Wilson, please run for office (Congress, of course). Really.
A lot to think about. The popular anti-war campaign never seemed to totally make sense to me; neither did the pro-war campaign. Your thoughts on the matter seem to fit some missing pieces together. Thanks for sharing.
Yes, lots to think about
I don't want to get into a debate (because you're too tenacious - frankly, it's not much fun) - but I did want to say two things:
1. You make a lot of good points
2. That being said, I'm not a big fan of your comparing Israel to Iraq. I'm not a fan of Israeli violence either, but they are surrounded by nations that have pledged to wipe them out. It's easy from the comfortable chair you sit in to assume they have more choices than they really do.
Talk about putting the pieces together. That's a great post. I kept asking why not invade China since it commits many human rights violations and has WMD. The only answers I got were along the lines that China was bigger. So we pick on the small people...lol. I can see a reason to invade Iraq if either we could directly link them to an attack on our country or had credible evidence that they were planning an attack, but I fail to see either of those. I do believe Iraq is probably better off than it was, but I'm not sure that the war is justified because of that. Excellent post.
Bill — it's not about Israeli credibility, it's about the credibility of the UN Security Council.
very sensible indeed. i certainly would recommend that the higher-ups in governement read this or thoughts like yours. the only thing i have o consider is what we may not have known and what is perhaps currently being done under cover of ignorance. then again, it does seem that much action that has been taken was also done in ignorance disguised as intelligence...
Not sure I follow you, Elf - you compared Israel to Iraq. But never mind - speaking of the UNSC - to me the most compelling argument for invading Iraq (and one I'm not sure you talked about in your article) are the 12 years of defied UN resolutions. The UN consistently threatened retribution to Saddam Hussein and yet would never follow through. That was exactly Bush's point in the fall of 2003 when he urged the UN to not make itself irrelevant by inaction.
The straw-men about China and other "bad countries" in the comments thread miss this point (on purpose, I believe) - 17 broken UNSC resolutions. We didn't invade Iraq in a vacuum. One way to look at it is that we were just resuming hostilities because of Iraq's failure to comply with the cease fire agreement.
Hindsight is so clear :-) - most everyone, including GWBs current political enemies and, for that matter, you believed that Saddam had WMDs. President Clinton pushed through a resolution in congress calling for regime change in Iraq back in 1998. I do respect that fact that you've been consistently against the war even when you believed the WMDs would be found.
All that being said - again, I reiterate that you make good points. I have no interest in getting into a winner-take-all debate (which seems like the only kind of debate you and I ever get into :-) - I'd just as soon say "you're right" than do that. I just couldn't let the Israel thing slide, although maybe I should have.
History will judge this action. I hope and pray Iraq ends up free and much better off than it was. I also believe, though I don't like it, that the near-term history will render a bad judgement on GWB and that he will be removed from office this November.
I think you may be looking at my statement about Israel backwards, in a way. The situation in Israel is not itself an argument against invading Iraq. It is, rather, my attempt to deal with the point you proceeded to raise: "17 broken UNSC resolutions" on the part of Iraq. Suppose I told you that I know of a nation that seems, as of February 2003, to be in defiance of 32 resolutions (13 of them since 1990). I would be referring, of course, to the state of Israel. From a conservative standpoint, it may not be wise to lean very heavily on UNSC resolutions as a legal casus belli. I'm just wondering how long it will be before some Palestinian group issues a formal statement claiming to be enforcing UNSC resolutions against Israel.
I wonder, what other countries have ignored UNSC resolutions. I don't know. But, I tend to think that the UN is mostly talk and that a security counsel resolution is nothing more than an idle threat. I'm afraid if we take it upon ourselves to form the world as we see fit, we may eventually have a foreign army intervening in our nation. Not now, of course, but if things were to go south, maybe someday. What if Britain had invaded the U.S. during the civil war and effected a regime change? It seems silly, but not very much unlike some of our police actions. I don't disagree completely with the Iraq invasion, not yet at least, but there needs to be more accountability.
Well written. No one likes war, even Republicans, and even Bush. My stance from the beginning was well, "GWB decided to invade, nothing I can do about it, I will support my President rather than be a rebel W/O a cause and try to de-rail Bush while he is trying finish what he started." I am not saying that you (Wilson) were doing so, but that is to show how annoyed I was with those who were; mainly News Networks and a few Politicians (I wont name them herebecause that is irrelevant).
Excellent post. I would point out, though, that what counts as a violation of a Security Council resolution, & how serious it is, is harder to pin down than it seems. Most strongly worded resolutions against Israel get vetoed; those that pass usually say things like, "The Security Council urges Israel to stop doing such-and-such." The Iraq resolutions, however, were usually strongly worded; the Security Council "demands" and "decides". Does/Should this make a difference? I don't know. Security Council resolutions are like case law, except that precedent is irrelevant; which means they can be interpreted however the nations on the Council want to interpret them in any particular case.
It's also worth pointing out that there seems to have initially been considerable conservative opposition to, or at least caution about, the war; it's possible that the shift had a lot to do with the failings and mistakes of the opposition movement (of which there were many) prior to the war. If the peace movement has little persuasive power, people will be persuaded elsewhere.
Elf - I'm aware of the UNSC resolutions against Israel and think Brandon stated well my thoughts on that.
I maintain that Israel has a much larger self-preservation motive in its actions than Iraq had in, say, invading Kuwait. That being said, I am not an unequivocal Israel supporter. I just don't like moral equivalence. Iraq was a brutal dictatorship. Israel is a democracy.
Brandon - also well-said about the opposition. Part of what's made it hard to be against our actions in Iraq is the people that I'd have to throw my lot in with.
Ran across this today. You're too smart for me to debate. Interested in your opinion.
The story concerns a report that "hundreds" of al Qaeda agents fled into Iraq (and Iran) from Afghanistan.
I will leave aside the fact that we are sure that al Qaeda agents fled into Pakistan, which is still considered an ally in the war on terror. I will focus instead on the source, having cleverly thrown in that bit of cognitive dissonance.
The report comes from "US Special Forces" via an anonymous Navy SEAL, via a citizen who is essentially a private detective. Against this, we have the body of information provided by multiple agencies of the United States government before, during, and after the war. Of course, one must wonder, as our source does, why such a fact would have been witheld from the public when the case for war was being made. (If I were to believe half of the rumors floating around about Iraq, I would have to believe that the Bush administration had been conspiring to protect Saddam rather than overthrow him.)
I have always taken pride in basing my opinions on the intelligence provided by (once-)reputable government sources. I find it ironic that supporters of the war often tell me to have faith in the good judgment and honesty of our leadership, while spreading intelligence rumors that would imply that our leadership are either deceitful or blind.
In short, I discount that sort of intelligence.
Realizing that this discussion closed over two months ago, and having carefully read over all the previous comments, I would like to make a few points that I didn't find above.
--War may have cost the U.S. as much as a direct attack by Saddam Hussein, but that does not take into account the additional cost of a post-attack war.
--"Somebody knows where they [WMD] are", if they exist - that somebody is most likely one or a few key persons, not common "insurgents", and these persons may be dead or imprisoned, potentially erasing any possibility of finding these WMD except by accident.
--I understand your comparison between abortion and genocide, but remember that, horrific as abortion is, it does not directly relate to religious terrorism and its ensuing dangers, as genocide does.
--Of course "due process matters". But did the Islamic terrorists follow due process when they crashed planes into the WTC towers? Sometimes it's necessary to choose the lesser evil, especially in a less-than-ideal world. Especially as the U.S. president, who must deal daily with role conflicts, such as upholding due process of law vs. national security - which, ironically, were both reasons for invading Iraq.
--Remember as well that even "people with something to lose" will not always listen.
--President Bush would probably affirm that we did not invade Iraq primarily for humanitarian reasons, rather for upholding U.N. resolutions and U.S. security interests.
--While I agree in some part that other nations may have posed a greater threat in certain areas, consider the combined threat. For example, Iran may have sponsered terrorism, it may be close to producing WMDs, and it may be governed by a radical religious council, but has Iran seen thousands killed in genocide? Saddam Hussein was never afraid to murder, either his own people or others. That complete power for carrying out whims is one danger behind dictatorship.
Whether anyone reads this or not, thank you for an opportunity to think and discuss. Your post was stimulating reading.
I appreciate your response. Here are some brief answers.
War may have cost the U.S. as much as a direct attack by Saddam Hussein, but that does not take into account the additional cost of a post-attack war.
True enough. If we assume that a WMD war was inevitable, then we may consider the current losses in Iraq low. For reasons discussed elsewhere, I do not believe such a war was inevitable -- in fact, I believe it was unlikely.
[Those who know the location of the WMD] may be dead or imprisoned, potentially erasing any possibility of finding these WMD except by accident.
Or the weapons may be, as many conservatives keep guessing, in Syria (a regime known to sponsor terrorism against our interests). Alternatively, they could be in the hands of the leadership of the Baathist insurgency, who could hand them over to insurgents of unrelated ideology once it becomes clear that the Baath regime will not be reborn. Or they could be on the black market, like other Iraqi materiel. In any case, we do not know where these WMD are and we are not sure whom to hold responsible for their use.
. . .horrific as abortion is, it does not directly relate to religious terrorism and its ensuing dangers, as genocide does.
Genocide does not necessarily relate to religious terrorism either. It did not in Saddam's case. Most Kurds in Iraq are Sunni Muslim (in fact, there are more Sunni Kurds than Sunni Arabs in Iraq).* Did you have some other genocide in mind?
. . .even "people with something to lose" will not always listen.
But they usually will. I have already compared Saddam's strength with our own, and pointed out that deterrence had been working for more than a decade. You have reduced an attack by Iraq to the realm of the possible.
But did the Islamic terrorists follow due process when they crashed planes into the WTC towers?
A common argument, but not a sound one. First, the logic could be used to support the deliberate destruction of skyscrapers full of noncombatants in Iraq; the terrorists did that too. Second, Saddam had nothing demonstrable to do with 9/11; we cannot retaliate against him for something done by somebody else. Third, due process always implies that the enforcers of justice should behave better than the criminals; "did the murderer follow due process when he shot my aunt?" would not sway any court's interpretation of the Fourth Amendment.
. . .other nations may have posed a greater threat in certain areas, consider the combined threat. For example, Iran may have sponsered terrorism, it may be close to producing WMDs, and it may be governed by a radical religious council, but has Iran seen thousands killed in genocide? Saddam Hussein was never afraid to murder, either his own people or others. That complete power for carrying out whims is one danger behind dictatorship.
According to Freedom House, there were 39 authoritarian and 5 totalitarian regimes on the earth in 2000.* Several of them were killing thousands in ethnic cleansing, genocide, political murder, and other criminal actions. None of them engaged in nuclear, chemical, or biological war against the United States -- although some of them have WMD, including nuclear missiles.
As far as I can see, only one of these states subsequently engaged the USA in battle: Afghanistan, which had no WMD and was not known for genocide. The Taliban was very low on the "combined threat" radar, but it had three things we should have been worried about: radical religious ideology, comparative anonymity, and relatively little to lose. (Even then, the Taliban did not actually attack the United States; it merely gave shelter to an organization that did.) Saddam had none of these.