Sunday, June 19, 2005

Was the war worth it?

It is an American political myth, often voiced by the Democrats, that America goes to war only when there is no question about the necessity of going to war. Of course the left wing of the Party has more than a little angst about the Vietnam War, since it was begun and largely prosecuted by Democratic presidents. Still, they like to proclaim that the Iraq war is the only one where the necessity was in question. That’s a myth; there's always a question. (See the War of 1812, the Spanish-American War, World War I, the Korean War, the Persian Gulf War, etc.)

Thus, the real question about Iraq is, “was it worth it”?

One must examine the alternative. What if we had not invaded Iraq? What is the likely outcome? Arms inspectors David Kay and Charles Duelfer both concluded that Saddam Hussein remained committed to acquiring weapons of mass destruction, that he maintained secret weapons programs right up until the day of the invasion, and that he was waiting for the international community to lose interest or stamina so that he could resume his arms programs unfettered. Countries like France, Germany, Russia, and China that benefited from the “Oil for Food” Program were pushing for a suspension of the arms inspection process, playing right into Hussein’s hands. So would we have been able to contain Hussein indefinitely?

Let’s turn to a high level US administration official for an authoritative opinion.

"Iraqi defiance, followed by force mobilization on our part, followed by Iraqi capitulation," had left "the international community vulnerable to manipulation by Saddam." The longer the standoff continued "the harder it will be to maintain" international support for containing Hussein. "Saddam's history of aggression and his recent record of deception and defiance, leave no doubt that he would resume his drive for regional domination if he had the chance." In other words, containment was not "sustainable over the long run." As long as Hussein remained "in power and in confrontation with the world," Iraq would remain "a source of potential conflict in the region and a source of inspiration for those who equate violence with power and compromise with surrender."

These words were not spoken by Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice or Donald Rumsfield. These warnings were not issued by George Bush or Dick Cheney. No, this was the opinion of Sandy Berger, Democratic national security advisor to Democratic President Bill Clinton, in 1998.

Containment of Saddam Hussein was not a long term solution and military confrontation was inevitable. This was the mess that George Bush inherited and we can only be thankful that he dealt with it.

For a fuller discussion of this topic see the article by Robert Kagan in the 6/19/05 Washington Post.


Anonymous pamela cleveland said...

Perhaps Americans and the coalition were appointed to liberate Iraqis for God's purpose. That the truth shall set them free and more will hear the good news of Jesus.

5:40 AM  
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