L. Neil Smith's

Number 14, September 15, 1996.

And It's Five, Six, Seven,
Open Up the Pearly Gates

By Victor Milan

Exclusive to The Libertarian Enterprise

         In a blatant, brutal act of aggression, 35,000 troops backed by tanks and aircraft crunch into northern Iraq, butchering Kurds in their UN-enforced safe haven. Does humanitarian Bill Clinton, horrified by the slaughter of women and children, command the Pentagon to smite the invaders?
         Fuck, no. They're our buddies the Turks, March 1995. Unlike Saddam Hussein in August, they violated an international boundary, and they killed more people. Yet in the words of the London Electronic Telegraph, the invasion "was met with no criticism, let alone cruise missiles, from the Americans."
         They did it again on June 27th this year, with 4000 paratroopers, 250 pro-Turk Kurdish militiamen, and an unspecified number of special forces troops. The response from Save-the-Children Bill?
         The same loud silence.
         Saddam Hussein is a genocidal thug, but only a total asshole with no moral perception would dream of calling him "worse than Hitler" (step forward, George Bush). He's not even a patch on the ass, in domestic despot, military threat, or international terrorist terms, of his neighbor and deadly rival Hafez al-Assad of Syria.
         Aside from Israel, Syria has the toughest army in the Middle East. Despite the claim relentlessly repeated during Desert Shield and Storm that Iraq has the fourth-largest army in the world - probably untrue -- the only thing stopping Assad from driving to Baghdad and super-gluing Saddam's head to that stupid arch of giant scimitars is that, if he did, the Israelis would jump-fuck him. Assad can't take on both.
         In the world terror-derby, Syria is a profoundly underrated player. It probably perpetrated the bombing of a West Berlin nightclub frequented by American GIs for which Reagan, confused as usual, bombed Libya. If TWA 800 was -- as persistent rumors bubbling up from the spook community insist -- shot down with a missile or otherwise sabotaged, Syria is a much better candidate than either Iran or Iraq, Slick's whipping-boys of choice. And some even whisper that two recent Western US power blackouts -- one of which interrupted my birthday party -- were caused by Syrian-inspired attacks on power stations.
         So why didn't Bill whack the Turks for their much bloodier abuse of the Kurds? They're the good guys -- NATO members. Why isn't Bill making the same warlike faces at Syria that he has at Iraq and Iran? The Syrians are too fucking mean.
         Were the attacks morally justified? Certainly Saddam's assault on the Kurds was barbaric. It was also a domestic matter -- just like Russia's nasty, brutish, and lost war against the Chechens. Did we Tomahawk the Russians for terror-bombing civilians? No. We kept paying to modernize their armed forces, including upgrading the nuclear missiles in those Russian subs which still prowl our coasts.
         And Saddam did nothing Turkey didn't do more of.
         Nor was his action clear-cut aggression. He apparently intervened at the request of a Kurdish resistance leader who decided destroying his rivals mattered more than Kurdish independence. Thin, sure -- but no thinner than America's pretext for invading Bosnia, or Haiti, or Somalia.
         Were the strikes successful? Saddam has apparently drawn back his ground forces -- leaving behind secret police teams who, according to CNN, may already have massacred 1500 people. A thunderous victory for humanitarianism.
         And if we were trying to stop aggression in northern Iraq, why rocket the south? I've heard one militarily plausible explanation: since Turkey wouldn't let American planes based there support the Kurds, nobody wants to ask the Syrians, and the Iranians are apparently no more grateful for the loot illegally sent them by Clinton than they were to his old gun-and-drug smuggling partner Ronnie Raygun, any attacks on Iraq's north must perforce fly across the south.
         Reality check. Clinton knows military strategy like he knows the Constitution. He did babble something about extending the no-fly zone almost to Baghdad, but face it: he was Sending a Message.
         The results were at any rate less than stellar. We used our magic super-accurate cruise missiles. And why was there a second strike? According to John Major, Brit Prime Minister and lonely cheerleader for the attack, "It wasn't a series of new targets. It was to revisit those targets which looked as though they had been inadequately destroyed before."
         In a simpering press conference a few days after the strikes US Defense secretary Perry seemed, amid much double-talk, to claim about a 67% kill rate -- hardly magical, especially given two strikes. He also wanted us to believe it was a military success that several of the targeted radars and SAM launchers moved as a result of the attacks.
         People, these things are designed to move. Most modern SAMs are launched from tracked vehicles. Why the hell do you suppose that is?
         What seems to have happened is that, after the first Tomahawk volley failed to destroy them, some targets just drove away -- meaning follow-up launches landed on empty parking spaces.
         Political results? Saddam's stock in the Arab world has skyrocketed: once again he's faced down the World's Only Superpower and not only survived, but scarcely been inconvenienced. Our dependents the Russians are hostile, while of our Euroweenie allies only Major can muster visible enthusiasm. At home, Dole of the Dead mumbled support for the action, if not the actor, and in solidarity with their front-man, Congressional Republicans zombie-walked along with a resolution calling the attack a Good Thing.
         It wasn't. It was an immoral, pointless, half-assed, and ultimately counterproductive goatfuck.
         And why did it happen?
         Oh, come on. It was a re-election publicity stunt by Bill Clinton. Nothing else. Granted, our Iraq Attaq doesn't have quite the potential for disastrous comebacks that blundering into the Balkans does -- although if we keep on "hurting" Saddam like this, he'll wind up Emperor of the Arabs. And as far as we know, no Americans died.
         But it displayed Bill Clinton once again as an evil, irresponsible clown. It demonstrated the mental and moral vacuity of the alleged opposition candidate and his party. And it showed the crass servility of our media, who greedily slurped down the government's line of shit with barely a drop spilled.
         Shame on the lot of you swine. You're a national disgrace. You're also a greater threat to America and what it stands for than Saddam Hussein and a dozen like him.

9/14/96 Saddam's pal Barzani has crushed Kurdish opposition in Northern Iraq. Our "humanitarian rescue" mission so comprehensively defines failure that nobody's talking about it any more.

So why is the US sending Stealths, B52s, aircraft carriers, and 5000 troops to the area with obvious intent to use them? Same answer as above.

But that generates a new question: Mr. Clinton, if you indeed enjoy the unassailable lead your pocket pollsters and toadeater media aver, why is it necessary to pour fresh buckets of American treasure -- and possibly American blood -- into the Persian Gulf sewer?

Prometheus Award-winner Victor Milan is the author of over 70 novels, including the just-released CLD from AvoNova and War In Tethyr from TSR.

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