Reports that U.S. troop morale is fading, coupled with Defense Secretary Dick Cheney's claim that Saddam Hussein may lash out against Western military forces, are ominous portents of war in the gulf. Consider the context: rising oil prices, Iraq's tenacity during the war with Iran, grudging acknowledgment of the hypocritical, self-serving nature of Western claims and actions against Hussein, and mounting concern over the expense of merely maintaining our forces, let alone engaging in war. These factors are combining to force President Bush to resolve the conflict within a few weeks, or face the prospect of growing domestic disillusionment and criticism.
The media tell us that the military buildup is approaching the level necessary to launch an offensive against Iraqi forces; a high-ranking defense chief is sacked, not for what he said, but because he said it, and historians with highly selective memories announce that a Iraqi withdrawal from Kuwait is an insufficient U.S. policy goal--the proper one being the destruction of the Iraqi military.
I can't help but believe that we are being conditioned for a U.S.-staged "Iraq Incident," an incident that will then be used to justify a massive U.S. response.
The great tragedy is that so much is at stake. Human lives, cheap oil, Kuwaiti sovereignty--these are important, but what seems to be overlooked is the effect this crisis' outcome will have on the nature of the future world order. It is imperative that American policy-makers as well as citizens, realize that the manner in which the present gulf crisis is resolved will decide what preparations Third World nations make for the next international dispute.
DAVID J. TRICKETTCorona del Mar