Pittsburgh, PA
August 4, 2021
    News           Sports           Lifestyle           Classifieds           About Us
The Dining Guide
Travel Getaways
Consumer Rates
Headlines by E-mail
Home >  Lifestyle >  Columnists Printer-friendly versionE-mail this story
PG Columnists

Uncle Osama says: I want you to attack Iraq

Sunday, September 29, 2002

Osama bin Laden, dead or alive, continues to run the terror war with aplomb. A year after he accelerated it in unthinkable earnest, the former Saudi dissident-turned-murderous-Islamic-hypnotist continues, whether via legacy or direct order, to lead the American media and the Bush administration like a twisted virtuoso in a doomed symphony.

Sept. 11, 2002, was choreographed in American broadcasting, and to a lesser extent the print media, largely to bin Laden's specifications. Another heartbreaking, seemingly endless loop of the planes exploding into the towers, wedged into the smoking Pentagon, smashed to bits just down the road.

Our fear multiplying, multiplying, multiplying. Talk about your biological weapons.

Now of course, with the Bush administration's idiotic six-month run-up toward war with Iraq, bin Ladenism is ready to conduct the fateful second movement.

"I want you," bin Laden is saying, "to invade Iraq."

In ads placed in major print media this week by TomPaine.com(mon sense), bin Laden is drawn into caricature, pointing straight at us, like Uncle Sam in the famous World War II poster.

To the intellectually clumsy hawks under Cowboy George, the ads no doubt appear offensive in concept, wrong-headed in execution, and, no doubt, unpatriotic. Yet, inconveniently enough, their text is much closer to reality than anything emanating from Rumstead and Cheney's war room.

"Go ahead," the mock-up of bin Laden begins. "Send me a new generation of recruits. Your bombs will fuel their hatred of America and their desire for revenge. Americans won't be safe anywhere. Please, attack Iraq. Distract yourself from fighting al Qaida. Divide the international community. Go ahead. Destabilize the region. Maybe Pakistan will fall -- we want its nuclear weapons. Give Saddam a reason to strike first. He might draw Israel into a fight. Perfect. So please -- invade Iraq. Make my day."

As the Bush administration breaks out the sledgehammers for a predicament that requires scalpels and some informed prudence, the consequences of starting a massive geopolitical fire we can't extinguish represent only the first violent phase of a deeper undertaking.

Yes, an attack on Iraq risks a civil war that could last a decade and cost unfathomably more than the $100 billion to $200 billion being suggested by the administration as the price of "regime change." Yes, an attack on Iraq risks cracking open great nests of Iran-sponsored terrorists to further complicate a spiraling equation. Yes, an attack on Iraq could force Saddam to attack Israel, Saudi Arabia or both. Yes, that particular domino could provoke Israel into tapping its nuclear arsenal, a move that could bring a nuclear response from highly unstable Pakistan, which might shoot one at India just for the hell of it.

If we can't handle all that -- and the case is easily made that an America with 33 million people now living in poverty can't -- perhaps this is the time to look a lot harder at the Bush administration's adopted policy of "pre-emption."

Who, do you suppose, are the additionally viable candidates for pre-emption? Is anyone safe? In assuming the stance that the United States is perfectly willing to attack countries we even suspect of having the ability to attack us, the administration risks two colossal mistakes.

First, it brings a very fundamental policy change to what the president loves to call "our peace-loving nation." Second, it reinforces the often illogical context of fear and loathing other countries have for us. And the incredible global tension that makes America a perpetual target can't be relieved until somebody has the intellectual and political courage to change that context.

It is not coincidence that Saddam Hussein, who is somehow the sum of all American fears at the moment, is sitting on the second greatest collection of petroleum reserves in the world after Saudi Arabia. Why he would deploy any weapon that would assure, by response, his immediate destruction is beyond me. He's homicidal. Not suicidal.

United Nations weapons inspectors were scheduled to meet next week in Vienna with Iraqi authorities who say they are "eager" to prove they no longer have the weapons we fear. We ought to explore the definitions and dimensions of that alleged eagerness before we do something that would bring a beaming smile to the face of Osama bin Laden, wherever he is.

Gene Collier can be reached at gcollier@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1283.

Back to top Back to top E-mail this story E-mail this story
Search | Contact Us |  Site Map | Terms of Use |  Privacy Policy |  Advertise | Help |  Corrections