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Impearls: My say on the Iraq war

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Earthdate 2003-02-05

My say on the Iraq war

East Indian blogger (now residing in Philadelphia) ratnose has linked to Impearls' latest table of the world economies; thanks very much.  I also note that a day or two ago he posted a piece “My say on the Iraq war,” in which ratnose writes:

“why did US choose to act now against Iraq.  Why not a year earlier or when Clinton was in office.  Why now?  what prompted Bush to act on Iraq now?”

As a person who vigorously opposed Bush during the 2000 election, I can try to answer ratnose's questions.

1.  “Why not a year earlier?”  A year earlier the Afghanistan war was still being wrapped up.  A year's worth of preparations, rebuilding spent munitions, etc., for war with Iraq had not yet been completed.

2.  “Why not when Clinton was in office?”  Frankly — speaking as one voted for Clinton the entire term he was in office — he didn't have the balls.  I believe Clinton was psychologically incapable of implacably waging war with a goal of victory, rather than just expending “tit for tat” strikes against a horrific foe with no end result.  Perhaps I'm being unfair given his creditable record with the Kosovo (air) war.  However, the fact is that Clinton got Congress to “declare war” on Saddam Hussein in 1998, and then did nothing effective about it.  He struck at Bin Laden once — but ineffectively.  Where's the determination that would win a war (a war we did not start)?  Force should be used effectively or not at all.  The plan is to use it effectively now against Iraq.

3.  “Why now?”  Because we're ready, mentally and physically.  Because waiting would inevitably trip that up in any number of ways.  (Plus wintertime is needed to accomplish the job, given the climate and necessity of wearing chemical-warfare protection suits.)

4.  “What prompted Bush to act on Iraq now?”  September 11, 2001, followed by time getting ready.

UPDATE:  2003-02-06 14:30 UT:  One other point, inspired by a comment left in ratnose's blog.  In my view there is absolutely no need to prove or even assume a connection between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein in regards to September 11, 2001.  Whether or not they were associated at the time, they clearly could or have become associated since, or might in the future.  The supposed ideological gulf between Al Qaeda and the Baathists cannot be assumed to be unbridgeable, given the personality of Saddam Hussein and the well known aphorism from the region, “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.”  Even we, America and the West, made common cause with Stalin during World War II.  The U.S. cannot risk its population on any assumption as dubious as that.

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