Thursday, October 21, 2004

What Do You Do?

Here’s a hypothetical I wrote as I ponder the situation America finds itself in today. Feedback is welcome.

You’ve been elevated to the highest office in the world and for whatever crazy reason it dawns on you that the world is sort of dependent upon oil for its very survival. You’ve seen the bumper stickers, ‘no blood for oil’ but you never really gave it much thought—I mean, it sounds good, doesn’t it? So you start to wonder—okay, let’s say that all the oil-producing countries are overthrown by some radical Islamic sects and they collectively decide they don’t need our money any longer and they turn off the spigot. What do you do? It’s not our oil after all and we really have no right to take it from them. You try to imagine an America without oil to fuel the cars which take people to their jobs. For a moment you imagine an America without jobs. You picture deserted highways void of the never-ending whine of 18-wheelers as they transport goods from manufacturers to consumers. Wow, the ramifications on our economy and the world as we know it are frightening. And you thought the lack of a flu vaccine was an outrage. It occurs to you that this is maybe just a tad bit more pressing.

As the president you have a choice: you can go about your busy schedule and pretend all is well while schmoozing your way toward a second term or you can exercise your vision and see the situation for what it is. Doing this, though, will no doubt cost you serious political capital and will most likely weaken you in the short term as there is no sanitary way to do what needs to be done. The other option is to accept the tough choices which go with the job and do what will be in everyone’s best interest years from now no matter how distasteful it may seem at the moment. Your opponent knows that you’re an easy mark in the upcoming election because there is no way that the fruits of your labor are anywhere near ready for market. All the public sees is the turmoil fed to them daily by a giant media only concerned with bringing the public sensational headlines every day to sell more papers all at your expense. Tragedy sells and there’s certainly no lack of it. There’s no lack of war-ravaged Iraqi families to turn to when they want to make their point. It’s sad that the people who are experiencing freedom for the first time aren’t being paraded out in front of the camera to show us their brilliant smiles so we can also understand that we’re doing so much good for these ever oppressed people.

But that’s just part of the story. Did I tell you that I do think that a good part of the reason we’re over there is because of the oil? I’m very upfront about that because I think it’s an acceptable reason especially given all the other humanitarian causes we can list for being there. The problem with that thinking though is that the American left in all their glorious ignorance would scream bloody murder if we actually came out and said that.

So what do you do? You’ve got your UN resolutions in hand and you’ve supposedly got the support of the entire coalition—that is until you actually say you’re going to follow through with what the resolutions have given you the authority to do. You can continue down the road of inspections all the while knowing that those have been a farce and will never amount to anything. You also have to remember that Saddam did possess the WMD at one time and never accounted for their destruction so given that little bit of information, common sense tells you that he still has them. Your intelligence also tells you that the Oil for Food program is certainly enriching Saddam and quite possibly the UN leader’s son. You remind yourself that the only people hurt by sanctions in a dictatorship are the bottom feeders. What other leverage to you apply?

Have you seen enough yet or do you need more? What do you do with the position you've been given to see to it that a small number of evil-minded people aren't allowed to wreak havoc upon the rest of us?

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