August 27, 2004
This is a re-posting in one spot of some of my reasons to attack Iraq, so I can point it out to someone who says, "One thing that's especially unsettling to me is how few people who supported the war in Iraq have been able to give me solid reasons as to why it made sense" [comment, here] (Of course Warbloggers have been explaining exactly that for several years now. But there's always somebody who doesn't get the memo. Also, the redoutable Dean Esmay long ago posted Seven Reasons, which formed the origins of this list. And Wretchard blogged reason #1.)
Some of the items on my list of reasons for the Iraq Campaign , as part of our War on Terror:
1. Avoid fizzle-out. The big danger of a war against shadowy groups is that they can destroy our resolve to fight by pretending to negotiate or change their ways. By attacking the very heartland of the Arab world, we avoid the cycle of truces and negotiations that have crippled Israel's war on its terrorists. The jihadis MUST fight for Iraq, they can't just lie low for a few years and then strike again. The stakes are now too high.
2. We couldn't make progress in changing the ways of the terror-supporting nations, until we took out ONE of them. Iraq was a good choice because we already had a good legal case, with both binding UN Resolutions, plus Iraq's failure to comply with peace-terms from the Gulf War. And also because Saddam was the most considerable of the terror-supporting dictators, so his fall would have the biggest effect on the others.
3. Until the culture of despotism and backwardness of the Arab world is changed, new terrorist groups will continue to arise. Iraq is the best choice for starting the process of change, with a well-educated population that has suffered terribly from tyranny. Already what's happening in Iraq is changing the dialog in the region.
4. The most important instance of the above is Iran (which is the worst of the terror-supporting countries). Hundreds of thousands of Iranians have already moved to Iraq looking for jobs or business opportunities. Iraq may look horrible to the NYT, but to Iranians it is already a little paradise of freedom. And the Mullahs can't close off that border--all their Holy Cities are in Iraq.
5. The humanitarian reasons are compelling. Tens-of-thousands of people were being tortured and murdered in Iraq each year. The UN sanctions regime left children dying without food and medicine, while Saddam built palaces and funded terror groups and corrupted Western governments with kickbacks. And we were INVOLVED in that sanctions perversion--we have a responsibility to end it.
6. Similarly, we bear responsibility for encouraging the Shi'ite revolt against Saddam after the Gulf War. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis were slaughtered because of our moves. We should have moved against Saddam years ago for that reason alone.
7. This is a WAR! WMD's: While it's true we haven't found stockpiles, we've found weapons programs that could have quickly rebuilt stockpiles, which Saddam clearly wanted and had before. And more importantly, this is a war. Not a case at law. The mere appearance of plans to attack us or our allies is justification for an attack. In a war, it is our responsibility to attack any enemy nation if feasable. It is those who oppose war-like attacks during war time who bear the responsibility of providing reasons why we should not.
7. This is a WAR! pt II. We have partly created the terrorists, by consistent weakness and vacillation over several decades. We have taught the terrorists to attack us! Withdrawing from Lebanon taught Hezbollah that suicide bombs work. Failure to respond in the Iran hostage crises taught a generation of terrorists that we are weak and vulnerable. Withdrawal from Somalia taught them the tactics now used in Iraq. We have waited so long to respond, that only a long bloody struggle will teach them a new lesson.
Iraq was the correct move because it is a bloody quagmire (though I don't think that term is really correct.) It is only by being resolute in the face of casualties and setbacks that we can overcome the education we have given terrorists by our past weakness. Failure to do so now will mean a much bigger butcher's-bill will be presented sometime in the future.
8. Diplomacy. Obviously it is best to solve problems peacefully by diplomacy and negotiations. But our diplomacy has been crippled by lack of a credible threat of violence as an alternative. This dates from our catastrophic withdrawal from Vietnam, and is exacerbated by the decline of most other Western powers into military impotence. Diplomacy works as the "good cop" alternative to a military "bad cop." Our failure in this has been so great that it could only be redeemed by some seriously crazy violence. Iraq--perfect! Now Colin Powell's "good cop" is contrasted with a really scary "bad cop" named Donald Rumsfeld. Expect big diplomatic payoffs...With Libya as a starter.
9. Successes. Proof's in the pudding. If Iraq was a bad move, we could expect it to turn out badly. That's exactly the picture the Old Media is trying to paint, by reporting only bad news. But nowadays we also have the New Media, to counteract those America-hating liars. Including bloggers, who pass along news of our successes like samizdata in the old Soviet Union. Especially, Chrenkoff has done splendid work in a long series of posts collecting good news from Iraq. (Look on his right sidebar under "The Best of Chrenkoff.)
10. Consensus of elected leaders. President Bush requested approval for the invasion of Iraq from Congress. The Senate debated the question and voted overwhelmingly in favor. Our nation made this decision. We made the decision. That's a powerful reason in favor. For various people (including some of the Senators who voted yes) to now sit on the sidelines and whine, "I don't know anything about this and nobody told me anything and it has nothing to do with me" is despicable.
Posted by John Weidner at August 27, 2004 8:09 AM