March 17, 2003

Irrational Hope on the Eve of War

I find myself increasingly hopeful that what Bush and the people who didn't give a shit about Saddam's human rights abuses until this year have been telling are true: that thousands will die but that it will be worth it for the bright future of Iraq; that the US actually plans to set up a democracy in Iraq; that the Iraqi people will be liberated by a new regime which will necessarily be compatible with US interests; that Iraq will be rebuilt, and not forgotten about less than a year later as Afghanistan was.

I hope against hope that the unprecedented international attention focused on Iraq in the coming years will make the US occupation less damaging than it might otherwise be. I hope that citizens will continue to be vigilant of the American government's actions; that civil rights activists will succeed in forcing the US to stop torturing suspected terrorists, confining them indefinitely without charges, beathing them to death, and holding their children and families captive for 'questioning'; that more innocent Iraqis will not be imprisoned and tortured; and that the US will choose to stop hosting and training terrorists.

I also hope to erase from my mind what no one is denying: that hundreds of thousands will starve to death; that one million new refugees will have nowhere to go; that the US will bomb the infrastructure that keeps thousands of people from getting sick all over again; that the US and Britain have already been bombing every three days for ten bloody years; that 1.5 million Iraqis have died as a result of sanctions that have kept Saddam in power and weakened all opposition to his rule. I hope and pray that the US refusal to cooperate with aid agencies will not have the preventable effects that are being predicted.

Furthermore, I hope that what appear to be the unavoidable consequences of this aggressive invasion will not come to pass: that in the ensuing chaos, any chemical or biological weapons that Iraq possesses will find their way into the hands of terrorists; that other states threatened by the US will not reach the unavoidable conclusion that a nuclear arsenal is a necessary precondition for statehood and sane diplomatic relations with the United States; that a few dozen people will reach the conclusion that the only thing that will stop the US is exponentially greater terror; that the cooperation of Muslim states in legitimate searches for terrorists will become difficult or impossible to acquire; and that terrorist organizations will find it much easier to find willing sources of funding and support.

I hope that somehow, some way, citizens of the USA and the countries being antagonized can reach out to each other and find ways to understand and help each other in the face of increased polarization at the diplomatic level.

If this war happens, then hope is all we'll have. It's something. It has to be.

posted by dru in us