Nation still waiting : LUSENET : Unk's Troll-free Private Saloon : One Thread

Posted on Fri, Sep. 06, 2002

Editorial | Nation still waiting

Agreeing to make a case for war is a far cry from being convincing.

The Congress shall have the power to... declare war.

Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution of the United States.

Perhaps someone slipped a copy of the Constitution into President Bush's morning briefing book.

Whatever did the trick, it's reassuring that the President now seems to realize prosecuting a just, successful war takes more than simply shouting, "Let's do it!"

For months, neoconservative hawks inside and outside the administration have been urging the President to invade Iraq solely on his say-so as commander-in-chief. Who cares, they cry, about the consent of Congress, the support of allies, the caveats from military planners?

On Wednesday, however, the President indicated he would try to attend to pesky details such as spelling out to Congress his case for a precedent-setting, preemptive war.

Let's hope he means it. Let's hope his plans to speak to the United Nations and dubious leaders of other countries indicates he's heeding the wisdom of another document written in Philadelphia, this one in 1776: "A decent respect for the opinions of mankind requires that [we] should declare the causes that impel [us]."

Clearly, America has the military clout to act unilaterally, perhaps even to succeed. But proceeding with "decent respect" will clarify alternatives, reduce the chances of grave error, improve the prospects of success, and bolster the justification for any ensuing pain and bloodshed.

The neoconservatives who hold sway in the Bush administration may be right that the threat posed by Saddam Hussein's weapons program is accelerating toward the red zone. They may even be right that overthrowing him will prove easier than skeptics warn.

So let's agree with this swaggering crew on some points. Saddam Hussein is a bloody-handed tyrant. He has invaded neighbors, gassed and starved his own people, subsidized suicide bombers, and violated every condition imposed on him after his defeat in the gulf war. He lusts after nuclear, biological and chemical weapons. The world would be well rid of him, but likely won't be without U.S. action.

But, the President's cocksure advisers haven't yet made even a remotely persuasive case that the invasion they favor will work. They assert Baghdad can be secured and Hussein toppled almost as smoothly as the Afghanistan operation. When experts more experienced in the grisly realities of combat dispute that, the hawks simply repeat themselves with imperial self-assurance.

They have not shown that the threat from Saddam is so imminent and overwhelming as to justify what they call "preemptive action," or what Americans would call "a war of aggression" if anyone other than the United States did it.

They have not explained in any detail how an administration that sneers at "nation building" - and is so far bungling it in Afghanistan - proposes to establish the stable, moderate Iraqi government of its dreams.

Bush officials ignore a severe illogic of their position: If Hussein has such dire weapons and no compunction about using them, won't invading his country be the surest way to provoke their use? If he's such a dire threat, how to oust him without massive carnage? Put a rat in a corner...

If, in their realpolitik hearts, they believe such carnage is a worthwhile price to pay to be rid of Saddam Hussein, should they not level with the American public before committing its flesh and blood to that wager? The gulf war, Kosovo and Afghanistan have trained Americans to expect relatively cheap and easy victory.

Any accurate ledger must also weigh other risks: putting Israel at graver peril; destabilizing neighboring Turkey (a NATO ally vital to our oil interests); provoking the "Arab street" into overthrowing other Middle East regimes, spawning new Arab leaders even more antagonistic to America.

Here's another way the administration is not coming clean with the public. This administration would be itching to take on Hussein even if Sept. 11 had not happened. This adventure doesn't seem central to the "war on terror"; in fact, as al-Qaeda rebuilds with the help of Iran and others, it seems a distraction.

Hussein does subsidize terror, but the administration's evidence linking him to al-Qaeda and the hijackers is laughably slim.

Before launching Desert Storm, President Bush's father patiently built an international coalition that shared the risks and costs. He made a case so persuasive to Americans that most of Congress voted for the resolution authorizing war.

The son is often described as being intent on avoiding his father's political mistakes. Despite all that's changed since 1991, he should be as intent on learning from his father's greatest achievement.

-- (Dumbya's clueless @ foreign. policy), September 07, 2002


" neoconservative hawks"

The generally accepted definition of "neoconservative" is "former Liberal". Hmmmmmmm.

-- (detecting sooo much BS today @ Unk's.Saloon), September 07, 2002.

Dickhead Cheney and Dr. Strangelove Rumsfeld "former liberals"???

Bwaaahahahaa, I think not.

-- (you@are.clueless), September 07, 2002.

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