willing” censors the media, denies religious freedoms, and systematically tortures political opponents, including allegations of boiling political opponents to death. Of course, we ignore their terror against their citizens in part because they support our “War on Terror” and they have lots of oil. Halliburton is already positioning itself to be a key player there.

If our primary defense of the latest Iraq war is that Saddam Hussein was an evil man, it's a hollow defense. The three countries mentioned are merely three of the more prominent examples of allies that are run by “evil men.” How can we claim the moral high ground when we actively support nations that use torture to suppress dissidents? How can we protest weapons of mass destruction when we own them and support brutal dictatorships that develop them? If we're to be morally homeless, at least let us not be hypocrites. We'll carry “will kill for oil” signs.

Related Links:
US officials knew in May Iraq possessed no WMD
State Colin Powell's speech to the United Nations on Iraq:
Downing Street dossier plagiarized
2003 State of the Union Address
Bush Uranium Lie Is Tip of the Iceberg
Powell's Case, a Year Later: Gaps in Picture of Iraq Arms
Amnesty International 2003 Report on Pakistan
Musharraf says N Korea links over
Amnesty International 2003 Report on Saudi Arabia
The Coalition of The Willing: Facts & Figures
Amnesty International 2003 Report on Uzbekistan
UK envoy to Uzbeks cleared of charges
Uzbekistan: US Ally Hopes War Will Lead to Oil Investment
USA: Halliburton — To the Victors Go the Markets
12 Feb 2004 by Curtis "Ovid" Poe

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