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On the War in Iraq

The Volokh Conspiracy asked bloggers to respond to three questions regarding the War in Iraq. For your consideration:

First, assuming that you were in favor of the invasion of Iraq at the time of the invasion, do you believe today that the invasion of Iraq was a good idea? Why/why not?

War is never palatable, but this invasion was appropriate.

  • First, the United Nations failed to follow through1 after arms inspectors determined that Saddam Hussein did not willingly comply with verification of Iraqi disarmament. Remember, a single inspector was sufficient to prove Hussein obstructed inspections; actually finding WMD was unnecessary.
  • Second, Saddam Hussein used such weapons in the past, had the skill to quickly and surreptitiously recreate his WMD program, demonstrated ongoing enmity toward Americans, continued attacks on coalition forces, openly supported terrorism and was a likely haven for terrorists.
  • Third, the world's long-term stability depends upon breaking the cycle of despotic rule that the UN Charter permits.2 Without coalition intervention it would have been difficult to stop violations of human rights that killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. If the United Nations cannot hold to its responsibilities, then one can at least shame it by following through when it fails, at the same time putting muscle behind future diplomatic efforts with nations like Iran and North Korea.
  • Fourth, it would have been dangerous to misjudge how much further the WMD genie would be let out of the bottle in Iraq and thus how much more costly in both money and lives it would be to have to remove Saddam Hussein in the future.

Second, what reaction do you have to the not-very-upbeat news coming of Iraq these days, such as the stories I link to above?

  • Reporting in the fog of war is always difficult. Even without war, the press is like a magnifying lens that both clarifies and distorts. Under the lens, the image may seem crystal clear, but is out of proportion to everything that surrounds it.
  • Complicating matters, insurgents opened another front to battle for your mind, believing they need not defeat soldiers in Iraq if at home they undermine the will to fight. Effective leaders explain why we are at war to steel voters in a violent world to muster the courage to persevere. Failing to establish a stable, civil future will reverberate throughout the world to cause incalculable damage.
  • Furthermore, by its nature, war is uneven, but that is no reason to give up. Struggle is okay. The war in Iraq turns out to have been directed at a pivotal location. If it were not, opposition would simply have melted away to another safe haven.
Responsible media encourage leaders to meet large issues head-on. Then leaders firm the resolve to stand up to terror because no other alternative offers the social stability that liberty and democratic peaceful change allow.

Third, what specific criteria do you recommend that we should use over the coming months and years to measure whether the Iraq invasion has been a success?

  • We will have succeeded when Iraqis -- and others in the Middle East -- value a peaceful process of problem resolution to the point that they shoulder the burden of maintaining it.
  • Or we will have succeeded when, failing that, the rest of the world realizes that they must protect themselves at any cost against those who care less.3
The kernel of civilization is the ability to imagine a better future and to plan for it. It is that skill that distinguishes humanity from the rest of the animals. Invariably, people consciously fashion a fashion a framework of peaceful problem resolution to avoid a deadly spiral down to the law of the jungle with no guarantee sensible people will win.

In sha' allah means "As God wills it." In the interpretations available to us, the Qur'an, the word of Allah, explains that God willed mankind on earth to take charge of the physical world as vice regent, viceroy or khalif. [Al Baqara 2:30] Accordingly, ALL citizens forever retain the responsibility to fashion and improve the future. That responsibility is two-fold:

  1. All Iraqis must permanently and regularly have the constitutional opportunity, based on new experience, to continuously and repeatedly correct how they are governed.
  2. To learn how wisely to decide demands transparency and accountability in leadership and universal excellence in education.4

Whether God has willed us succeed, or whether we only manufacture hope from our own ingenuity, we are all in this together -- in a race for civilization there is no guarantee humanity will win. Splendor simply sparkles for those resolved to embrace the willing and defend against the others; to work with insight, intelligence and humility along the way. Democracy codifies humility -- the idea that even when you think you are right, someone else may discover a better way of doing things.

     --------------------
1 U.N. Resolution 1441 [The Security Council] "4. Decides that false statements or omissions in the declarations submitted by Iraq pursuant to this resolution and failure by Iraq at any time to comply with, and cooperate fully in the implementation of, this resolution shall constitute a further material breach of Iraq≠s obligations" and "11. Directs the Executive Chairman of UNMOVIC and the Director-General of the IAEA to report immediately to the Council any interference by Iraq with inspection activities, as well as any failure by Iraq to comply with its disarmament obligations".
2 United Nations Charter, Chapter 1, Article 2, Paragraph 7. Nothing contained in the present Charter shall authorize the United Nations to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state or shall require the Members to submit such matters to settlement under the present Charter;
3 The Protective Umbrella
4 Courage and Clarity

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This page was last updated: Friday, October 1, 2004 at 9:40:40 AM
Copyright 2014 Stephen B. Waters Weblog at: http://blogs.rny.com/sbw/
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