Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Update on the Axis of Evil

Three years ago this January, George Bush electified the neo-conservative world with the phrase "Axis of Evil," labelling in one fell stroke the nations of North Korea, Iran and Iraq evil nations beyond the pale of civilizations. Such nations, he told us, would have to be dealt with, one way or another. He never said "dead or alive," but damn if I didn't see that smirk right there when he was talking.

So, nearly 3 years later, with the most aggressive foreign policy in US history, the Axis of Evil must be on the run by now. Let's take a look.

We sure showed Iraq. Hussein wouldn't admit to possessing WMD, so we invaded and kicked his butt, he's "toast" now (in the nearly immortal words of Dick Cheney as spoken to a man who had greater access to the president on war issues than Colin Powell, Prince Bandar of Saudi Arabia). We went in, we kicked ass and took prisoners (too many, it turned out, and had to lead a bunch of them around naked to show them not to do it again). Sure we got bogged down there a little bit, but let's face it, Muqtada al Sadr is a tough opponent, and he just doesn't play fair when he hides out in holy Shia shrines. Never mind that he was not our enemy until we invaded and then tried to crack down on him.

We have turned over whole regions of Iraq to insurgants. Fallouja is controlled nearly completely by Sunni insurgants, weeks of battling in Najaf never led to us vanquishing a Shia rebellion. US soldiers and Iraqi civillians continue to die in large numbers, along with rebels, of course, but despite the re-introduction of the Vietnam-era body count by Donald Rumsfeld, we seem to have lost sight of the fact that there is a nearly bottomless supply of new ones to take their place. In closing, we have taught one group of Iraqis that our regular army can kick butt, we have taught a whole other group of them how they can prevent us from maintaining control, and thus have tied up 70% of our combat units for 1 1/2 years without being able to control a country the size of California with a population the size of New York.

Iran - Well, for a little while, Iran was on the run there. They agreed to open themselves up to inspection to the IAEA (International Atmoic Energy Agency), and looked as if they were going to come clean about their nuclear ambitions, as well as have their goals of a bomb stymied. They still had a reformist prime minister and a population who looked with more affection than loathing to the US.

Now, of course, Iran has given the big flip off to the US, the UN, and the IAEA. They dumped their reformist prime minister by rigging the elections, and they now state, ernestly in their view, that they need these nuclear plants to meet their energy needs. Who are we to tell them no, even if they have all the oil they'll ever need and are attempting to build plants which are really only likely to be used for bomb making. Afterall, they have little to fear from us since those heady days of the Iraq invasion. 70% of our military cannot control a country the size of California with a population of New York that had been under continuous and intense international military sanctions for a decade. They know good and well that we will have no ability to attack, occupy and control a country 4 times larger with 70 million people in it, who has not been under any sanctions

And finally, North Korea. Oh, yes, I can just see Kim Jong Il quaking in his Gucci boots in one of his palaces in Pyongyang, sipping $100 bottles of Scotch and being attended to be multiple prostitutes. A person as big a fool as him even knows that we are taking troops out of South Korea to build up our failed effort in Iraq. Just for the hell of it, he decided to test a large bomb. Now he has us guessing, was it nuclear, was it conventional, was it a mine accident? Of course, we are in no position to harm him in the slightest, not that we ever were, what with him conventional ability to decimate 1/2 of South Korea's population and industry in about an hour of serious shelling of their country from the DMZ, only about 30 miles from South Korea's capital. We can be relieved that we no longer appease them like we did during the Clinton administration. But then again, they didn't build any nuclear bombs during the Clinton adminstration, they waited for us to call them part of the axis of evil before they did that.

All in all, it's good to see that the axis of evil is alive and well, perhaps even prospering. Sure, Hussein's gone now, but Bush actually called Iraq the axis of evil, and by all signs, Iraq seems to be more evil than ever. Our troops die there at rate of a couple per day, terrorists have begun using it as a new Afghanistan, as if our failures there didn't make the new Afghanistan almost as hospitable as the old one. I'm sure that the neo-cons who have run our foreign policy by political theory rather than political reality are thrilled with the rhetoric, unfortunately, the rest of this country will be struggling with the reality long after the neo-cons are a bad memory.

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