What we should do about Iraq
proposed war on Iraq, I’ve posted various comments by writers pro and con, and have made comments on them, without laying out my own position. Readers have accordingly asked me what my own position is. I haven’t wanted to express myself definitively for two reasons. First, I don’t have any original thoughts on the subject and am basically responding to what I see as the logic or illogic of what people whom I see as more knowledgeable than myself are saying. Second, and more importantly, how can one state a position on a prospective military action when one doesn’t even know what that action is going to consist of?
By contrast, in the period leading up to the Gulf War in 1990-91, we had a good idea of what the then President Bush had in mind: driving Iraq out of Kuwait and (one hoped and assumed) eliminating Iraq’s ability to attack its neighbors in the future. There were also clear limits to the action as determined by Bush’s agreements with his coalition partners, i.e., he had made it clear he was not going to conquer Iraq outright once he had driven its forces from Kuwait, a commitment which (unfortunately, many people now agree) he scrupulously kept. All these factors made it possible to have a relatively intelligent discussion about Desert Storm before it began. But there is no way of knowing exactly what the current President Bush has in mind, so we are reduced to discussing the war in general terms.
The core argument for me is the one the war proponents have made all along: if Hussein acquires weapons of mass destruction, they will very likely be used against us. He kicked out the arms inspectors four years ago. His agreement to give those arms inspectors free access to his arms facilities was one of the conditions of the end of hostilities in 1991. There is therefore no way to prevent him from acquiring weapons of mass destruction and delivery systems for them other than through the physical occupation of Iraq and the removal of his regime from power.
But there are many imponderables that have not been discussed, and that is why I remain unsure about this whole thing. If Hussein has WMD now and delivery capability, will an attack on him trigger a WMD attack on us or on Israel? What will we do to Iraq after we conquer it? What is the overall policy here? A Near Eastern Pax Americana? One cannot but be nervous when the prospective war is advocated in terms of “imposing our values and principles” on the entire world. I also have a general distrust of President Bush and his judgment, which has increased greatly since this past spring. I continue to feel he is betraying us by maintaining his openness to the mass immigration of Muslims and preventing the “racial profiling” of Muslims even as he wages a war on generic “terror” abroad. And I find the way he has conducted this thing to be incredibly bizarre, with his repeated bellicose threats made against Iraq many months before the war could be even be fought, a period that has given Hussein the time to prepare.
Then there is the question of legality. It’s true that presidents have launched many military actions against foreign powers during our history without a formal declaration of war. However, in almost all those cases the action was not intended to bring down a foreign government. Here we are aiming at something like unconditional victory over the present government of Iraq. If a formal declaration of war is not required in this case, then when could it ever be required?
In conclusion, if President Bush starts a war on Iraq tomorrow, even with so many things unknown, I will support it because of the vital importance of destroying Iraq’s ability to target us with weapons of mass destruction. But I will have a lot of misgivings, especially concerning the lack of both a proper statement of war aims and of a formal declaration of war.
Posted by Lawrence Auster at August 26, 2002 04:29 PM | Send
This war would be a disaster if commenced today or even in a few months. We’ve goofed around, equivocated and generally worsened the entire situation. Our President, a genuinely likeable fellow with I believe a good heart, is indecisive and inarticulate in getting his reasoning across to the American people as to why we need to do this.
Iraq is not a threat to its neighbors, as Pat Buchanan and Joe Sobran are wont to say. However, that is irrelevant, a straw man, a red herring, whatever. The administartion needs to forgo justifying military action on the grounds that the region’s inhabitants are in danger; I don’t think that passes the laugh test, and besides, wouldn’t we conceivably want these Moslem imbeciles fighting themselves? Wouldn’t it be great for Hussien to attack Saudi Arabia?
We could then simply take our oild demand to the Russians who are in need of cash and have massive quantitites of oil for sale.
Really, though, I think the administartion needs to make the case for the threat Saddam poses to us and our lone regional ally, Israel. Hussein is driven, I believe more by a pan-Arab impetus than a Muslim drive; he sees himself as another Nasser, the only man able to stand up to the West. I certainly think that if we let him purchase delivery systems, he will use them against American fighting men in the region and he will attack ISrael. Four years without weapons inspectors had allowed the man to purchase and develop everything he needs, including fibver optics from the Chinese to integreate his command and control systems, missile technology from the Russians and Chinese and generally rebuild his conventional abilities.
I think we can safely presume he wants to use these things against us and Israel.
Lastly, I think the real reason we remain fervently committed to attacking Iraq is the part these bastards played in the Murrah Federal Building bombing in Oklahoma City. This is the ace the administratio holds. Few people know that Zacharias Moussoui was with Tim McViegh in the days leading up to April 19; so were several former Iraqi soldiers.
Read this link and decide for yourself:
Mr. Brewer’s main point seems to be that the Administration must say that the war is necessary because Hussein represents a threat to us. I think that has been their principal argument all along.
But LAwrence, you must admit that the administration, while claiming the Iraqi regime poses a threat to us, has been reluctant or otherwise remiss in giving the critics evidence of Hussein’s diabolical schemes.
My point is that I think the administration knows the of the Iraqi link or even impetus behind the OKC bombing. THis might be the main reason we are going after them, because technically, as of now, everything the administration is using as ‘evidence’ is presumptuous specualtion of what Hussein might do if he has weapons. Or if he has weapons already he will use them against us.
Technically, this is conjecture and assuming quite a bit. I buy these arguments from Bush, Lawrence, don’t get me wrong, but the critics have not and will not be silenced until the administration gives the public something credible and demonstrable. I believe they have that information, and if they would only present at least a modicum of this they might not stand in such disarray as the media portray them.