Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Enough with the War in Iraq

Ladies and Gentlemen, today I will argue against the war in Iraq. This is a new position for me, and I am sure that the reasons for my changing ideology will be of some interest to my readership. So, here it is, in all the glory that my postings normally generate:

the war in Iraq is over.

The war on terrorism, however, continues. And right now the most visible of the battlefields in this war is Iraq. The many military actions that U.S. troops perform on a daily basis in Iraq may look like a full-scale war--and it is, to be sure. But those actions are part of the war on terror now, not the long-ago completed war in Iraq.

How can I say this? Easy. The President's declaration of war on Iraq outlined these goals of the war effort: "to disarm Iraq, to free its people and to defend the world from grave danger." First objective: done. The hostile, Saddam-led government of Iraq does not have at its disposal any weapons of mass destruction. Second objective: done. The oppression of the Hussein regime has been replaced, with a full democracy hopefully only a few months away. As for the third objective, one must infer that the "grave danger" that we were addressing by going to war in Iraq was the danger posed by Saddam Hussein as the leader of a state with a viable military and a NBC (nuclear, biological and chemical, not the network) program that had at some point been functional and that had not been proven to be otherwise. And so that objective, also, is done.

Yes, there is fighting still going on in Iraq. Yes, some of those taking arms against the coalition forces are Iraqis--maybe as many as 20,000 of them, if you believe the reports (said tongue-in-cheek, of course). But those Iraqis fighting against the coalition are NOT soldiers of the government of Iraq. They are "insurgents"--in other words, terrorists. They are trying to attack the government of Iraq through means other than state-declared war to further their own political ambitions in the country. The government of Iraq has actually asked for coalition help in defending itself against these threats. So, in essence, the presence of U.S. soldiers in Iraq should not be seen as any different than the presence of American soldiers among coalition troops fighting to liberate Kuwait following Saddam's invasion in the summer of 1990. And when was the last time anybody on either side of the political aisle criticized U.S. participation in that campaign?

The War in Iraq is over. (By the way, we won) The war on terror continues, and Iraq is a key battleground in that war.

Does anybody seriously think we should not be engaged in the war on terror?


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