current thoughts on iraq
There's some wondering aloud going on as to why anyone could possibly still oppose a war with Iraq, especially after the Presdent's speech. Well, here's a big one: The persistent sense that the Administration and its supporters are being less than honest in its justifications for the war. Let's recap:
In short, the generally bogus nature of the pro-war case is ample grounds for skepticism of the Administration's desire for an invasion. While each of these reasons are compelling individually, it's the terrorism question that for me, lately, has been causing the Administration's case to fail the sniff test.
Let's be perfectly clear about this: it there's really a connection between Iraq and al Qaeda, then the debate is over. The Congress has already given the President authorization "to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on Sept. 11, 2011, or harbored such organizations or persons." Moreover, if the President could demonstrate those links, he'd enjoy a resurgence of support.
It seems the President and his advisers can't do that, though; if they could, I can't fathom why they haven't made that case already. Yet al Qaeda's name keeps getting mentioned, and specilation about terrorism keeps getting bruited about. These are lies, plain and simple. When the Administration starts dealing with the debate more honestly--for starters, a definitive statement by Bush that attacks on dissenter's patriotism are positively un-American and not to be tolerated would be nice--I'll grant them more credibility, but for now skepticism is not only justified, but the only rational approach.
A recent USA Today poll indicates that I'm hardly alone in my skepticism. Among likely voters, those who favor and oppose an invasion to depose Saddam are split almost evenly. More, support for an invasion decreases as casualty estimates increase, and people seem to want Congress and allies involved.
Oliver Willis has thoughts along a similar line as well.
The bottom line is, Iraq certainly is a threat, but it's been contained for more than a decade. Certainly Iraq must comply with the appropriate UN resolutions and abandon its weapons of mass destruction. While I'd grant that military force might be necessary to enforce such compliance, it doesn't follow that such force can only be applied via a full-scale invasion. Frankly, I suspect that the trend of events are indeed addressing this threat; Iraq will accept inspectors or accept the consequences. And Bush's team deserves some credit for these occurrences. But even then, this outcome however beneficial strikes me as an unintended consequence of a spectacular failure to gain public support for a much more radical policy.