Where Next? Iran, Syria... Or the Congo?
The justification for the war in Iraq changed more often than most people change their socks. This is especially true for a guy I know who only owns two pairs, but that's another story altogether.
Now things have calmed down we can take stock and think objectively about the real motives. In the end, there were three primary reasons put forth to justify the invasion.
Weapons of Mass Destruction
We have not yet found any evidence whatsoever that Saddam Hussein possessed WMDs. Not only has the evidence presented by the Administration of George Bush been roundly dismissed as either extremely suspect or downright false, we have been unable to find a single piece of evidence in the seven weeks since the war ended, despite searching high and low. The only shred of evidence found is two possible mobile bio-weapons labs, but examinations have shown that they had not been used for the manufacture of chemical weapons.
At present, it seems unlikely that anything will be found. In my opinion we can discount the possibility that the claims of Bush and Blair were false. Even their most ardent supporters must concede this point.
Despite loud claims that Hussein was closely linked to Al Qaeda, there is zero evidence that this was true. Not only have our intelligence agencies failed to find any link, it would appear that Hussein and Al Qaeda differ idealogically. To claim a link would be as ridiculous as claiming that the Klan support equal rights. Again, this can be discounted as a valid justification.
And so we come to the only justification that could work, and the one that has been accepted as the primary motive by the pro-war public. Today, any argument made against the war is met by a counter of 'If we hadn't gone in, Hussein would still be torturing and killing innocents'. As arguments go, it's hard to beat. It's partly true. If we hadn't invaded, I have no doubt that Saddam would have continued to kill his people.
However, to what extent can we trust the reports of Saddam's violence? After all, most of the reports came from Iraqi exiles with highly questionable motives. For example, much of our 'Humist', intelligence gathered from human agents, came from Ahmad Chalabi, the exile leader living in the US. Incidentally, he is a prime candidate to be the new leader of Iraq. Surely it couldn't be that he had ulterior motives in promoting the war?
In addition, we know from experience that claims of violence are often fabrications. Anyone remember before the first Gulf War? A Kuwaiti girl claimed that Iraqi soldiers were throwing babies out of their incubators to die on the floor. This caused a great wave of public support for war in the Gulf. It was later revealed that the story had been spread by a group called Citizens for a Free Kuwait. The girl turned out to be the daughter of the Kuwaiti Ambassador to the US.
It seems obvious that many of the tales of violence should not be taken at face value. Sometimes it seems that if all the stories are true then everyone in Iraq would have been tortured to death in the last ten years.
So, assuming that the real reason for the war was to depose Saddam, thereby stopping the senseless torture of the citizens of Iraq, lets follow it through to its logical conclusion. The next war will not be in Syria or Iran. It will be in the Congo.
The general public know very little about the Congo. In fact, I believe that their knowledge of the country extends little beyond the fact that it featured on commercials for the fruit drink Um Bongo, and that Drs. Kovac and Carter went there in a recent episode of ER.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DROC - formerly known as Zaire) is a nation in Central Africa about 1/4 the size of the US. The Congo has been locked in a vicious civil war since around 1997. During this time an estimated 3.3 million people (from a population of only 55 million) have been killed in the fighting. Torture and rape are rife. People are often found with limbs hacked off with machetes.
So, bearing in mind that George Bush has only the interests of the downtrodden at heart, when will we be sending troops to the Congo? I suspect we may have to wait some time. After all, they don't have enough oil.