Isn’t About Logic
but those weapons of mass destruction keep turning up in the
Forward air bases, Army infantry units, a hospital ship, and
docile yet combat-trained reporters are all being readied
for a “regime change” war against Iraq, promoted as a way
to rid the world of an arsenal Saddam Hussein doesn’t seem
That United Nations inspectors, even after American intelligence
briefings, are coming up empty-handed is embarrassing enough,
but then North Korea had to steal the show by taking the wraps
off its far-more-advanced nuclear-weapons program. That’s
pretty scary, because American intelligence agencies believe
that bizarre, unpredictable North Korea already has enough
plutonium and tested bomb technology for one or two functioning
nuclear warheads that can easily be lobbed at our ally South
Korea, home base of 37,000 U.S. soldiers. In 1998, Pyongyang
fired one of its long-range Taepodong missiles over Japanese
territory. American intelligence officials believe that the
regime is working on missiles capable of reaching Hawaii and
beyond. Yet we have made it clear we are not planning to go
to war with North Korea.
have no hostile intent toward North Korea, and we hope they
will come to their senses,” Secretary of State Colin Powell
said recently. He later added that “nobody is mobilizing armies,
nobody is threatening each other yet.”
Powell went on to say: “Let’s take this patiently. Let’s take
it with deliberation. Let’s work with our friends and allies.”
Perhaps not surprisingly, it’s the one proven warrior in the
Bush White House who seems to understand that peace is worth
fighting for and that diplomatic finesse is not a sign of
weakness—war is. Were it not for Powell, the chicken hawks
in the administration—warmongers who have not themselves experienced
battle—already would have us invading Iraq without giving
U.N. inspectors a chance.
Led by Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of Defense
Donald Rumsfeld, these strident cheerleaders for so-called
preemptive action are obviously disappointed that the Iraq
inspections have turned up nothing more then the rusting remnants
of a deadly weapons program originated—and used—with the full
knowledge of the U.S. government, to punish fundamentalist
Now, however, Iran, still in Bush’s putative “axis of evil”
along with Iraq and North Korea, may have a much more advanced
nuclear weapons program than Iraq.
In fact, the Shiite fundamentalists must be high-fiving in
Tehran over the costly American makeover of Central Asia.
These fundamentalists would be the biggest benefactors of
any takedown of neighboring Iraq, as they were when the United
States installed Iran’s longtime puppets, the Northern Alliance,
as top dogs in Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, the nuclear nonproliferation regime is a shambles,
with President Bush publicly derisive about existing arms-control
pacts. Bush insists that we will be just fine relying on a
cockamamie missile-defense fantasy that is arguably the biggest
defense-contractor boondoggle in the nation’s long history
of such deals.
Feeling safe yet? You shouldn’t be.
Washington’s foreign policy is now less logical than Pyongyang’s.
A starving dictatorship’s clumsy blackmail attempts at least
make some twisted sense in that the Bush administration has
refused, from its very first days, to even discuss North Korea’s
persistent request for a nonaggression pact with the United
The administration plan is to isolate this paranoid excuse
for a nation, as if it were not already the most isolated
place on Earth. If we can’t make peace with an utterly defeated
nation like North Korea, we’re in trouble. Humiliating those
with nothing to lose is always a recipe for disaster.
South Korea and Japan understand this, and both countries
are making major moves in an attempt to bring the North Koreans
back into the world community.
The United States, which unleashed the nuclear monster and
is still the only nation to have used this deadliest weapon
of mass destruction against innocent civilians, should also
understand why other nations want a nuclear-weapons system.
It’s a sick and ultimately suicidal obsession, but who are
we to talk when we are designing ever-more efficient nuclear
weapons for preemptive use, underground “bunker busting” and
God knows what else? We are the ones who continue to give
legitimacy to the weapons of mass destruction, threatening
devastating preemptive strikes, including possible use of
nuclear weapons, against those who would defy the will of
Meanwhile, the Bush administration remains detached from the
destabilizing Israeli-Palestinian nightmare, struggles to
gain footing against al Qaeda and apparently is indifferent
to the successes of Muslim fundamentalism in Chechnya, Lebanon,
Yemen, Palestine and Pakistan. Instead, we are mobilizing
our massive forces against a weakened secular dictator 6,000
miles away who doesn’t seem to have had anything to do with
a series of devastating terrorist attacks.
What is happening here? Certainly not the construction of
a coherent foreign policy aimed at increasing the security
of the United States or our allies.
This is an administration that, in two years, has so mucked
up our approach to the world that merely applying the demands
of logic is made to appear unpatriotic.
Scheer originally published this essay at WorkingForChange.com.