A question of war

Like most readers of this newspaper, I’m not especially revved up to see thousands of American soldiers invade Iraq. It’s pretty easy to think of things that could go wrong with such a caper.

For starters, we would probably kill a lot of people who don’t deserve to die horrible, violent deaths. An invasion would no doubt be incredibly expensive, perhaps delivering another jolt to an economy that seems as wobbly as a newborn colt. It could trigger a meltdown in American-Islamic relations, one that could result in ferocious terrorist attacks against American civilians here and abroad. And if things really go incredibly badly, we could touch off a chain reaction that could, in ways no one can possibly foresee, lead to some kind of new world war, maybe even some kind of quasi-Armageddon.

None of that stuff is good. But there’s one other scenario that could take place, one that those who are opposed to an invasion don’t seem to want to acknowledge. That doesn’t make it less likely to happen, and in fact, this particular scenario has as good a chance as any of occurring. It’s the one where we (1) go into Iraq, (2) kick serious ass, (3) kill Saddam and his psychopathic sons and (4) return the country to a grateful populace.

It could happen.

The ass-kicking part, certainly, does not seem far-fetched. Western forces would probably pour through Saddam’s defenses like the Oakland Raiders versus Sonoma State. Remember the rout that occurred in the last few days of the Gulf War, when Saddam’s guys were falling all over each other looking for somebody, anybody, to surrender to?

As for the grateful-people-of-Iraq scenario, well, we know there are decent, intelligent people living there. How many? Who knows? But if you’re an educated, sophisticated person living in Baghdad, how happy can you really be to be ruled by a man like Saddam? How pleased can you possibly be to live under a sadistic megalomaniac whose main pleasure in life is to plaster city walls with huge murals of himself? How devoted can you be to a ruler who perpetrated the recent bizarre joke that was referred to as an “election?” How loyal can you really be to your oil pirate of a leader, who shamelessly bombards his country with misinformation while he smuggles its most valuable asset onto the black market for the billions he needs to maintain his obscene collection of palaces?

It would be terrific if Saddam complied with the United Nations weapon inspectors in such a way that a bloody, horrible invasion could be avoided. That would be great news for all of us in the west. One wonders, though, how many people in Iraq would regard such a development as bad news, peculiar as that notion might seem? How many decent, reasonable people in Iraq are quietly and secretly begging for us to invade their country and rid them once and for all of the brutal thugs that rule their land?