The Road to Iraq

We have gone through a strange path to liberate Iraq, and here I sit feeling as torn as ever. I think the liberation of Iraq may very well go down as one of the best things the US has done, and the Bush administration should be commended for accomplishing this. To make this true requires that we focus our energies on making Iraq prosperous, peaceful and run by Iraqi’s. But the road to getting there has been paved with US arrogance that I still have trouble comprehending.
We have vilified the French and castigated the UN for the lack of action in Iraq. All the time we did this claiming this was about disarming Iraq. Looking back at what happened in the UN, of 15 countries in the Security Council we were able to convince 2 that we should take immediate action against Iraq, of the permanent members we convinced 1. Russia, Germany and France were vocal about their opposition to the US stance. Out of this we somehow decide to attack the French as being the problem. I thought our goal was to lead, that implies convincing others to follow, not blaming those that don’t. Growing up when someone started insulting people for not agreeing with them I remember them being called spoiled brats not leaders…

To make matters worse we were arguing that we needed to take immediate action to disarm Iraq, since they might use their weapons of mass destruction on other countries or give them to terrorists. The counter argument to this was that Iraq was unlikely to use these weapons as long as their government was in power. And therefore we should have let the weapons inspectors finish their work and make a decision at that point (which would have been in the spring / summer). It was also pointed out that Iraq was most likely to use weapons of mass destruction if they were attacked. So after the dust has settled, we see Iraq did not use any chemical or biological weapons. Since they did not use the weapons in this extreme situation it is powerful evidence in support of the Security Council position.

I am frustrated that we did not have the will to present the real reason to attack Iraq. The citizens of Iraq deserve to be liberated. Ironically once we invaded Iraq all the sudden this is what we were talking about. However presenting this argument at the UN would have required more work on our part and a concerted effort to build consensus. You see it comes down to the realization that the world’s safety depends on shutting down rogue governments. Doing this would force the UN to define when a government has stepped over a threshold and should be considered illegitimate. Not doing so will allow unrest and terrorism to foment from many parts of the globe. Effectively we cannot ignore those situations that breed this kind of violence. However, putting this agenda forward takes a certain amount of humility in our foreign policy. Realizing that our security depends on working with other countries, including once that we consider “3rd world” in humbling. Knowing that the decisions and implementation of the changes we need made is daunting. But failing to make these realizations will be expensive and dangerous.

Now is the time to lead, the time for idealism and most importantly the time for humility.

A Madman has spoken…

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