Joe Duemer writes:
"There is a tremendous gap between what the administration said were the reasons for invading Iraq & the actual reasons on which they acted. Apparently, the purpose of this war was rhetorical--to demonstrate American willingness to project power preemptively without regard to previous international agreements. I take this to be a radical revision of America's role in the world. In the imperfect would we inhabit, which evil would be worse, to have left Saddam in power a little longer (while working for his downfall), or trashing the reputation of the US among our allies & even our enemies?"
As the man said, Joe, it's a matter of emphasis. You're being rhetorical yourself here, by reducing the Iraq war to "making a statement". The administration is serious about sponsoring democratic reform in Iraq as part of a strategy to push the Middle East toward much-needed democratization & liberalization on many fronts. I disagree about the "tremendous gap" you allege. As I said previously, the parameters of the Bush war on terrorism were made perfectly clear months before the US even went to the UN for a new resolution. & I believe they will find legitimate & serious evidence of WMD development and alliances with terror networks. There was very good reason to secure the oil fields, no matter who benefits from them. The failure to protect cultural sites was a huge mistake, but not evidence of massive bad faith or deceit. The argument that "because there are lots of dictatorships we're not bothering with, it's inconsistent to attack Iraq on that basis" is faulty logic, & makes no strategic sense in the context of a struggle against a fearsome terror adversary rooted in Middle Eastern networks & ideology (al Qaeda et al.).
Well, we are not going to agree on this issue. I think the position of total condemnation of the late war is rather weak. As I outlined toward the end of my last post, I think a stronger & more productive viewpoint could be developed, which accepts the reality of, & necessity for, a global war against terrorism, and which supports the project of confronting & holding to account both rogue dictatorships & terrorist networks, while at the same time closely analysing how the Republican Party is shaping that necessity for its own partisan ends (primarily, by putting the US on a perpetual war footing, "creating" useful enemies as a replacement for missing & formerly-useful Cold War antagonists, in the context of a go-it-alone global posture emphasizing military dominance). Democratic & other opposition parties could frame the war on terrorism within a different set of priorities, including global economic development, new diplomatic strategies, and an emphasis on social justice, civil rights & economic opportunity here in the US.