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The Tentacle


April 25, 2003

What's Really Going On Over There?

David 'Kip' Koontz

Where do we go from here? By all military analysis, George Bush's military machinations in Iraq have been successful at overthrowing the regime of Saddam Hussein.

Yet, just as there seems to be no knowledge of the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden, reports have it that we are possibly "tracking" Hussein, or maybe he is dead -- who knows?

Is there really success when the person, who is accused of perpetrating the acts to which we are opposed, is not caught?

If so, is it not a hollow victory?

Now, we have to wonder whether or not there will be success in instilling democracy in Iraq.

Very troubling to that end is the Iran-backed group of Islamic Shiite clerics who call themselves "The Supreme Council," who would like to see an Islamic fundamentalist state installed in Iraq like that in Iran.

Scary thought!

It was aggravating to watch the Shiites, who protested against the U. S. during their recent pilgrimage to Karbala for a remembrance of the death of Muhammed's grandson -- something they have not been able to do during the 25-year rule of Saddam Hussein.

Maybe three countries will come out of this, one for the Kurds -- who have had success with pseudo-democracy since Iraq 1, protected of course by U. S. airpower, one for the Sunnis and one for the Shiites.

Who knows for sure, but let us hope that we do not see an extremist government, who, while not Saddam, may be just as oppressive --religious extremism, can, it seems, lead to that when it governs a nation.

As time progresses what will this administration's policy actually be in dealing with the other members of the so-called "Axis of Evil," Iran and North Korea?

North Korea, now having admitted possessing nuclear weapons, is threatening to export its nuclear raw materials if the U. S. doesn't commit to direct talks with them.

Kim Jong II, North Korea's leader, who already threatened to nuke the U. S., expects us to sit down and chat?

This week, a memo was released that illustrated that the U. S. asked China for help in finding a diplomatic - or other method - of ousting Kim Jong II.

Doubt that will achieve much.

An excellent case for using military force against North Korea can be made. President Bush might actually be able to make a case to ask Congress to declare war against North Korea being that he threatened to nuke us.

Too bad there is such an anti-American sentiment in our "ally" - South Korea, where the current president was elected on an "anti-American," "get the Americans out" platform.

Wonder how the South Koreans would feel if we actually left the demilitarized zone?

Wonder how many Kias would actually get built after Kim Jong and his band of thugs pillage the prosperous South?

Do the South Koreans actually think that if the two countries were reunited with Kim Jong in power in the North, that democracy would trump his communist dictatorial rule?

It is in our national interest, if nothing else, to do what it takes to remove Kim Jong II. Regime change there is definitely needed.

But what about Iran -- the country we sometimes support but sometimes don't? They will most likely not be happy with a democratic style government next door - and are agitating already for an Islamic fundamentalist state.

Nope.

Now that we have come this far, it is unfortunate, but, if the U. S. is going to maintain any sense of leadership and clout on the world stage, we can't just stop at this point.

But that may indeed mean we have to look at what we do with Yemen, a country known for harboring and training anti-U. S. terrorists.

Same with Syria, which may be harboring some of Saddam's bunch, let alone others inclined to act against this nation.

And how do we look at our "friends" in the Middle East?

Take Saudi Arabia, for instance, are we going to democratize them?

It is true that they have been favorable - at times- to U. S. interests, but their citizens are repressed and do not have the freedoms we claim to want to bestow upon the Iraqis.

So where do we go from here?

Does Mr. Bush know? Or Vice President Cheney? Or Colin Powell?

It doesn't seem clear they do and that is the most frightening thing of all. But thing is, we really can't stop now or it will give tremendous legitimacy to those who have said that this action against Iraq was only George II's way of vindicating his father.

In reality, while there will be those who argue that the U. S. doesn't have a right to interfere in the governance of a sovereign nation, there may be a real opportunity here to go further to making significant change in the world dynamic.

If only we knew what we were really doing over there.



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