Professor X wrote:
Why don’t we ever get a straight forward response by those who claim to be conservatives of why we aren’t equally supporting war in these other dictatorships? What made Iraq so special? Iraq trumps Africa and North Korea, why? Are we just waiting on more troop to be born and choose to go into the military?
My gut tells me that if there were a homeless Iraqi family standing on the street right now, that very few of the same people jumping for “Iraq Liberation” would open their doors and alow them to sleep in their house. How far does this care for the people of Iraq go and how does it overcome the care of these other people in other territories?
This gives a pretty good overview, including a “why Iraq” explanation:
Professor X wrote:
The basic premise seems to be:
“The war, therefore, is against the ideological insurgency within Islam that pursues these objectives, and anybody who gives it aid, shelter or comfort.”
If I am wrong, correct me, but how does this rate Iraq above every other part of the world with a dictatorship? I am glad to see that blog noticed this administration’s lack of diplomacy leading to a poor perception of us by the rest of the world. I was beginning to think that the majority couldn’t see this and/or didn’t care.
I am still not clear on why Iraq needed a war more than Africa or North Korea.
What, Bostonbarrister, is your specific view on this matter…outside the wonder of your ability to find nearly every blog ever written?
My view is that Iraq made the most sense overall, even if it didn’t make the most sense for any particular reason – kind of an “in the aggregate” test.
First, on a geopolitical level, the stage was already set, in that Iraq was under a sanctions regime, and was both violating the sanctions and engaging in bellicose activity. It was also the country most likely to cause region-wide instability in the Middle East, which was the worst-case scenario outside of a WMD attack on a major US city.
Assume for the sake of argument that all the countries that said they believed Iraq had WMD actually did believe Iraq had WMD, including us (BTW, we still don’t know what happened to the WMD everyone knew he had and that he was established as having, but that’s another topic). The administration’s view (and the view of the previous administration as well, because it is/was the view of the CIA) is that terrorist groups need nation-states as sponsors. Iraq was also known to have established relations with various terrorist groups, including al Queda [Note: This is different from saying it’s established that Iraq had any hand in the planning of 9/11].
So, start from the position that Iraq has WMD and terrorist ties, and that the administration’s worst fear was a “rogue nation” supplying WMDs to terrorists.
Then, think geopolitically. Saudi Arabia is a nominative ally in the region, but we don’t trust them as far as we can throw them regarding help against terrorists. Iran and Syria are problem nations. Israel is a good ally, but local politics and the size of Israel makes it difficult to use as a good base in the area. The thinking was – and likely still is – that establishing a friendly nation that will allow a strong US presence in the area gives a counter weight to the Saudis, and pincers both Syria (between Israel and Iraq) and Iran (between Afghanistan and Iraq). That placement makes it possible to have the biggest influence with the fewest troops, especially when you add the power of aircraft carrier groups in the Gulf.
The administration believes in the spread of democracy for multiple reasons. The thinking is that they are better trade partners, more likely to be allies with the US militarily, and will have better “behavior” in terms of respecting the rights of their citizenry. The fact that they thought it would be possible to establish a democratic government (not an exact replica of a US democracy, but at least as good as Turkey) was a key part of the strategy.
The established human rights violations in Iraq also added to the picture. In the first instance, all things being equal and costs equalling zero, we would try to stop human rights violations like those wherever they occur. Of course though, all things are not equal, and costs are not zero, so, especially when you’re talking about militarily enforcing human rights policies, there had better be some strong US interests that are being furthered at the same time. In the case of Iraq, you had these considerations: strategic importance in war on terror; strategic importance in the Persian Gulf, which is a key area for the world economy because of its energy production; and, unlike the cases in both Iran (with Russia) and North Korea (with China), you didn’t have a big geopolitical player that considered that country “their turf,” which would add a whole nother set of costs and complications to the mix.
Those are my thoughts on “why Iraq.”[/quote]
C’mon, BB. The human rights violations argument is deliberately obtuse and you know it.
Ask the people in Rwanda. Or, there are a couple nuns in El Salvador you could ask how much the US cares about human rights violations.
Or…you could ask the cats and kittens in Abu Gharib or Gitmo.
We have never, ever gone to war to protect a third party’s human rights.