I’ve gotten into a lot of discussions with people about the Iraq situation, so I figured I’d put all of my thoughts online for anyone who is interested (for some reason). It’s pretty simple, and not surprisingly consistent with the Libertarian philosophy.
I think a lot of the confusion about Iraq stems from the question “Why are we going in?” There are quite a few answers to this question kicking around, namely:
b) Save the Iraqi people
c) Protect Iraqs neighbors (and/or our allies)
d) Protect ourselves from either a direct strike or an indirect strike (sale of weapons to our enemies)
e) Enforce the UN resolution 1441.
f) Response to 9/11, which Iraq had an indirect hand in
Maybe I’m missing some, but those seem to be the popular ones. Now of that list, some of the items are speculation (a and f), some are arguably reasonable grounds for war (b, c, and e), but only one is an honest-to-goodness reason for us to go to war with Iraq: option d.
I hear a lot of people say this war is about oil. To some extent I agree with them. If Iraq didn’t have any oil we probably wouldn’t care about them, because they wouldn’t be able to afford all of the weapons they are hiding. Of course the real “this war is about oil” argument basically says we are going in because we want to take thier oil, or control their oil, or some such thing. I personally think that’s a load of crap. If we wanted their oil, we could have taken it back in ’91. Oil is not the end of the world. Relative to inflation, it’s still pretty cheap. The anti-war rallies were filled with this type of rhetoric about an oil conspiracy. Well, honestly I don’t trust the source in many of those cases.
The other speculative explanation is that Iraq was involved in 9/11. I haven’t heard or seen any concrete facts on this (just as I haven’t seen any suggesting we’re only interested in oil) so I’d just assume not speculate. It’s possible I guess… but I’m not going to assume it.
Save the Iraqis. Call me cold-hearted, but I could give two shits about the Iraqis. If they are a people opressed by a dictator, then I’m inclined to agree with Bill O’Reilly when I say “get off your ass and revolt.” The US did it… France even did it a few times. If the dictator is too strong for the populous to revolt, I at least want to see some sign that they want help from us, and that we’d gain the benefits of a [rich] ally if we did help. Same goes for protecting Iraq’s neighbors – I want to see some sign that they are asking for our intervention. I don’t see that though… so as far as I’m concerned, no war to liberate Iraq, and no effort to protect those other countries.
The UN resolution 1441, and the several other resolutions that Iraq has chosen to ignore is another matter worth of attention. My view here is that Iraq should indeed be punished for these breaks, but not by the United States. They aren’t our resolutions, they’re the UN’s. Let them enforce them. If they don’t want to enforce them, then watch them turn into the biggest worldwide joke around (if they aren’t already). I am not in favor of us pulling out of the UN, because it’s always good to have friends in other countries, although I do see us assuming the role of troublemaker in the back of the class. We’ll sit back on our chairs in the UN meetings blowing bubbles with our gum and making sarcastic remarks about how the organization is just a huge joke. Well, maybe it won’t be exactly like that. In any case, we don’t declare war on Iraq for breaking UN resoutions.
The one good reason
One of the [few] reasons we really need the federal government is to protect the American people – to provide for national defense. As far as I’m concerned, that’s job #1. If we’re not safe, none of it’s other responsibilities even matter. If our government feels that Iraq is a threat to us, then I say war is a-okay.
This war is different than some of our previous wars in that we have not been attacked by this enemy yet (unless you subscribe to possibility f, above). Some would say this means we are throwing our weight around and acting unjustly. I would say, we are learning from history. If we had put pressure on the groups responsible for 9/11 before it happened, 9/11 would not have happened. We are seeking to prevent another 9/11. There are still people who understandably would feel more comfortable if Iraq acted out some agression against us before we head in. The counter to that argument, as explained well by national security adviser Condoleeza Rice is “We don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.”
On the flip side, there are those who simply think Iraq is not a threat to us. If they are right, then I agree with them in saying we should not go to war. If they don’t threaten us, leave them alone. Don’t spend American money and risk American lives.
I am comfortable believing however that our government has more information about this than they are telling us. Comfortable and uncomfortable at the same time. If they have more information, and they are not revealing it for safety reasons or security reasons, and the information indicates that Iraq is a clear and present danger, then Iraq needs to be stopped immediately.
There is only one condition under which I agree with a war against Iraq, and it may or may not be met right now. If we go to war, I sure as hell hope they are an imminent threat to us. If we don’t go to war, I sure as hell hope they’re not.