So. We’re going to war.
I think a number of things, which I will outline here, as much to remind myself of them in the days to come as for any other reason. I think that regime change in Iraq is an admirable goal; Saddam Hussein is a terrible leader who has caused great harm to his citizens. He is a dictator and a criminal. I have no doubt of this.
I do not think that war is inherently wrong. Given the way in which the international community functions, I was in favor of the war in Afghanistan.
I do not think that Saddam is any kind of immediate threat to the United States. He has no viable nuclear program, despite the fact that he’s been trying to get one for years. He probably has chemical and biological weapons. It is not moral to wage war on a country based on theories about what that country might do. Bush spoke tonight of the moral justification of preemptive strikes. I say this: that there is a difference between the belief that Saddam might someday hurt the United States and the knowledge that Saddam is about to launch an attack. In one case, a preemptive strike is justified. In another, it is not.
I think that had Bush managed to keep UN approval, this war would not be damaging to the United States. As is, there is more anti-American feeling in the countries of the world than there has been for some time. Today, the Canadian Parliament cheered Chretien when he announced that Canadian troops would not participate in this war. This is not an isolated incident. Pursuing this war in the manner that Bush has chosen has an undeniable cost. I do not think that toppling Saddam is worth that cost.
I believe that if Saddam isn’t in a position to launch terrorist attacks today, he wouldn’t be in a position to launch them next year. Let alone in the 30 days provided by Chile’s last proposal for a Security Council resolution. A unified world has kept Saddam from gaining nuclear weapons for over a decade. There’s no reason for that to change.
Despite my opposition to Bush’s war, I hope that it is very successful. Now that the die is cast, I hope that the war ends in a matter of weeks and not months. I care about the lives of US soldiers; I don’t want a long, messy war and I will not hope for one. I think we’ll get a pretty messy war, but I very much hope I’m wrong.
I also hope that those who think Saddam is a real and immediate danger are proven wrong. If Saddam is an immediate threat, Bush’s speech should be quickly followed by devastating terrorist attacks. I don’t think that will happen; by the logic of their positions, many do. I hope they share my desire to be proven wrong.
And there it is.
Ned: I can’t believe how much good will and moral authority this President has squandered, on his obsession with Iraq.