guest editorial of the day
My friend Sparky emailed me some thoughts on Iraq and invited me to post them, so here goes:
To give credit where it's due, I applaud Bush's choice of military targets. Having toppled the Taliban, he's now aiming at the next most despicable, repressive regime on the planet. There's no doubt that Saddam Hussein is a
dangerous and evil character with bad intentions toward the U.S. There's little doubt that Iraq, the Middle East and the world would be a better place if he and his regime lost power. And there's no doubt that the U.S. is capable of removing him. I suspect that, while American casualties would be greater than in the Gulf War or Afghanistan, the Iraqi campaign would end within a month or less, with a complete American victory.
Nevertheless, I also believe it would be mistake for us to take that step at this time, and without broad-based support from the international community. If we act now, we will win in then short term but suffer grievous losses in the long term, far worse than anything that Saddam alone could inflict.
Consider the possible benefits to America attacking Iraq. Taking out Saddam would necessitate the establishment of a new democratic state that would be reliant on the U.S. for its survival (at least in the short term). From a self-interested point of view, this would give America the opportunity to install strategically placed military bases in the Middle East, and to obtain a steady source of oil (either free ? as reparations ? or at bargain prices). From a broader-minded point of view, this would provide the opportunity to build a nation capable of proving that an open, free-market democracy can succeed in the Middle East, and serve as a model for other nation states in the region.
However, the price we would pay for those strategic boons, to help plant that flower of democracy in the Middle East, and for the satisfaction of dethroning Saddam would be very, very high.
(continued in the next post)