Jim Austin's Vermonter at Large
Jim Austin
Jim Austin
is a freelance writer from Putney, Vermont.

His previous columns are archived HERE.

Posted 09.09.02


Vietnam redux?

"Lebensraum," or "living space" was Hitler's reason for invading his neighbors. In his book "Mein Kampf," Hitler referred to Europe when he said, ".this soil exists for the people who posses the force to take it."

Substitute "oil" for "soil" and Iraq for Europe and a disquieting comparison emerges.

A quiet buildup of U.S. military forces in areas surrounding Iraq continues as the President declares that he will ask Congress for permission before any invasion takes place. Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld declares that Al-Qaeda is a presence in Iraq.

While the President calms the fears of Congress as regards an invasion, Rumsfeld lays the groundwork for an attack.

In 1939, Hitler mobilized German troops near the Polish border all the while proclaiming that he had no designs for an invasion. When the time was right he staged a sham slaughter of Germans in Danzig, and the invasion was on and justified.

Is the unconfirmed presence of Al-Qaeda in Northern Iraq our Danzig? How about the unconfirmed presence of nuclear weapons manufacture?

Certainly our troops are poised to strike even though Bush declares that he has not decided on a course of action.

Is the President telling the truth about waiting for Congressional approval before the attack? If he is telling the truth, why did White House lawyers recently proclaim that permission to attack was unnecessary?

Article 1 Section 8 of the Constitution says that only Congress may declare war. It is perfectly clear.

While George Bush speaks of waiting and weighing all opinions and consequences Dick Cheney, in his speech to Vets in Nashville on August 26, made it crystal clear that the administration is fully committed to an invasion of Iraq. He claimed that the administration would brook no dissent from Congress or senior figures in the Republican Party.

This sounds very much like the executive branch of our government is willing to circumvent Congress, the American people, our allies, and their own party to get their way on this issue.

Lately Bush was quoted as saying: "We cannot allow the world's worst leaders with the world's worst weapons to blackmail freedom."

Ignoring for a moment the dime novel author of this drivel, I submit the following: President Bush is fast becoming one of the world's worst leaders. He is also the world's most powerful leader in charge of the world's worst weapons.

He is a leader who has alienated allies and neutrals alike, and has ignored global opinion from the environment to his aggression in Iraq.

He has sponsored the missile defense initiative that would put nukes in space.

If his policies are carried out we will not only be put in the role of the world's policemen, we will become the world's despots.

We will alienate further the entire Middle East. Our relations with China and Russia along with the "Stans" -- paki, uzbeki, afghani, kazak, turkmeni, etc. -- will dissolve into acrimony and American citizens will be held hostage in our own country.

How safe do you feel traveling to the Middle East now? How welcome do you think you will feel when "every" Middle Eastern nation declares a formal "Jihad" against us?

What can be done to control the alleged "weapons of mass destruction" supposedly being stockpiled in Iraq?

We control the air over Iraq. We have recently discovered that intelligence is critical to our success in dealing with terrorists and tyrants alike. Use spy satellites to find the factories producing nuclear and biological weapons, and then use our air power to destroy them. Pressure the UN to follow through on weapons inspections. Be creative in forcing Iraq to comply.

Yes it is tedious and Hussein is a prevaricating wretch but I would prefer some frustrations at the negotiating table to seeing my fellow citizens coming home in body bags or seeing my family or yours blown up by a car bomb at the Farmer's Market.

It is worth repeating that the only conceivable reason Sadaam would have for using his weapons of mass destruction is if we invaded his country.

We are verging on the greatest foreign policy mistake since Vietnam.

In the 60s we were talked into carpet-bombing thousands of peasants to prop up a corrupt regime and in the process lost 50,000 of our young men. If we proceed with this bloodthirsty adventure, New York or Chicago will become our Jerusalem. The battle won't be restricted to a theater thousands of miles away this time. 9/11 proved that.

It's time to let your representatives in Congress know that you oppose this insane foreign policy. Of course, there is no guarantee that he or she will have any say in the matter at this point.