Jejudo, South Korea
At the time the United States went to war with Iraq, every major intelligence organization in the world, (including those of France, Germany, and Russia), concluded that Saddam Hussein regime still had weapons of mass destruction.
Certainly, no intelligence organization said unequivocally that there were no WMD -- yet, one has to wonder why we continued inspections if it was indeed a 'slam dunk'.
Going to war is serious business. Is there anyone here who thinks that is controversial? The reticence and refusal to join in the war effort is based on that assumption. Without hindsight, we can say that the administration did not put forth a 'slam dunk' argument to go to war (I, and others, argued exactly that point here before the war.). With hindsight, the reason that it wasn't a 'slam dunk' was that they weren't there.
No one is arguing that Hussein was a nice guy. Except for a few whackos, no one is arguing the moral equivalence of Bush to Hussein, but, the simple fact is that all imperial agressors supply rationalizations for their agression. From Germany's 'protection of the German people,' to Japan's "East Asian co-prosperity sphere," to Kuwait is a part of greater Iraq.
And that's what we get now.
Putin recently announced to us all that he had also then informed our government that his intelligence had found
evidence of Saddam Hussein planning attacks
on the United States both within and outside its borders. The world had watched Saddam use weapons of mass destruction on his own people. His ambitions to go down in history as a heroic fighter for Islam were known. There also serious reservations about the man’s sanity. He actively encouraged terrorist acts, (against Israel for example with cash rewards to families of suicide
bombers). Etc. Etc.
His embrace of Islam is actually somewhat in dispute, his megolomania is not. What he actually wanted was a return to Mesopotamia (He went a lot farther back then Islam). But, please forgive me, I don't recall when Putin released that information, care to clarify?
But regardless, I have no doubt that Iran, North Korea, Russia, China and many, many others have plans like that as well. If the smoking gun is a mushroom cloud, then no one wanted to find the smoking gun, but we did want to find the gun.
For two reasons, one practical, one ideological. First, geo-political stability is inherently in our self-interest, our more nobler ambitions to spread the rule of law and democratic institutions across the world should take a back seat to the more mundane idea that people need to eat, need to buy things, need to live in relative peace in order for democratic institutions to work.
Second, we want to be the good guys. Hell, we are the good guys, but if you shoot a man who you think raped your daughter anymore justified when you discover that the murdered man didn't, in fact, rape your daughter? Are you justified in murder if you then make the argument that he might, someday, rape your daughter?
That's not the rule of law.
That's not what we're about.
And if it is, then you've changed the question, "Why go to war?" to "Why not go to war?"
And if you don't see the absurdity in that, well, then, I'll guess I'll just have to keep on talking.
Oh no :0