Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Judging the Case for War

Via DPF /

The Chicago Tribune has spent six weeks analyzing the nine reasons Bush gave for the war in Iraq

So the least I can do is do my 10 minute corrections!

Biological and chemical weapons

The administration used for information here to build a case for something that they seem to have already decided was the case. HOWEVER Sadam intentionally gave the impression he had weapons of this nature to the point of actually saying he had them. He then of course said that he did not but at an instant in time when he said he had them it would have been hard to argue against it.

Iraq rebuffs the world

Iraq was able to use the UN's impotence and a bit of money to neutralize any threat to his rule. And as the left was happy to tell everyone this status quo" was costing many lives.

The quest for nukes

The US intelligence community was mistaken (not in that he did not want nukes but that he was anywhere near getting them) - but their problem is this is how intelligence is regarding nuclear proliferation. Countries like Israel or India or Pakistani have the weapons almost before you notice and long before you can prove it. Preventing proliferation is a very difficult task - one doomed to a sort of failure.

Hussein's rope-a-dope
(Had Hussein not been deposed, would he have reconstituted deadly weaponry or shared it with terror groups?)

The answer to this depends on our assumptions - if you mean "if he was not bothered at all by the west what would he have done - the answer is obviously gas Kurds and Iranians. Because that is what he did do when he thought there were no repercussions.

If you mean what would he have done if the sanctions had continued or even if the US had declared "punishment enough - he might well not have done anything

1) For pragmatic reasons
2) To make the US look as bad as possible

I.e. both rely in part on the fact that the US MIGHT do what bush did.

there is a second question regarding whether even if that happened whether it would be hugely dangerous for example sadam hated the US BECAUSE it stood up to him and despite this he had no real ability to strike at the US and no ability to defend himself from retaliation.

Waging war on terror

They may have helped Israel fight hamas but probably achieved very little except to create a temporary lightning rod for terrorists in Iraq.

Reform in the Middle East

They probably are advancing democracy in Iraq but at a HUGE cost - one must wonder if their resources and credibility could not have been aimed more profitably at pushing for democracy in peripheral states pushing towards the centre - the same sorts of strategies that have worked for decades.

Iraq and Al Qaeda

No compelling evidence ties Iraq to AlQuaeda any more than any other similar country.

The Butcher of Baghdad

The White House assessments were accurate. Few if any war opponents have challenged this argument, or suggested that an unmolested Hussein would have eased his repression.

Iraqis liberated

As above - Iraq is becoming democratic - an unstable democracy but one that can indeed become long lasting. The counter argument of course is "democracy is not really very important (compared with disorder and lower life expectancy etc)


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