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Saddam Sets a Trap for Bush

He is a good man, this 43rd President of the United States—a strong leader suited for these turbulent times. His noble aspirations to rid the world of terror are, however, compromised by American lust for Iraqi oil and Christian anger at Islamic rhetoric—not to mention his own personal irritation that Saddam survived an earlier attempt to remove him from power.

But Saddam is not stupid. This desert dictator has cleverly set into the landscape of poverty and oppression an evil trap for those who would play savior for his suffering and largely silent people. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office” />
Those like George W. Bush. 
He is a good man, this 43rd President of the United States—a strong leader suited for these turbulent times. His noble aspirations to rid the world of terror are, however, compromised by American lust for Iraqi oil and Christian anger at Islamic rhetoric—not to mention his own personal irritation that Saddam survived an earlier attempt to remove him from power. 
But this Bush is being enticed into a trap. 
It is a trap because Saddam understands what is happening. Buried within his bunkers and fearful of even his own people, this bully of Baghdad says just enough and shows just enough to irritate the elected leaders of the American empire. 
It is not a matter of military power: Saddam has none and Bush has it all. If the fighting starts it will not take long for Iraq’s armies to dissolve into the sand. The American generals will declare victory and confront critics with statistics showing low casualty count and “little collateral damage.” 
Except that thousands of Iraqis will be dead and dying. Houses and hospitals, stores and schools will be demolished—and the Richter scale of destruction will read a lot differently from their side of the desert.  
Destruction breeds despair; despair gives way to desperation; and desperation of the Middle Eastern variety takes on a decidedly anti-American look. 
True, there is every reason to think that the Iraqi people will rejoice at the removal of Hussein. They may even dance in the streets. 
But removing Saddam will not be easy. We would do well to remember that his counterpart in Afghanistan (Osama bin Laden) may himself be on the loose, and the radical movement he led not crushed but only pushed across borders and underground, fueled by a fresh infusion of hatred for Israel and America and (shall I say it?) Judaism and Christianity.     
On top of this there is precious little evidence that the people of Iraq will prefer a government put in place to please the American people and their president. 
All of which makes this situation a snare, sure to entangle Bush and the boys in a noose of international nastiness. 
Unless, of course, it is a game, a bold game of strategic brinkmanship. Armageddon-like armies of a million and more now gather for battle, threatening both citizens and soldiers with apocalyptic-like prospects of famine, disease and death.

Furthermore, this deadly game has created an insatiable demand for guns, tanks, planes and ships. All of this siphons from an anemic American economy financial resources that are desperately needed for schools, roads, medicine and even homeland security—to say nothing of the desperate social needs of people around the world, especially those in the Middle East. 
It is a trap.  
If the (Christian) armies of America and Europe invade the (Muslim) states of Iraq and environs, it is likely that too soon down the road all parties to this doubled-sided aggression will confess to have been bushwhacked by a double dose of folly. 
Dwight Moody is dean of the chapel at Georgetown College in Georgetown, Ky.