Well, tomorrow, we go to war it seems. And so I've been thinking about war, and my thoughts about...

Well, tomorrow, we go to war it seems. And so I've been thinking about war, and my thoughts about this war have crystallised, so I thought I'd write them down, since hey, it's my blog, I can write what I want. You want to read what everyone else thinks, go read Wabson or something.

(Update: Cross-posted to Free Trinidad.org)

This war is about humanitarian principles. This war is about revenge. This war is about containing threats. This war is about oil. This war is about money. This war is about a fundamental clash of ideologies. This war is about containing a mad dictator.

This war is about all of those things. This war is justified, but that is not why this war is being fought.

First, let me annoy you with some home-made political theory. We (the readers of Seldo.Com, such as you are) live in capitalist democracies. Both terms of that are open to debate sometimes, but that's generally what they are. What doesn't often come up is that a "capitalist democracy" is a contradiction in terms. In a capitalist society, money is what rules. He who makes the most money, makes the rules, and the only unchangeable laws concern supply and demand. In a democratic society, people makes the rules. Whatever the most people think is the rule, becomes the rule. Most of the time, these ideologies can co-exist, because most people are happy with the rules that allow them to become rich or at least comfortable. But clashes occur sometimes, and neither side always wins. We're more familiar with the democratic side winning: when a lot of people support welfare or free medical treatment, for instance, we make rules that don't make anybody any money and in fact are often distinctly anti-capitalist. But when the opposite happens, and what makes the most money wins over what most people want, we get upset. The money can sometimes win over democracy because our democracies are structured such that we tend to give the power to people who are already rich -- it takes money, lots of money, to win an election. This means that our democratically-elected officials, when tempted by enough money, will do things that we don't want. Fine. Democracy works, so we can un-elect them. But sometimes, not fast enough. Which brings us to the war in Iraq.

Why are some of us going into Iraq, when we are democracies and the majority don't want us to go?[1] The answer is money. Why are the rest of the democracies not also going in? Is it because they're more democratic. Bullshit. It's because there's money on both sides. The US knows that having its vital oil supplies controlled by hostile nations is a bad idea, since that will lose it money.[2] France and Russia know that Iraq isn't very hostile to them, and does business with them on the down-low quite a lot. So war will lose them money. So the USA will want war, and France and Russia won't. I suppose Germany must be making some money somewhere too. It all comes down to money, because we keep electing rich people with big honking conflicts of interest to rule our country. So, we should probably un-elect a bunch of people around now.

But is going into Iraq actually a bad idea? Not too many people want to, but just because it's democratic doesn't mean it's sensible. In fact, going into Iraq is probably a good idea. These are the "containing threats" and "mad dictator" reasons. Saddam's not a nice guy. In fact, he's been pretty genocidally nasty to the Kurds. He's also pretty open about wanting to rule the world, and wanting to squash western democracies. He can't do that at the moment, because his nastiest weapon is a remote-controlled plane that could, at worst, seriously piss off Israel to the tune of lots of deaths. But at some point, if we didn't contain him, he would have that capability, so we should contain him. So, you say, we've been containing him for 10 years. Why switch from containment to active removal? Because containment isn't a guarantee that he won't get up to nasty things anyway -- note that big-ass spy-plane he managed to hide -- and also, our method of containment is opressing the people of Iraq, not just Saddam. So to remove the threat without creating a generation of Iraqis who absolutely hate our guts, get rid of Saddam. Go-go gadget bombers.

Yes, we'll kill a bunch of those people while getting him out. Yes, it's not positive that whoever replaces him will be much better for the people of Iraq[3]. But we will definitely be removing a certain threat in favour of uncertainty. And if the next one turns out bad as well, we'll have to do it again. The correct analogy is Hitler. If we could've stopped him before he got too big, we would have saved millions of lives. That's what we're doing now. It's the right thing to do. And we're doing it for the wrong reasons, but so what? We're doing it. God bless democracy.

And what will be the result? In Iraq, it's uncertain, but certainly Saddam will go, probably taking lots of people with him, maybe even surviving to go into exile somewhere[4]. Or maybe Saddam will get thrown into camp X-ray and never heard of again. In the event of a quick and relatively casualty-free war (on the US side, obviously) Bush will probably be hugely popular. Blair, currently fighting for his life in the house of commons, will probably regain his huge popularity, and although labour won't like its leader anymore, they would be mad not to let him stand for re-election. France and Germany will grumble, but quieten down, and eventually diplomatic ties will heal. North Korea, meanwhile, will probably bomb Seoul with a nuclear weapon just to get some attention. We really should be dealing with NK first, but there's not nearly enough money involved. See?

[1] Actually, the majority in the USA do in fact want to go into Iraq now. This is thanks to clever coverage by the Fox Network though.
[2] These hostile nations, incidentally, include Saudi Arabia: "whoa! you sponsor all the terrorism in the world! And you're supposed to be our ally?" They're next. Don't believe me? Wait and see.
[3] Although you can guarantee they will be better for oil prices.
[4] Which would be an interesting first case for the International Criminal Court. Maybe then the US would sign up.