(what's this?)
Home
Discussion Forum
Blog
Galleries
Pamphlets
Headline Archive
Video Archive
Audio Archive
Document Archive
Charts
Timelines
POAC counter- spin
Buzzwords
Daily Email Newsletter
Postal newsletter
Links
POAC Store
Recommended Books
Donate
Contact
POAC Myspace 
You can have POAC headlines emailed to you every day free of charge. Subscribe here
 

 

Paper or plastic? NO! Earth-friendly reinforced canvas grocery totes now available in the POAC store
 
If you are presently serving in the military or in the Delayed Enlistment Program and beginning to rethink your participation, here are resources to help you.
 
Your ad here: $50/week or $150/month Click for details
 

 Contributing Columnists

Tj Templeton
Jack Dalton
Anwaar Hussain
Doris Colmes
Crisis Papers
Vincent L Guarisco
W. David Jenkins III
Dr. Steven Jonas
Lucinda Marshall
Jason Miller
Andrew Wahl
Rowan Wolf
Reader Submissions
 

POAC merchandise:

T-shirts, fleece, tank-tops, prints, magnets and more...

 

Must-see Selections

 
14 points of fascism
 
Sept. 11: They Let it happen 
 
A brief history of the PNAC: a refresher 
 
Bush Cronyism
 
Catapulting the propaganda: The Rendon group
The office of special plans
The Whitehouse Iraq Group
 
 

POAC ENDORSED: The 15% Solution: A Political History of American Fascism, 2001 to 2022 
 

F r o m   t h e Archives

National Security and Homeland Security Presidential Directive makes Bush dictator in event of a terrorist attack or disaster
 
Former Reagan official says "something's in the works" to trigger a police state (Held over)
 
Whitehouse denies member of the Homeland Security Committee right to examine plan for operating the government after a terrorist attack.
 
Iran-contra all over again. (Video) "Explosive" new Hersh scoop: Bush funneling money to Al Qaeda-related groups
 
Must see: What happens at Facebook.com does not stay at Facebook.com
 
Dateline 2002: "This is a memo that describes how we're going to take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq..."
 
 
 

 

Is the Bush Plan for the Middle East Worth the Cost?

After the U.S. pre-emptively invaded Iraq and overthrew the Hussein government, I heard endelss renditions of how much "better off" the Iraqi's were without Saddam Hussein. As it became clear that there was no imminent threat from Hussein, and that he had no "weapons of mass destruction" to launch at a moment's notice at the U.S., I heard various versions of "you are a supporter of Hussein" and don't you think the Iraqi's are better off?" Now there has been an "election" in Iraq, and what is being spun as a firestorm of "democracy" in the Middle East, and I hear "maybe Bush was right." I wrote an article earlier titled The Ends Justify the Means, that is what is happening here.

It is beyond troubling that the mantra of "good comes out of it" makes atrocity and lawlessness acceptable. While I feel it is debatable that "democracy" and "freedom" are the outcome of the Bush administration policies, let's say that they are. Two questions burn to be asked. One, is it worth the cost? Two, was it the only (or even least damaging) way to get to the "desired" end?

The Ends Justify the Means

Was the pre-emptive invasion of Iraq and the overthrow of its legal government "worth" the loss of U.S. credibility and voice? Was it worth the cost of the virtual destruction of a nation, the killing and maiming of thousands, the result of making Iraq a "terrorist magnet" and on a course for civil war? Was it worth the cost, of lying to the people of the United States and the world? Or even $300 billion in US tax dollars (with no end in sight)?

Let's step back and look at the "ends justify the means" in a different light. Hitler, the Nazi's, and the Holocaust are virtually icons of evil. But there were things that came out of Hitler's regime that one might argue are "worth the cost." Let's look at some examples from the brutal "medical" experiments in the death camps of Germany.

From Medical Experiments of the Holocaust and Nazi Medicine (see also Medical Experiments - The Holocaust)

- Treating freezing and hypothermia
- Ground work in genetics
- Treating and understanding the course of infectious diseases
- Pharmaceutical advances (for example antibiotics)
- Treatment of traumatic injury
- Advances in surgery
- Combating the effects of high altitude flying

Were these "advances" worth the cost? Would you think they were worth the cost if you or a family member was tortured or died in these experiments?

How about those other "advances" such as rocketry, the harnessing of the atom?

Were they worth the cost? After all, good came out of it. So while Hitler was mis-directed, ultimately (after millions of deaths) he must have been "right."


Is There Another Way
As you can see, this is a false argument. Certainly, the deaths and mutilations of WWII are not in any way offset by "advances" in medicine or technology. Why, because those "advances" could have (and probably would have) occurred without the impetus of the depredations of hate and war.

The issue is not whether "desirable" outcomes can result from bad actions or events. The question is whether one can legitimate the bad events even if there are "desirable" outcomes. Could the outcomes have occurred by following a different path? While in some cases it is impossible to answer that question as we can't go back in time and try a different way, I suspect that in most instances the answer is "yes."

There is always the question of who pays what costs. In the Nazi "advances" the direct victims paid a terrible cost. One might even say that the citizens under Hitler's rule played horrendous costs in terms of their humanity and lives.

Certainly Japan paid a horrendous cost with the bombing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima, though the U.S. continues to argue that the action "saved American lives."

In U.S. history, the practices of slavery on one hand, and the intentional genocide of Native American tribes on the other, form the basis of "what America is today." Was there another way?

Those who have, and are now arguing, that the Bush strategy might be effective, are slipping into a simple, and (in my opinion) false argument. If the end game of the Bush strategy is to "democratize" the Muslim world, is the only way to do that by throwing all rules and law out the window? Is the only way to that end, to declare imperial rule with pre-emptive use of force, and an "anything goes" military strategy? Is the only way to that end to engage in death and destruction, torture and abuse, fear and occupation? Can you "democratize" at the end of a gun, or depleted uranium munitions? And if you do, what are the real outcomes of that?

For those not busy waving the flag in the press, it is clear that the likely result (at least for some period of time) of the U.S. approach to "liberation" is massive civil war and chaos. That is already happening in Afghanistan, and it is well on its way in Iraq. It is speculated to be the likely result in Lebanon as well.

Meanwhile, the U.S. sinks deeper into the "anything goes" mentality because the "cause" is "good." I am outraged by the increasing speculation on the part of the so-called liberal media that "maybe Bush had it right after all" (Bill Maher, and Capitol Hill Blue for example).

As the U.S. stretches to expand and enforce a vision of empire with the U.S. at the helm; starts again the nuclear (and other wmd) arms race; openly uses military assassination squads; sets up prisons around the world; creates and supports government use of propaganda against its own citizens; what do we lose? Is it worth what we "gain?" I do not see that any of this is making the world safer. Assuming the stated purpose for all these depredations is the true goal.

I am haunted by the vision of freedom and democracy that is seen as expected and desirable by the Bush administration. I can't help but flash back on Rumsfeld's response to the question of looting and destruction in Baghdad after the toppling of Hussein. He said something to the effect that "freedom was messy." One might ask how that expression of "freedom" is dealt with in the United States. Do the police stand back and let it happen? "Oh well, that's freedom."

Lawlessness, chaos, death and destruction. Civil war, insurgencies, production of nuclear weapons. Torture, loss of rights, "disappearing" people. The loss of truth, credibility, and common civility. That is the Bush path. The cost is too great, and it is not the only, or even most "efficient" way to get to the stated goals of safety and democracy.

There are a number of sayings that come to mind:
"It is truly an ill wind that blows no one any good."
"Every cloud has a silver lining."
"If the Lord gives you busted eggs, make an omelet."

Such platitudes hardly apply to the global situation where we are creating the ill wind, making the clouds of war, and busting every egg. The path we are on is not stirred up by either nature or "god." The path we are on is created by people. We could make a different path, and I feel we desperately need to do so.


Sources of Interest
3/19/05 Levy & Scott-Clark, Guardian/UK, Afghanistan: 'One Huge US Jail'

3/19/05 Westphal, CHB, Reconsidering the unthinkable

Medical Experiments of the Holocaust and Nazi Medicine

Medical Experiments - The Holocaust

Wolf, Uncommon Thought Journal, The Ends Justify the Means

National Defense Strategy of the United States - 2005


Rowan Wolf is a columnist for Project for the Old American Century,  and the editor of Uncommon Thought Journal  . Her email is [email protected]

 

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information please review Title 17, Sec. 107 of the U.S. Code. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

privacy policy

© 2002- 2007  OLDAmericanCentury.org and OLDAmericanCentury.com