October 7, 2002
"Your nation is planning to attack a small country called Iraq," my
Martian friend Yyuran said to me the other day.
"Yes," I said.
Yyuran frequently needs help understanding humans.
"Because it is a threat to us."
"Has it attacked you?"
"Not directly, no. It's just a pipsqueak of a country. Hell, we destroyed most of it ten years ago. We nearly wiped the place out."
"And you've been bombing it ever since."
"Sure, whenever they violate the No-Fly zones."
"The No-Fly zones are inside Iraq?"
"Of course," I said. I didn't know where he was going with this. But I'm a patient guy.
"So, you have been bombing Iraq for ten years for flying its own planes inside its own country?"
The way he said it made it sound a little ridiculous. He's always slanting things that way. I guess it's his way of understanding us better.
"Right," I said. "The No-Fly zones protect the Kurds, or some group like that. I forget. It was a long time ago."
"Unh huh," he said, using a phrase I sometime use. I guess I'm pretty much a mentor for him about everything human, even our language. "How often do your planes get shot down over Iraq?"
"Never," I said proudly. "Oh, we may have lost an unpiloted drone, but our pilots never get hurt."
"If you nearly destroyed the country ten years ago and have been bombing it ever since without losing a plane, then it doesn't sound like much of a threat."
"Saddam Hussein is building weapons of mass destruction," I said. "And that is certainly a threat."
"If he can not even protect his own skies, it does not seem likely that Saddam can hurt you."
"Maybe he'll give his weapons of mass destruction to some terrorists," I said. "He's probably even got nuclear weapon, President Bush says."
"Has he shown you proof of that?"
"Well, no. I think the evidence is classified or something."
"But I trust him. Our president wouldn't lie to us."
"Your president was in a lot of trouble before this terrorism business."
"A little bit," I admitted.
"He lost the popular vote..."
"The leaders of your corporations have been caught doing ugly and illegal things."
"Both the president and the vice president have been accused of dubious, maybe illegal, activities in corporations they were personally involved in."
"Unemployment is up," he said, rudely talking right over me. He doesn't yet understand the nuances of human conversation. "Millions of jobs have been eliminated, the budget surplus is now a deficit, the stock market is plummeting, more people are without health insurance, the government is spying on everybody, the Bill of Rights is in trouble, people are being held without being charges and kept from lawyers..."
"All that is beside the point," I said, interrupting him for once. "The point is, we have to get rid of Saddam Hussein before we can worry about these other things."
"Did not Saddam agree to UN inspections to see if Iraq really had any weapons of mass destruction?"
"Well, yeah. But that's just a ploy. He doesn't really mean it. Besides, President Bush can't wait around until the inspectors get in and start looking. That could take weeks."
"How long would a war take?"
"Probably just a few days, maybe a few weeks. We'll go in there, blow up Saddam, and then let the people of Iraq democratically elect a new leader."
"How many other people besides Saddam will you blow up?"
"Unfortunately, there will be some collateral damage...." He started to say something, but I cut him off. I know his hot buttons. "OK, OK. Some innocent Iraqi civilians will be killed. But they'll thank us in the end."
"Does "some" mean thousands?"
"A hundred thousand? Men, women and children?"
"Maybe. Look, people die in wars."
"So maybe you shouldn't have them."
"This one is inevitable," I said firmly. "Even Congress agrees. Even the Democrats agree."
"The Congress is going to declare war?"
"No. They're passing resolutions that says it is OK for Bush to go to war whenever he wants."
"I thought your Constitution says only Congress can declare war?"
"Sometimes the Constitution gets in the way of doing the right thing."
"You have to destroy the Constitution to save it?"
"You're just trying to get my goat," I said. I was hoping he would get distracted by peculiar term as he sometimes did and ask about goats. No such luck.
"You are going to attack Iraq against the wishes of the UN and in violation of your Constitution, kill thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians, and you think they are going to thank you for that?"
"Maybe not right away," I admitted.
"Iraq has a lot of oil," he said.
"Yes. A fair amount," I said.
"Who is going to control the oil once you murder Saddam?"
"It's not murder," I said, getting annoyed. "It's war."
"Who gets the oil?" he asked again.
"The Iraqis, of course. The new government."
"Which will owe its existence to you and your war and will be willing to give the oil to you." If he were human, I'd think he was being sarcastic.
"They'll sell it to our oil companies, at a good price," I said. "That's business."
"Sounds a lot like war," he said.
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Related Internal Links: The Yyuran Series
Untangling The Mideast For A Martian (July 2002)
The Wrong Stuff (May 2002)
We Are A Peaceful People (March 2002)
A Famous Victory (January 2002)
Explaining Nukes to a Martian (February 2001)
Iraq on Swans
Deck Deckert has spent nearly two decades as copy editor, wire editor and news editor at several metropolitan newspapers, including the Miami Herald and Miami News, before becoming a freelance writer. His articles and stories on everything from alligator farming to UFOs have appeared in numerous U.S. publications. He has written two young adult novels under a pen name, and co-authored a novel about the NATO war on Yugoslavia, Letters from the Fire, with Alma Hromic.
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