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2003-02-09 6:52 PM
Ten Reasons Not to Invade Iraq...
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...and why they're wrong.
Jill posted this list from her church in my comments. Here they are, with my comments:
Ten Reasons Not to Invade Iraq
1. Iraq poses no clear and present danger to other countries, especially the U.S., as there is no evidence of plans to invade another country or
use weapons of mass destruction. Iraq poses less
of a threat to the world than at any time in the last decade, according to a 2002 CIA report.
This presupposes that a "clear and present danger" is the only legitimate reason to use force, which is nonsense.
I've used the warrant analogy; I'll use it again. If police have reason to believe that someone is manufacturing illegal weapons in his home, they will get a warrant and try to serve it. The police are justified in using force if the home owner won't let them in, won't cooperate, or obstructs their attempt to fully carry out the warrant. This person isn't a "clear and present danger". But he's doing something illegal.
In this case, we've issued 17 warrants over a nearly 12-year period, and never has Iraq fully complied.
2. An unprovoked attack by one country against
another is an unnecessary and immoral act that
blatantly disrespects national sovereignty and
It is not unnecessary or immoral. Quite the contrary. If sanctioned by the international community (and if "serious consequences" aren't force, then what the hell are they?) military action is the moral thing to do, in order to insure that Iraq does not manufacture more bio/chem weapons and does not eventually acquire nuclear weaponry. To allow these things would be immoral.
3. An invasion will make it easier, not harder, for
al Qaeda to recruit terrorists, leading to an in-crease in terrorism in the U.S. and around the
This is one of the weaker arguments. Fact is, we're despised no matter what we do in the Middle East. Bill Clinton tried harder than any other U.S. President to broker substantive peace between Israel and the Palestians, and all the effort earned was bile.
We get blamed whether we support oppressive regimes or try to overturn them. In the end, we have to do what's right, and ending Hussein's regime is the right thing to do.
4. An invasion gives Hussein a reason to use his
full arsenal of weapons against attackers and
nearby countries because he would have nothing
And if we do nothing to substantively enforce the U.N. resolutions, that arsenal grows larger and deadlier every day.
Honestly though, I don't see how #4 matches up very well with #1. In one instance, they're arguing that he's incredibly weak, and here they're talking about a "full arsenal of weapons", which sounds pretty ominous. If they're talking about weapons of mass destruction, then they're acknowledging that he has them. Yes, an invasion would increase the likelihood that they would be used. But if the alternative is letting Saddam keep existing stores, while building up more, which is the saner course of action?
5. No link has been established between Iraq and
the al Qaeda terrorist network.
I agree with this one. But just because such a link has proven to be substantial, this doesn't mean that the link between Iraqi weapons of mass destruction and terrorism won't form in the future. Saddam has openly donated money to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers. It's dangerous to assume that such a relationship could not form in the future, but right now I think it's mostly trumped up.
6. An invasion could inflame a region where
international tensions are already high.
Have these people been paying attention to recent history? The Middle East has been "inflamed" for quite a while now.
7. The massive civilian casualties likely to occur
in an invasion would unite the world against the
U.S. in a globally-interrelated age in which isolation is foolish.
This one and numbers 9 and 10 make it sound as if we have no international support. We're currently supported by 18 European allies, Turkey, Jordan, Kuwait, Australia, and others. None of these countries is naive enough to think that no civilian casualties will occur. The objection above makes the assumption that there will be "massive" casualties, which can't possibly be known (though it might well be the case).
Innocent people will die, that is certain. War is horrible, ugly business. But the potential for more innocent people to die is greater if Hussein is allowed to flout the will of the international community and continue to develop weapons of mass destruction unfettered.
8. The hundreds of billions of dollars required for
an invasion and long-term occupation of Iraq
could push the U.S. economy into a deep recession.
Doing the right thing doesn't have a price tag. This also presupposes that military intervention in Iraq would bring less stability to the region, instead of more. It might, I realize that. But it's not a foregone conclusion.
It would be worth the costs, mostly to insure that weapons of mass destruction are not allowed to continue to be in the hands of a despot like Hussein, but potential positive side effects include the toppling of a tortuous, brutal regime, democratization of Iraq, protection of vital oil resources, and stabilization of the region. I'm not saying any of these are guaranteed. They would all be difficult to achieve, even assuming a swift military victory. But they are all worth fighting for.
9. Worldwide opposition to an invasion could
further damage the U.S. economy because one-quarter
of our GNP is tied to international trade.
See response to #7. We're not going to lose trading partners over this.
10. Polls show that 70% of Americans oppose a
See response to #7. To call this "unilateral" is laughable and insulting. We have many allies in this. We're not alone.
Now, I'd make a Ten Reasons to Invade Iraq list myself, but there's no need. While there are potential benefits to ousting Hussein by force, there is one that is clearly more compelling than the rest:
Iraq must not be allowed to own or continue to develop weapons of mass destruction.
There are other considerations, but this one is the prime motivation for the use of force. Anyone who tries to claim that Hussein doesn't have chem/bio weapons, isn't trying to develop more, and isn't intent on developing nukes is deluding themselves. Anyone who argues for more time or more inspections, when nearly 12 years and 17 mandates have slid by, is forestalling the inevitable, leaving a ruthless despot in power, and giving him more time to develop even deadlier weapons.
War is the last resort, but guess what? We're there. Diplomacy has been thoroughly, extensively exhausted. Chance after chance has been given. And now action must be taken.
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