Friday, September 10, 2004

Justify It

A reader commented about justifying the war in Iraq. He/she felt if I could do so they would be convinced to vote for President Bush. I doubt the sincerity of this reader, but I thought it worth a try.

First the reader's comments:

Define how our president was right by attacking Iraq instead of Iran/Pakistan/N. Korea/Syria. Our president tells us that the threat of nuclear weapons is the greatest threat- Iraq didn't have them and we knew it. Is there nothing wrong with killing people based on mistaken information, then stating after knowing the information was wrong, that killing those people was still justified? Justify it, and you will have just convinced me to vote for Bush.
Explain "how our president was right by attacking Iraq instead of Iran/Pakistan/N. Korea/Syria." Now, I do not believe that this reader is advocating we extend the war on terror to battlefields in Iran, Pakistan, N. Korea, or Syria. But I do believe that the threats in those countries could merit a military response. My guess is that this reader would have the same beef if we had invaded Iran, Pakistan, N. Korea, or Syria, that he has with our action in Iraq. Diplomacy is most likely the reason we have not gone down the same road in these countries that we did in Iraq. Remember the 10 years of UN resolutions which went nowhere? I like to think that diplomacy may be working in these other countries that would prevent us to going to the last resort. I would think Catholics would look to those efforts as a measure of the president's efforts to avoid military action elsewhere. Then I remember that their agenda is to bash and defeat the president rather than to support efforts to protect and defend civilians in this country.

"Our president tells us that the threat of nuclear weapons is the greatest threat- Iraq didn't have them and we knew it." Nuclear weapons, all WMDs in fact, in the hands of rogue nations and terrorists, is a grave threat. Imagine what a small WMD could do if exploded in Mahattan or Washington, DC. Though Iraq may not have had nuclear weapons he did have a development program for such weapons and he had other types WMD. We did know this, as UN weapons inspectors after the first Gulf War found and destroyed many, but not all. This has all been verified by the UN. In addition, foreign intelligence agencies around the globe all believed Iraq still had WMD and some of these agencies even thought Saddam was ready to attack US targets, possibly with these weapons. As far as all of us here knowing Iraq did not have WMD, that is just false. Even Senator Kerry believed they had them. He flips now on this belief in a cheap attempt to score points with those opposed to the war. That list also includes other major Democratic players such as former President Clinton, Senator Clinton, and former SecState Albright, to name just a few. And the question that still is not answered is, if Iraq did not have WMD then why did Saddam not just open Iraq to UN weapon inspectors? What this all comes down to is the belief by Kerry Catholics and other supporters that the intelligence was exaggerated at the request of the president and his administration so as to wage a war that they and their buddies would profit from and that would be popular politically and help him get re-elected. Where is the proof for that? Innuendos, hear-say, and rumor are not enough. Where is the proof ?

"Is there nothing wrong with killing people based on mistaken information..."? Of course, just like there is something wrong with Senator Kerry acting like Gheghis Khan in Vietnam. Remember, there were many reasons given by the president for invading Iraq, not just the belief they had WMD. There was also the repression of the Iraqi people by Saddam, the defiance of UN resolutions, and ties to international terrorists. Again, war is always a defeat for humanity, but sometimes morally obligatory. The loss of life is regreatable, esp. civilians, but we live in a different world today then we did on 9/10/01. Given the actions of terrorists on 9/11 (remember when they killed 3000 civilians?), the nature of Saddam's regime in Iraq, the well-founded belief by many leaders in this country, based on many foreign intelligence services that he had or was developing WMD, would be enough to justify overthrowing Saddam.

What I think this reader is getting to is the loss of Iraqi civilians during this conflict, and his/her view that nothing justifies this death. First, the loss of life is terrible. It brings great pain to greieving families. This is what makes war such a horror. Second, I am not aware of the exact number of civilian lives loss, but compared to the civilians executed, tortured, raped, maimed, etc. before (and in the future, if Saddam was still in power), the loss of civilian life during the war must pale in comparison. Third, the US military never purposely targets civilians. Ever wonder why Saddam and his thugs placed Iraqi civilians around military targets? Or built military facilities in areas of civilian population? Because they knew we would not target them. Ever wonder why Al-Sadr's militia hole up in mosques? Because they know we would not target them. Ever wonder why we designed "smart bombs"? In part so we could more accuartely target these facilities without collateral civilian loss of life. The loss of life is not due to the actions of the president, rather it is due to regretable accidents (weapon malfunction, operator error) and the use of "human shields" by Saddam's thugs.

I am convinced that many of the same people who criticize the president's decision to go to war in Iraq, would have been just as, if not more, critical of him if terrorists with support and WMD from Iraq, would have attacked a major American city. During his impeachment hearings they would have demanded to know why he did not do something to stop Saddam. The point I am making is that this is not about the war in Iraq, rather this is about a president they despise and hate with so much passion they will make any argument to ensure his defeat in November.

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