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"Write out of love, write out of instinct, write out of reason. But always for money."
Louis Untermeyer


The Occasional Muse
My humble opinion on current events

January 1, 2003

Looking Back, Looking Ahead 

A new year is here. The year of our Lord 2002 is now history. But a new year doesn't appear in a vacuum. Events from the previous year intrude and demand attention.

Before I begin, let me make something clear. This is not a predictions column. I don't do predictions, for a few reasons. First, everyone does predictions, so why join the herd? Second, those who do predictions are usually wrong. Third, I don't pretend to believe that I'm smart enough to see into the future.

However, you don't need to be a psychic to see what issues from 2002 will have a dramatic impact on 2003. This column is my humble opinion on those issues, or more specifically, those issues that interest me. I don't know how these issues will resolve themselves, but I will tell you how I think they should be resolved.

First is the biggie: Iraq. It's pretty obvious that President Dubya is determined to rid this world of Saddam Hussein. Troops, armor, and materiel are chugging to the Gulf right now. The U.N. weapon inspectors are cruising around Iraq, and will probably find nothing, or at least nothing that Saddam doesn't want found. Both the U.N. and U.S. have declared Saddam in material breech of the current Security Council resolution, which is enough justification for war. 

So there will be war with Iraq. There has to be - President Dubya hasn't left himself much wiggle room. Assurances over the last few weeks that disarming Iraq doesn't necessarily mean regime change are just platitudes. If the United States backed down now, after all the saber rattling, every terrorist in the world would rightly consider it weakness, just like Osama bin Laden did after the Somalia battle chronicled in Black Hawk Down.

The U.S. will win the war, quickly I think, but what happens afterward I don't know. It could turn out like the so-called hawks say it will, that the U.S. establishes a pro-Western democratic regime that is a model for the Middle East and inspires Arabs in repressive countries like Syria and Iran to rise up and overthrow their dictators. Or, the U.S. could establish a military government, with the goal of transitioning it to an Iraqi democracy in time. Such a government would be a juicy target to Islamic terrorists all over the world. Or, the U.S. could try and fail to set up a government, and watch helplessly as the nation is divided in mini-states based on ethnicity. Such chaos would move Iran to invade and take what it could, possibly leading to World War 3.

Obviously, overthrowing Saddam carries great risks. But leaving him there carries greater ones. Few doubt that he would strike the U.S. when he gets the chance. Any president who allowed that to happen would fail in his ultimate duty to protect and defend the nation. I can't say that I support war, but I definitely believe Saddam should go. If there was a peaceful way to accomplish that, then do it. But if not, then war is the only way, but it must be done cautiously, with the courage to do it right and the resolve to prevent it from spiraling out of control.

North Korea will not go away in 2003. The Stalinist nation seems determined to build nuclear bombs, no matter the cost. It has kicked out nuclear inspectors, admitted that it violated the 1994 agreement negotiated with Jimmy Carter and approved by Bill Clinton, in which North Korea agreed to stop its nuclear weapons program if the U.S. helped it build nuclear power plants. That Carter and Clinton fell for this obvious ruse reveals the Clinton Administration's criminal stupidity in foreign policy. Anyway, North Korea is now demanding that the U.S. sign a non-aggression treaty with it, and also threatens to withdraw from the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, another worthless piece of paper that law-abiding countries obey and outlaw states violate with impunity. 

I believe North Korea poses a far greater threat to its neighbors, the U.S., and the world, but President Dubya says that war is not an option. Diplomacy will work. Using the full, fearsome weight of the international community will persuade Kim Jong-il to see the error of his ways, stop his nuclear weapons program, denounce Communism, and publicly endorse Mom, baseball, and apple pie. That's not strategy, it's blind and worthless folly. 

So why won't President Dubya treat North Korea like he does Iraq, and threaten regime change? The answer is simple. North Korea can fight back. Invading North Korea would be bloody and protracted, killing thousands of American troops. Invading Iraq will be short and relatively easy in comparison. It's the same reason Clinton was so tough on Yugoslavia and Haiti but a wimp with North Korea - Yugoslavia and Haiti couldn't fight back. 

I have no idea how the North Korean mess will work out. Kim Jong-il is more dangerous than Saddam, and can't be allowed nukes (he possibly has one bomb now). But war with North Korea, an ally of Russia and China, could also start World War 3. Makes me glad I'm not president.

Finally, on the domestic front, the United States Supreme Court will rule on affirmative action. A white woman applied to the University of Michigan but was denied, despite superior test scores and other qualifications than several minority students that were accepted. She sued, claiming she was discriminated against because of her skin color. The university says such policies are okay to encourage diversity on campus. A federal court agreed with her, a federal appeals court agreed with the university. The Supremes will decide the matter.

This one is easy. The Court should rule that discrimination by a public university is illegal and unconstitutional. Skin tone doesn't matter. If it's wrong to discriminate against blacks in favor of whites, then it's wrong to discriminate against whites in favor of blacks. If it's wrong to discriminate against Asians in favor of Hispanics, then it's wrong to discriminate against Hispanics in favor of Asians. Those who argue otherwise essentially admit to supporting discrimination, as long as their preferred skin tone is favored. The university is saying that a white woman provides no diversity, which is insulting and dehumanizing. People are more than their pigmentation - all are unique and offer a fresh viewpoint. Discriminatory policies like affirmative action ignore that and treat all people like faceless members of some herd organized by skin color. Who wants to live in that kind of world?

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