April 18, 2003
Too Soon To Judge the War?

There's an excellent post by "Jkstraw" (Jack Straw?) which led to a spirited debate over at The Daily Rant. Many conservatives jumped on the "lefties were wrong in their doom and gloom outlook" bandwagon, referring to liberal perspectives on the course of the war, the aftermath of the war, and the failure (so far) to find WMD, which they now say was not the justification or goal for the war to begin with, and not proffered as such by Bush. I liked my response there so much I reprint it here:

It's fair to say that the administration trumped up and overestimated both the strength of Saddam Hussein's weapons, his possession of WMD, and his imminent or eventual threat to the U.S. or to the security of the area to make the case for an urgent war where no such urgency existed. The left, which the conservatives here like to say have been proved wrong at every turn, said all along that Saddam had been significantly, perhaps irrevocably weakened by the 1991 war and that he posed very little if any threat to our national security. So far, we (I'll put myself in with those lefties, since I said the above many times) have been proved completely correct.

Saddam is the worst oppressor of his people in the world? (as one poster above said) No way. North Korea is a perfect example of a more despicable regime. China is considered not big on human rights. The debate -- when it is justifiable to use military intervention to cure human rights violations -- is an entirely different debate than the one Bush and his pals led the country in when they made the case for war (it was all about WMD -- e.g., Powell's pitch to the U.N.? WMD). When liberating the people from Hussein was thrown into an administration argument for the war, it was in the context of "WMD (and he's a brutal dictator, too)."

If you say it's too soon to judge the need for the war based on the lack of WMD, then you have to admit also that it's too soon to judge whether the war was wise or justifiable. What will the next government be like? Will the region become more or less unstable? 5 or 10 or 20 years down the line, will the i people (who we claim to be helping) be better off, or worse? Will American security (and let's face it, we were never acting on behalf of anyone's interests but our own) be better? Will our foreign relations be better for us? Will the war damage us domestically?

My position is that the Bush administration's actions are short-sighted, reckless, and dangerous. My opposition to the war was (and still is) based on the fact that the war was an unnecessary gamble that risks too much and stands to gain too little; that it has produced problems which you can see immediately and could foresee yesterday (with the international community and the domestic economy to start) -- and that the administration has not been the slightest bit honest about its aims or goals,so I can't even trust them on their judgment.

Those who blindly support the administration in its claims, moves, pronouncements, wars and other actions are the ones who are being hasty.

Posted by Tom Burka at 10:57 PM in Commentary