U.S.A. TODAY, 03/17/03
War is not in U.S. interest
By Justin Raimondo
President Bush hasn't done a good job of selling this war because he has tried to sell us a pig in a poke. But when the truth comes out, as it will, Americans are going to start asking the following questions:
Where does it end? Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has laid out the road map, with Iran, Libya and Syria next on the list: "These are irresponsible states, which must be disarmed of weapons mass destruction," he told visiting U.S. congressmen, "and a successful American move in Iraq as a model will make that easier to achieve."
Undersecretary of State John Bolton agrees. Last month, he said in meetings with Israeli officials that "it will be necessary to deal with threats from Syria, Iran and North Korea afterward."
Sharon told the congressmen that "the American action is of vital importance" — which begs the question, vital to whom?
How does this war serve America's vital interests? The president says Iraq "threatens its neighbors," but only one of those neighbors wants war. As Patrick Buchanan succinctly put it: "For whose benefit are these endless wars in a region that holds nothing vital to America save oil, which the Arabs must sell us to survive? Who would benefit from a war of civilizations between the West and Islam? Answer: one nation, one leader, one party. Israel, Sharon, Likud."
Our troops will be fighting a proxy war in Iraq, and beyond, not to protect U.S. citizens from terrorist attacks, but to make the world safe for Israel. When the dead are buried, let the following be inscribed on their tombstones: They died for Ariel Sharon.
When does it end? President Bush has said that American troops will stay in Iraq "as long as necessary and not a day longer" — a statement that obfuscates but doesn't elucidate. The American public thinks we are going to go in, get Saddam and come marching triumphantly home. The truth is that, as Army chief of staff Gen. Eric Shinseki has testified, we are entering into an open-ended commitment that will involve stationing "several hundred thousand" troops in Iraq indefinitely.
What are the costs? After White House economic adviser Larry Lindsey gave an estimate of up to 0 billion, he was fired. Initial costs are estimated by Pentagon officials at billion to billion, but that's just a warm-up. The Congressional Budget Office says the first month of combat will cost billion, and billion for each month thereafter. Having alienated our longtime allies, the U.S. is going bear these costs alone. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld disdains estimates as "not a useful exercise." He's right, because it is likely that war will spread throughout the Middle East.
Justin Raimondo is editorial director of Antiwar.com and author of Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement.
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