Friday, May 23, 2008

Why the Iraq War Has Nothing to do With the "War on Terror"

I haven't quite figured out why we went to war in Iraq yet, but I can certainly tell you it wasn't to fight terrorism. It definitely was not to avenge the victims of September 11, 2001, and it was 100% not to catch Osama Bin Laden.

But this post isn't about trying to figure out why we went to war, it's about why this war has nothing to do with terrorism or September 11.

Saddam Hussein

Up until our 2003 invasion of Iraq, that country was ruled by a man named Saddam Hussein Abd al-Majid al-Tikriti1, more commonly known as Saddam Hussein. Hussein was a long-time member of the Ba'ath Party. The Ba'ath party is a Pan-Arab, secular, nationalist, socialist organization. Did you catch that? Yes, I said secular.

But but but but but.....if the Ba'ath Party is a Pan-Arab organization, wouldn't that automatically make them Muslim fundamentalists? Give me a break. That's like saying "all Germans are Lutherans!". While many Germans are indeed Lutheran, many are Catholic, Jewish, Atheist, etc. Like the word German, Arab identifies an ethnicity, not a religion. Upwards of 10-12% of Arabs are, in fact, Christian2.

OK, OK, you say. But c'mon - the Ba'ath Party must be Muslim, right? No. The Ba'ath Party, the Party of Saddam Hussein, was established by one Michel Aflaq, an Orthodox Christian3 . It is similar in ideology to other nationalist parties, such as Francisco Franco's nationalist movement in Spain4 .

So far in this little lecture we have a secular nationalist dictator, whose religion happened to be Islam.

Let's look at our other character in this drama, shall we?

Osama Bin Laden

It is widely accepted that a man named Osama bin Muhammad bin 'Awad bin Laden (aka Osama Bin Laden) provided the funding and facilities for the attacks of September 11, 20015. Bin Laden is a radical religious (Muslim) fundamentalist. His goals are to make Islam and its laws the dominant force in the world. While Bin Laden himself is an Arab, 1.5 billion people worldwide identify themselves as Muslim - this includes Indonesians (the largest Muslim population in the world), Africans, Americans, British, French, German, Chinese, and more. Just about every country in the world has some population of Muslims.

So What?

Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein were completely at cross-purposes to each other. On the one hand you had a guy that could care less about religion, who just wanted power under the guise of unifying Arabs; on the other hand you have a guy that just wants power under the guise of making this world a world under Islamic law. I dare say, they probably hated each other. They probably thought each one was nosing into the other's business.

If the attacks of September 11, 2001 were about Islamic radicalism and creating one world, under Allah, then why did we push all our eggs into the Iraqi basket? Why did we send those young soldiers there to die in a country ruled by a secular nationalist who was completely at odds with the people that committed the attacks on our country? Why is Osama Bin Laden still free? Why aren't we putting everything we have into capturing him and his deputies?

Why is the American general populace hoodwinked so easily into thinking Iraq was behind the deaths of 3,000 of our fellows on September 11, 2001?

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