Where’s Silicon Valley on Iraq?

Silicon Valley is a deeply liberal-Democratic, without a single Republican or moderate Democrat in elected office. It’s been described as Ground Zero for America’s feminist political movement, and it shows all the symptoms of Progressive politics in falling-down schools, a dysfunctional traffic infrastructure, SUVs festooned with “Save the Whales” bumper stickers, maniac gun control, and schoolteacher politicians like Mike Honda who say Thomas Jefferson wrote the Constitution.

The local newspaper, the San Jose Mercury News, has relentlessly pounded the drums of appeasement on both its editorial and news pages, but I don’t sense that the spirit of mindless acceptance of Saddam Hussein’s brutal regime is at all strong here. For one thing, the Valley is home to several major defense contractors, such as Lockheed, whose latest contribution to the defense arsenal is a bomb that can loiter over a target area looking for prime targets before attacking:

The Small Diameter Bomb range is classified but expected to be extended by pop-out wings and the speed and altitude of the aircraft using it. A Phase 3 version may have the ability to loiter or autonomously seek out targets. The Small Diameter Bomb is considered one of the most significant programs on the books because it will dramatically increase the strike capability of every combat aircraft in the inventory.

During the Gulf War, I worked with a couple of Lockheed alumni who watched the CNN coverage we had going on an in-house TV set with propietary interest, eager to know if the systems they’d worked on were going to work in real-world circumstances, and jubilant when they did.

One measure of sentiment on Iraq is the letters column of the Mercury News, where today’s selection has three letters in favor of regime change to two in favor of appeasement. One of the good ones was mine:

YOUR statement (Opinion, Feb. 6) that “clear and imminent danger” has always been the precondition to U.S. military action does violence to the historical record. Our military attacked Bosnia, Grenada, Panama, the Dominican Republic, Vietnam, Korea, Germany under Hitler, Germany under the Kaiser, Cuba under Spain, the Confederacy, and King George’s England without a first strike by the other side.

While we can argue the wisdom of these wars on their various merits, the fact that we struck the first blow isn’t disputable. The time has come to retire the rhetoric of pre-emption to the same trash can where the empty rhetoric of unilateralism was sent by the letters of support from 20 European democracies in the past week.

The U.N. Security Council gave Saddam Hussein two options in Resolution 1441: Disarm voluntarily by cooperating with the inspectors, or face disarmament by force. Secretary of State Colin Powell’s presentation showed, in Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s words, that “the inspections are not going to work.” Only one course of action remains.

Richard Bennett
Santa Clara

Even liberals and progressives can be sensible, so as time goes by I predict that Silicon Valley will come to support regime change in Iraq, if it doesn’t already.