President Bush calls this the doctrine of pre-emption, which obviously has its perils and could be used to justify very rash actions.
You ain't just whistlin' Dixie, buster. Which is, of course, why te standards of justification should be if anything higher than normal, and the obvious reluctance of the administration to give specifics is alarming. Further, see my earlier post--it isn't just preemption of a "clear and present danger" but a substantial diffusion of the standard under which preemption can take place.
Nonetheless, anybody with any sense must confess that there can be no return to the security posture adopted before September 11, 2001.
Yeah, I'd love to have a competent intelligence service with the ability to perceive threats, but it doesn't look like anything the Bushies--or Congress, for that matter--are doing is leading in that direction. And notice how cleverly all this obscures the fact that we had warnings and didn't react to them--it wasn't sheer incompetence on the part of our intelligence structure clear up to the White House! It was a lack of Presidential power to use the military as he pleases!
Notice, too, throughout this the implicit and false choice between war on Bush's terms or nothing at all. But even the status quo--sanctions, no-fly zones, etc.--is far from "nothing."
We have inherited, along with the right to destroy an illegal system of aggressive weaponry, a responsibility for the Iraqi and Kurdish peoples.
...Who we left hanging out to dry at the conclusion of Gulf War I (hence the continued need for no-fly zones). And since just about no one but the Kurds wants to see an armed Kurdish state between Iraq and Turkey, I have little doubt we'd do it again.
And a friendly Iraq, free again to trade and to make contact with the outside world, could transform the atmosphere of the Middle East.
Yes, that's true, but where's the connection--other than implicit--between the war plans and this highly desirable result? In short, what exactly are the plans for Iraq if and when Saddam is ousted?