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The Future of Freedom: Illiberal Democracy at Home and Abroad by Fareed Zakaria
Polyarchy by Robert Dahl
The Nazi Seizure of Power by William Sheridan Allen
Terror and Liberalism by Paul Berman
The Moon Is Down by John Steinbeck
Courage Not Containment
So you think containment works? If so, read this powerful case against containment and for regime change. It numerically destroys the argument employed by anti-war pacifists that containment works and that war will only cause massive destruction to the Iraqi people. Mathematically the numbers speak for themselves:
"The Gulf War killed somewhere between 21,000 and 35,000 Iraqis, of whom between 1,000 and 5,000 were civilians. Based on Iraqi government figures, UNICEF estimates that containment kills roughly 5,000 Iraqi babies (children under 5 years of age) every month, or 60,000 per year. Other estimates are lower, but by any reasonable estimate containment kills about as many people every year as the Gulf War -- and almost all the victims of containment are civilian, and two-thirds are children under 5. Each year of containment is a new Gulf War. Saddam Hussein is 65; containing him for another 10 years condemns at least another 360,000 Iraqis to death. Of these, 240,000 will be children under 5. Those are the low-end estimates. Believe UNICEF and 10 more years kills 600,000 Iraqi babies and altogether almost 1 million Iraqis."
Containment is a slow, tortured death for the people of Iraq. Doing nothing doesn't save the people, it only worsens their chances of survival.
"Sanctions are inevitably the cornerstone of containment, and in Iraq, sanctions kill. In this case, containment is not an alternative to war. Containment is war: a slow, grinding war in which the only certainty is that hundreds of thousands of civilians will die."
Keeping Saddam in a box does little. He is the last person to be affected by the sanctions imposed on his country. The people that suffer as a result of sanctions are the people of Iraq. In fact, one of the hardest things to do as a dictator is to keep the people "loyal." Under a sanctions regime, Saddam suddenly becomes the lone provider of food, medicine and other essentials. Sanctions don't squeeze the leader, they squeeze the people. Sanctions allow a despot on his last leg to hang on, for they allow him to control his people in a way he otherwise would not have.
Containment then, as the policy based on a sanctions regime, is not an alternative to war that will save the people of Iraq. It is instead a tool for the longevity of a tyrant. Containment is not a policy that has showed its effectiveness in the past that is suddenly being attacked by the Bush administration. It is not the shining pillar of international relations with rogue states that the French or Russians might have us believe. It is the systematic refusal to acknowledge the horror and destruction to humanity that causes the people of Iraq to languish year after year. While war may in fact cause a destruction far uglier and horrific, it is an event that begins and ends. It is atrocious now, but in the end it concludes years of suffering.
Advocates of Containment like to brush over this fact and insist that keeping a dictator in a box will limit his options and prevent him from unleashing his evil will against others. Some even fall for Saddam's assertion that it is not his fault, but the world's fault that hundreds of his citizens die every day from malnourishment, inadequate health care and disease. Well yes, in some ways that is true, but only insofar as we continue a policy of Containment that allows Saddam to use our flawed policies as propoganda against us.
The truth is that sanctions only cause more deaths. The reason a policy of containment is supported, from the humanitarian viewpoint, is that the deaths are not all at once. For the Iraqi people, death may not come tomorrow, or the next day, or even next week. But they all know that death is lurking. They live in fear. They know their lives depend on the perception of loyalty. They know that without a "Saddam is great! Down with America!" to the roving, government-escorted camera team from CNN, their ration ticket will accidentally be "lost" for the next week. They know that under a sanctions regime in which Saddam controls all of the essentials of daily life, their expected newborn will likely not survive. They know that every step they take, every word they utter, every gulp of unsanitized water they drink could be their last.
The people of Iraq live in fear. Sanctions help Saddam enforce that fear. Sanctions are the centerpiece of the policy of Containment. Containment then, is the slow war. The war that never ends. It is the war that the peace-loving French don't want you to know about. It is the war that kills far more people, over a longer period of time, with no end in sight. It is the solution that anti-war activists propose so they don't have to see the death of Iraqis on television for one horrific month. It lets them sleep at night thinking they are saving the Iraqi people when they don't see the horrific destruction on television.
While war shows the world the terrible consequences of death and destruction, Containment assumes what is not seen doesn't exist. We must have the courage to confront evil and end it. Now.
"Terrified Iraqi soldiers have crossed the Kuwait border and tried to surrender to British forces - because they thought the war had already started. The motley band of a dozen troops waved the white flag as British paratroopers tested their weapons during a routine exercise. The stunned Paras from 16 Air Assault Brigade were forced to tell the Iraqis they were not firing at them, and ordered them back to their home country telling them it was too early to surrender."
This past week I was completely out of touch with the outside world. I was in Garrett's Bend, West Virginia on yet another APSO trip. It was a week of painting, painting and more painting. We got a lot of quality work done and, I think, helped out the community a great deal. It was a very rewarding experience yet again.
Throughout this entire week though, we were completely devoid of information from the outside world. No T.V., no radio (well that's not true, but our radio was occupied with the noise tunes of inde-rock all week), no newspapers, and very little information from those in the community who we asked. We had no idea Bush was giving a "press conference" on Thursday, no idea a deadline had been set for the the French to try to call our non-bluff, and no idea that pretty much nothing had really happened in the world while we were gone.
Yes, while the "press conference" and the deadline are new supposedly new developments, nothing really changed. Bush has the same Iraq talking points for every speech he gives. My mom was at the American Medical Association meeting last week where Bush spoke and he managed to throw Iraq into his speech there to a bunch of doctors. The only difference with this Thursday night extravaganza was that it was one for everyone to focus on. Same points, but in primetime. Disarm Saddam, numerous Resolutions ignored, Weapons of Mass Destruction, liberate the Iraqi people, U.N. legitimacy at stake. Nothing new.
So what is it that we keep arguing about? There will be an ineffectual vote on March 17th in which the French will grandstand and hope to prove themselves as the voice of universal peace while they keep their relations with Saddam hush-hush behind a false curtain of international altruism. This vote will either prove to the French that they stand in opposition to the will of the world, or will show the lack of courage that the U.N. has in enforcing its tough words with tough action. Either way the French will lose - something not unfamiliar to them. The war to liberate and decapitate Iraq will happen soon after this vote and the French and other liberation detractors will show their true nature in pathetically trying to save face ("Oh, when you said 'War' we thought you were talking about the card game.").
U.N. diplomacy will continue as long as we allow the French to control the debate. At some point though, action must follow declarations of will. Resolutions must be enforced. Tyrants must be tried for international crimes against humanity. Iraqis must be free.
Everything to be said has been said. Little, or nothing, will be changed from here on out. Let's get this over with.