Monday, June 13, 2005

Was the Iraqi Campaign Necessary? 

This is a frequently argued point, especially among those who say "the war wasn't worth it." Not to borrow to much from Bill Clinton's play book, but the answer entirely depends upon what one defines as necessity. In the eyes of one history professor in North Carolina, it decidedly was not based upon an assessment that the UN sanctions were sufficient to prevent Saddam from reacquiring WMD. I will grant him that the UN sanctions were effective at that time to do so, but I think a more complete evaluation of the necessity of the campaign should be based upon an evaluation of what other differences would exist today had we continued to rely upon the sanctions to contain Saddam.
So, OK, I'll give you that with sanctions (even as porous as they were) and containment we probably could have prevented Saddam from having a usable stock of WMD, but at what cost? We would still have to be dealing with a power-hungry mad man who was an avowed enemy of the US and who, by Russian reports, was coordinating with terrorist elements to plan actions against the US up until the day we crossed the border. We would have made little, if any progress on the democratization of the Middle East, the path I believe that may eventually lead to true lasting peace. And we would have reinforced the image of America as a short-sighted nation that has no stomach for a real fight.

I'll agree with anyone that 1600 of our nation's finest is a terrible price to pay, but contrasted against the alternative I believe it was the right choice.

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