Saturday, March 25, 2006

Sticking to your guns

Jonah Goldberg takes the Bush administartion to task for not strongly defending its decision to invade Iraq over WMD. He contends that the WMD issue has wrongly become a legalistic argument, something that is absurd where foreign policy is concerned:

And that's the point Thomas et al don't want to understand. For reasons that still baffle me, the WMD threat — never the sole reason to invade Iraq — not only became the only argument, it became a thoroughly legalistic one, as if foreign policy has rules of evidence and procedural due process. After 9/11, that kind of foreign policy by lawyers looked ridiculous, and rightly so.

He also writes that Saddam's bluff on WMD justified his removal:

The fact that Hussein turned out to be bluffing about WMDs isn't a mark against Bush's decision. If you're a cop and a man pulls out a gun and points it at you, you're within your rights to shoot him, particularly if the man in question is a known criminal who's shot people before. If it turns out afterward that the gun wasn't loaded, that's not the cop's fault.

I agree with Goldberg's take. Saddam did not want the rest of the world to know the status of his WMD programs. He bluffed with a pair of nines, while we held three kings. It looks like it turned out to be his final bluff.


Blogger Roch101 said...

Was Saddam bluffing on WMDs? Before the invasion, he claimed they had none.

As IAEA inspector, Hans Blix has said that "the Bush administration tended 'to say that anything that was unaccounted for existed, whether it was sarin or mustard gas or anthrax.'"

Glen, I find this report from the Carnegie Institute, WMD in Iraq, Evidence and Implications, very insightful. It's long, but a good starting place is the Guide to Key Findings.

Blogger Glenn said...

You left a lenghthy reading assignment. It took me a few days to get through it. I appreciate the chance to discuss issues with people with whom I disagree.

I still see a case of going to war against Saddam. When looking at causes for going to war, I try to look at as much as possible through the perspective of '02. You're right Saddam did say he didn't have WMD, but it depended on who talked to. I certainly believe he wanted potential internal enemies to believe he had them. I also find it impressive that his generals were shocked to learn they would not have chemical weapons to repel an imminent American invasion.

I didn't need the threat of WMD, even though I believe it was a good reason to remove Saddam, or neo-con promises of US troops being greeted with flowers to support the removal of Sadaam. The gassing of the Kurds and extermination campaign against Shi'as following the Gulf War were enough for me.

I also did not trust that Saddam and al Qaeda would not develop a working relationship. I never believed Iraq played a role in 9/11 beyond its security people having knowledge of something going on, but I suspect the potential existed for an operational relationship. I believe the situation was too fluid to trust that some rigid barrier existed between them making cooperation impossible because Saddam was secular and al Qaeda Islamic extremists.

I do believe Saddam played a dangerous game and his time ran out. Once again, thanks for the discussion.


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