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  xFriday, March 21, 2003

a few random war thoughts


First off, I have no criticism that a hastily launched "decapitation" strike against Saddam appears at this time not to have succeeded. Those are the breaks; if it had worked, it may have done much to bring this war to a swifter and less bloody end, and that's certainly a laudable goal.

My concerns are also somewhat mollified that the so-called "shock and awe" bombing campaign appears at least to be on hold. While the US would no doubt have done what it could to spare civilian lives, I don't see how such a massive aerial assault could avoid inflicting an unacceptably high number of civilian deaths.

For the record, I think "Operation Iraqi Freedom" is a monumentally dumb name for this war. If this Administration was honest, it'd be "Operation Regime Change."

It's truly amazing to me how ferverently (CNN: "White House touts international support for military campaign"; WaPo: "United States Puts a Spin On Coalition Numbers") the Administration and its supporters are touting the "international support" this war supposedly has.
The administration asserts that 44 nations are part of the coalition, but officials reach that number by lumping nations providing military units or logistical assistance with an eclectic group of nations -- such as Afghanistan, the Dominican Republic, Eritrea, Honduras, Rwanda and the Solomon Islands -- that are voicing only political support. The administration further suggests another 10 or so nations support the campaign but do not wish to be publicly identified.

One measure of international support that highlights the contrast between Dubya's so-called "coalition" and his father's is who's going to pick up the tab. Anyway, Bush had ample opportunity to assemble international support for his war prior to launching it, and failed spectacularly.

That WaPo story also had this telling bit about the Administration's dishonesty in selling its war:
Having raised expectations for months of a swift and relatively bloodless victory, the administration's goal yesterday was to lower them. Fleischer reprised Bush's Wednesday night warning of a conflict that might be "longer and more difficult than some predict."


Also for the record, a quick end to this war does not provide retroactive justification that it was right. Nor would subsequent discovery of any weapons of mass destruction, as it's pretty clear that Bush was never interested in what appeared to be an at least initially successful inspection program. Inspections could have either disarmed Iraq peacefully or, had Saddam genuinely balked, provided a justification for attack that not even the French could deny. Sadly, the Administration seemed to regard program's successes as more of an inconvenience than opportunity.

Finally, it's perplexing and saddening to me how many people--such as the writer of this letter in this morning's local paper--confuse the purported threat posed by Iraq with the 9/11 terrorists. Indeed, one of my concerns is that this war is far more likely to inspire terrorism than to prevent it.

I may explore these thoughts in more detail in subsequent posts.





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