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One bad act begets another



   orlandosentinel.com
   Commentary
   One bad act begets another
   Published February 27, 2001
   
   Charley Reese
   
   The recent bombing of Iraq is a good example of how one bad action
   begets another bad action, which begets another.

   The original bad action was the imposition of no-fly zones. This is a
   violation of international law. The United Nations does not authorize
   it. It was done unilaterally when another bad action, instigating
   rebellions by Kurds and Shi'ite rebels, failed miserably.

   But if you are going to order your pilots to fly over another
   country's airspace, then you have an obligation to protect them.
   Hence, the bombing of Iraqi anti-aircraft sites and the more-recent
   bombing of new radar sites the Iraqis had installed south of Baghdad.
   I'm sorry to see the new president follow in the same failed policy
   initiated by his father and maintained by Bill Clinton. It puts us
   clearly into the position of being a rogue state, to use Washington's
   favorite phrase. It does not accomplish any useful purpose. It
   alienates the entire Arab world, not to mention our allies.

   Furthermore the deaths of 500,000 Iraqi children (those are United
   Nations figures, not Saddam Hussein's) because of the embargo is
   clearly a crime against humanity under anybody's sensible definition.

   Far from causing the overthrow of Hussein, it has only strengthened
   him.

   Also, the embargo is coming apart as more and more nations, disgusted
   by the stubbornness and malice of the United States and our puppet,
   Great Britain, simply refuse to honor it. It has enraged the Arab
   citizens and will make it increasingly more difficult for Arab
   politicians on our payroll to stay in power.

   Bush has the opportunity to forge a new and more sensible policy. I
   will be keenly disappointed if he doesn't. Saddam Hussein is not, and
   never was, a threat to the world. He's a dictator of a small country.

   Even if he had two or three nukes, which no objective observers
   believe that he has, he wouldn't use them, not even against Israel.
   Israel, after all, has 200 nuclear warheads and wouldn't hesitate to
   turn Iraq into one large piece of glass. Saddam knows that, and he's a
   perfectly sane and shrewd individual, even if he flunks the League of
   Women Voters' test of a leader.

   It is one thing to say to a nation that if it attacks another country,
   the United States will come to that country's aid. It is quite another
   to interfere in the internal affairs of another nation. It is a
   violation of the United Nations charter and a threat to the
   sovereignty of all nations, including ours.

   The Golden Rule applies to nations as well as to individuals. Our
   government never should do to another nation that which we would not
   tolerate being done to us. We have broken that rule repeatedly.

   We have also employed a double standard, not only in the Middle East
   but in other areas of the world. The United States should condemn what
   it considers bad actions without regard for which country is doing it.
   If it's wrong for one country to assassinate its political enemies, it
   is wrong no matter which country does it. If refusing to sign the
   Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty is considered wrong, it should be
   considered wrong no matter which country refuses to sign it.

   As the world well knows, however, the United States government follows
   the sleazy philosophy of "It's not what you do, but who you are and
   whom you do it to." I believe, among civilized people, that's called
   disgraceful.

   Charley Reese can be reached at creese@orlandosentinel.com
   
                    Copyright  2001, Orlando Sentinel

http://orlandosentinel.com/news/opinion/columnists/orl-reese27-02272001.column

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