Iraq problem is a difficult one for me. I don't look forward
to war. But I don't hear much from war opponents about effective
policy. All they are saying is... "give peace a chance." But,
hey, that's not policy. What do we do with Saddam?
Left alone, what will emerge in Iraq in the next 10-15 years? Giving
the inspectors more time is not effective. Note that the only reason
the inspectors are there is because of America’s threat of war.
The UN inspectors swarmed over Iraq for four years in the early
90’s while Iraq continued a nuclear development program under their
noses. The French and others at the UN handicapped the inspectors
so they could not effectively respond to Iraq's refusal to cooperate.
Finally, Iraqi opposition forced the inspectors out in 1998. Inspectors
are effective to verify a cooperative regime's program of disarmament,
as in South Africa. It is not a disarmament program itself.
is very dangerous. I do not see that as an argument against Iraqi
war. Cast your vision ten years hence. Saddam now has a nuclear
weapon. Now what? What would we do if Iraq moves back into Kuwait?
I would be comforted to hear the UN say "no more North Koreas.”
the U.S. acting "unilaterally"? The U.S. has worked
within the multilateral framework since 1991. Most recently,
the U.S. has been conducting the "full court press" to
obtain allies. The U.S. is making a good effort to establish
a multilateral coalition to pressure Saddam out, or go to war.
Failing in its efforts to acquire international consensus is
not the same as ignoring the rest of the world. Surely we cannot
delegate important foreign policy decisions to the UN in total.
Foreign policy by international consensus will not always be
WWII analogies don't always work. But, I think it’s interesting
to look back. I have always been a little surprised when I remind
myself that the U.S. did not join the war until December 1941.
That was almost two and a half years after Hitler's invasion
of Poland. What could we have been thinking?
hard to go to war. It's a big deal. But is it sometimes necessary?
Can an early war save heartache later?
of the Democrats in the U.S. Senate opposed the Gulf War in 1991.
They wanted to give diplomacy and sanctions more time. Where
would that policy have led? The fact is that the Gulf War was
a just one but was ended 72 hours early. Then Saddam failed to
fulfill the terms of that armistice. The current crisis flows
directly from that failure.
we ignore the problem it will not go away. So, what are we to
to War Will Slow Progress
on Other Priorities"
not prepared to support the U.S. going to war with every fascist.
I am convinced that we have far greater priorities, such as,
1) Fighting terrorism; 2) Working for peace in the Middle East;
3) Dealing with North Korea (which looks to me to be a far greater
threat to our interests); and 4) Rekindling the U.S. economy.
Going to war in Iraq will hurt our progress on all of these priorities.
And, I am especially troubled by the rank cowboys who don't seem
to care what the rest of the world thinks, and seem prepared
to proceed to war without backing by the UN.
Keeping a Distance from
My Leftie Friends"
feel ambiguous about the "peace" movement and the war.
I went on the peace rally here in NYC on the 15th and found myself
getting in arguments with people and wondering just how much
in common I share with these so-called “lefties.”
supported the war in Afghanistan even thought I would've liked
to see the U.S. spend more money and energy rebuilding the country.
Getting rid of the Taliban seemed a worthy cause but most of
my fellow protestors were against it; I thought the fall of Milosevic
and the protection of Kosovo (again even though more careful
regulation of Kosovo ethnic rivalries would be recommended) was
also justified but they were likewise against such American “imperialism.”
the rally I searched in vain for a speaker to condemn Saddam’s
regime or to at least advance an argument about how we should
get rid of the guy (not because of WMD but because he's a monster
who's killed millions of his own people). But most of the speeches
were pitiful (and having Al Sharpton, the shakedown artist par
excellence, as one of the speakers didn’t help matters).
number of the people I walked with had a naiveté ("What
did Saddam ever do to us?", which is hardly an internationalist
position for the left to take and surely would not have been
a very effective position to take against Hitler) that bordered
on the ridiculous.
there was international coalition committed to fight the war
but more importantly committed to building the democratic peace
afterwards (and all that this entails), then I might be persuaded.
Since that’s not the case, I'm against the war because I do think
it will make things worse. But I am keeping a wary distance from
some of my leftie colleagues these days.
Has to Go"
believe we are already in WWIII and are already at war with Iraq.
So from this perspective the "No War" crowd seems to
me irrelevant, missing the point. My mouth hangs agape when I
see the celebs and others trying to make their case, which to
me is no case whatsoever because I see no logic or rigor or contemporary
awareness in it.
very much respect some no-war arguments, such as those being
made by military people like General Anthony Zinni, and military
analysts like John Mearshimer. They argue that Saddam poses no
immediate threat so a stepped-up policy of containment is the
better course, plus more thinking about our commitment to a postwar
Iraq. It's hard to argue with this position.
here is Mearshimer's.
I respect hardcore pacifists who are willing to face the true
consequences of their beliefs.
the anti-war crowd itself has produced no argument or person
of credibility to me. In a perfect world, an international military
force would coalesce to disarm Saddam before he gets the bomb
and other WMD's. As it is, President Bush, although I doubt his
commitment to a satisfactory follow-through, is taking this job
upon himself and the U.S.
which is the better way to expend our energy as individual citizens?
Is it 1) To try to persuade the administration to be more diplomatic
and to work harder on international coalition before killing
or ousting Saddam; or 2) To try to persuade the administration
and our fellow citizens to make the inevitable war as short,
as humane, and with as much solid commitment to a democratic
postwar Iraq as possible?
I have chosen option #2. That's the position I took with A
Global Citizen Thinks About War which
I sent around earlier. If it I thought there was a chance that
#1 would work, I'd do that. But I don't think there's a chance
is, sadly, an amateur at diplomacy who can't seem to open his
mouth without disrespecting the rest of the world. In this way
he is constantly turning the world against us. He's well-meaning
in a certain kind of adolescent or school boyish way, and I suppose
in this sense he's capable of being redeemed or seasoned or his
mind changed about the need for collaboration and outreach to
the global community. But realistically, this just isn’t going
to happen. He's is in power and he's going to war. That's the
reality of it, to me.
our best hope, because it is the most realistic, is not to try
to dissuade Bush from this aggression but rather to modify and
direct it as much as possible towards humane and democratic ends.
Because I do believe, fundamentally, Saddam has to go.