I can’t believe I didn’t mention this on Friday, but Spirited Away has been re-released in theaters. Apparently, winning the Oscar™ for best animated film convinced Disney to give it another shot—this time with actual television advertising.
Seriously, though, it’s a great movie. Go see it.
Well, the glacial update schedule here at ZedneWeb this year prevented me from expressing my concerns about the (undeclared) war in Iraq before it actually started (not that it would have made any real difference). Rather than delay any longer, I’m just going to express myself with a quick bullet list:
- Saddam Hussein is a horrible, murderous tyrant. Although he may not be in the same league as Adolph Hitler or Joseph Stalin, he is of the same order. In principle, replacing him with a less despotic government is a good thing for the people of Iraq and the region in general. I can even support the idea of fighting a war to effect such a replacement. In principle.
Launching an unprovoked invasion of another nation is something that, if done at all, must be done with great care. Remember, the last (undeclared) war we fought against Iraq was triggered when they launched an unprovoked invasion. The Bush administration must know this, or they wouldn’t have spent so much time trying to link Mr Hussein to Al Qaeda and, when that didn’t pan out, to “Al Qaeda–type organizations”.
In any case:
- Launching an unprovoked invasion without the support of the international community in the face of widespread global and domestic opposition is a Bad Idea.
- Launching an unprovoked invasion without the support of the international community in the face of widespread global and domestic opposition while providing an ever-changing set of rationales backed up by often-dubious evidence is a Very Bad Idea.
- Launching an unprovoked invasion without the support of the international community in the face of widespread global and domestic opposition while providing an ever-changing set of rationales backed up by often-dubious evidence and asserting that (a) no assistance from other nations is necessary, (b) any nation that does not offer support is a traitor or a coward, and (c) a coalition consisting of four nations providing armed forces and forty-some other nations of varying levels of commitment—some actively denouncing the war—is larger than the coalition which defeated Iraq last time is just foolish.
Now that the war has actually started, there’s not much we can do but hope it goes well. We can’t pull out now without strengthening Mr Hussein’s position, making things worse overall. Some have suggested that the peace movement’s worst nightmare would be a quick, relatively bloodless victory. I can’t speak for the peace movement, but I can see two scenarios which scare me:
- Victory comes quickly and decisively and enough progress is made towards a better Iraq that the Bush administration decides to use it as a model for other nations while continuing to undermine NATO and the U.N.
- The war drags on longer and bloodier than the administration had predicted. I don’t doubt that we can defeat Iraq eventually, but the longer Mr Hussein stands, the more he becomes a symbol of resistance against overwhelming odds, like the Spartans at Thermopylae. And of course a bloody victory will only serve to make the people of the Middle East hate the U.S. even more.
- The plans for what will happen once the (undeclared) war is over are pretty vague. About all we know is that Vice President Cheney’s former company Halliburton, among others, will be paid an undisclosed sum of money to rebuild Iraq. Presumably, the valuable resources in Iraq will keep our attention there longer than in that other country we’re rebuilding.
- Meanwhile, North Korea continues to develop its nuclear program. Someone is keeping an eye on that, right?
- Osama bin Laden remains at large, as does whoever was mailing all that anthrax.
- Freedom fries? Okay, first: lame. Second: french fries are Belgian and French toast was invented in Albany, NY by a Mr French. And third: this is the sort of thing I would expect from a high school student council, not the legislature of the most powerful nation on Earth. Sure, we started calling sauerkraut “liberty cabbage” during World War I, but we were actually at war with the Germans at the time… and it was still lame. Shouldn’t you guys be worrying about that massive budget deficit instead of venting your pique at an ally by renaming foods that have nothing to do with them?
I better stop now before this degenerates into a rant. To summarize: I think starting this (undeclared) war at this time under these circumstances was a bad idea and I hope it succeeds quickly.