Could It Really Work?

March 12th, 2010

By Brianna Aubin

Elections were held in Iraq last week, with approximately 63% of the country turning out to vote despite terrorist attacks that killed several dozen.  The counting has been slow, but there has been no serious reason to suspect fraud (usually if you’re going to cheat, you at least try to do it in such a way as to rig a clear majority in your favor) and with a relatively good chance of a real government being formed as well as the troops gearing up to pull out, it looks like Iraq may actually have a chance at becoming a sovereign, free nation.

There are those who would argue that we should never have gone into Iraq, with some validity, though anyone who just mindlessly chants that “Bush lied” about WMDs should ask themselves whether Bush also lied to the intelligence agencies of France, Germany, Spain, Australia, Japan, Germany, Israel and NATO, Iraqi deserters, the Kurds who got gassed in 1988,the Iranians who died via chemical weapons in the Iran-Iraq war, and whether President Clinton was using George Bush as a source back in 1998 when he stated that “We want to seriously diminish the threat posed by Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction program.”  It may have been a legitimate target in the moral sense, being run by a murderous dictator who was estimated to be the cause of about 800,000 deaths, not counting those of the Iran-Iraq war (during which we were not exactly blameless ourselves, as providers of foreign aid), and who provided material support (distinct from organizational support) for terrorist organizations, including Al-Qaeda.*  However, it can be argued that moral legitimacy of an invasion aside, there were better targets from the standpoint of US interests, and that the Iraq invasion was not the best use of resources and personnel in the fight against terrorism.  It can also be argued that whatever the failings or moral illegitimacy of the previous Iraqi government, the United States had no right to come in on behalf of the Iraqi people even in the name of their own good, and that even if the invasion ends up producing a net positive in the form of a free Iraq, there are 100,000 dead Iraqis who were never asked the question of whether they wanted to rebel or whether they would have been willing to die in order to obtain this result.

I have my doubts about whether invading Iraq was the best move at the time, though not because I think there were no good reasons to do it.  I grieve for the deaths on both sides, though I am cognizant of the fact that plenty of people in addition to the 800,000 already mentioned would have died under Saddam’s regime if the man had remained in control of the country without any help from the US whatsoever.  I agree that the 100,000 Iraqis who died as a result of the American invasion were not asked whether they were prepared to make that sacrifice for freedom, though just as an observation I feel compelled to point out that 100,000 for a free country is a much smaller number to a much better purpose than is 800,000 to maintain an evil dictatorship.

But in the end, what stays with me are the stories of peaceful elections in a country that was a vicious dictatorship less than a decade ago, and the fact that a former wreck of a country now has a serious shot at creating a just government and a free people in a region that has seen far too little of either.

I admit I have a hard time regretting that.

*48 Liberal Lies About American History by Larry Schweikart

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One Response to “Could It Really Work?”

  1. Tom |

    I originally supported the war in Iraq. I thought then, and I still think, that deposing Saddam Hussein was the right thing to do, not just for the U.S. but for the rest of the world, too.

    However, once the military did their typical outstanding job of kicking butt during the first few weeks and defeated the regime, the politicians took over and totally screwed things up.

    I think history will look back on this and give it a mixed evaluation, while approving of the regime change we forced. We’ll see.

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