Andrew returns with his rebuttal. His words are in Green TextItalicized Text is quoted material from previous posts.

Oh boy, I’ve really poked my head into the bee’s nest now. Just a few points of clarification and responses.

I’m intrigued by your definition of a “good war”. I understand the concept of a just war, a necessary war, or even a noble war. But “good” is not an adjective I find remotely applicable to the reality of war.

“Good” was probably (intentionally) a bit inflammatory given it’s religious/moral implications. How about “Wildly Successful”, “Extraordinary Triumphant” or “Opened a Giant Can of Whoop Ass”. How do you measure the success of a war? Minimal numbers of soldiers and civilians killed, infrastructure spared, short duration, goals achieved, post war restructuring (in progress). The war was decisive yet humane. how often has that combination ever happened? But of course, none of the war protestors will give any credit to our military. They were predicting a million dead civilians, a blood bath in the streets of Baghdad, Arab streets going berserk, oil fields ablaze and the Iraqi infrastructure destroyed. Janeane Garofalo and Susan Sarandon can kiss my white Irish ass.

The really scary part is that I think he (Bush) truly believes his quest to rout evil from the world is divinely inspired. He thinks his god is more righteous and powerful than the Muslim god. He hasn’t said that explicitly, but I think he believes it. He his guilty of acting with the same air of moral superiority as the terrorists he purports to hunt.

I agree with you, Bush is scary, overly nationalistic, dogmatic and a quite stupid. No doubt we will agree, that reentering Iraq wasn’t Bush’s idea, but in fact, hatched by guys like Paul Wolfowitz and Bill Kristol. If anything, Bush ran on a protectionist platform, as he said, he wasn’t into “Nation Building.” I think a lot of the protest over the war had more to do with Bush than the actual idea of attacking Iraq. The Left is rightly upset about the Clinton Impeachment, the 2000 election, drilling in Alaska and pulling out of Koyoto. As I said previously, the war was just about the only policy of the Bush administration that I agree with.

Things like the Patriot Act and the positioning of those with opposing views as unpatriotic simply reek of the tactics McCarthy employed in the ’50s and are the precursor to even scarier things to come. Is it not ironic that we are losing our own freedoms while we wander the globe spreading it elsewhere?

Excellent point, I agree completely.

I would welcome more detail on why you believe what you state above. As I stated earlier in the blog, this war broke new ground. It was pre-emptive. We attacked to remove a perceived threat. A perception which is turning out after the fact to have been greatly exaggerated. If this qualifies as justified, exactly what would not qualify as justification? If this becomes the international standard for war then as a planet we are about to experience a great deal more of it.

I support the policy of preemption, I think it is a necessary and inevitable reaction to the new reality of asymmetrical warfare, where small bands of individuals can threaten the world. Of course no stockpiles of WMD have been found in Iraq yet (I believe they will). But I think finding them is moot. Iraq was a threat, even if they no longer had WMD, because they never gave the world any reason to believe they didn’t possess them. The power of WMD comes from the threat of using them, actually using them is usually impractical. Iraq gave every signal that they still possessed the WMD’s they had used in the past. Is killing someone threatening you with an unloaded gun, self defense?

Will the world be safer and more democratic now? It’s not clear Saddam was ever much of a threat to the world at large. His own populace was in the most danger, followed by his immediate neighbors. Curiously, the other Middle East nations were not pleading for U.S. intervention (excluding Israel who’s always up for kicking a little Arab butt).

The rest of the Middle East supported us thru their relative silence. They couldn’t support us openly, for fear of reprisals, and lack of trust that the US would actually follow thru with our threats. Now their confidence in our willingness to take risks and put boots on the ground is helping make headway in the Israeli / Palestinian conflict. The new respect we’ve gained will help us in our continuing war on terror. Bin Laden thought we were a paper tiger, that our only response to him would be to lob millon dollar cruise missiles at five dollar tents.

And what hubris drives the assertion that democracy is the only benign form of government? By implication, non-democratic institutions are less ideal. I don’t buy it. The majority of the planet’s population does not live under a functional democracy. Are they all oppressed? Do we need to go free the rest of them now? And I will be greatly astonished if anything resembling a democracy survives in Iraq after the U.S. forces leave. Look around the Muslim world and find me good examples of democracies. It’s not the cultural norm for them. That doesn’t mean they are doomed to oppression or even that they are wrong. Everyone doesn’t need to be like us.

Democracy is a human, not an American ideal. My guess is that only someone living under a democracy would ask your questions. Democracy isn’t the only benign form of government, but it provides the greatest protection from extreme forms. As Churchill said, “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the rest”. Believing that democracy is not the “cultural norm” for Muslims is probably elitist, was Fascism the cultural norm for Germans? The recent Iranian student protests for democracy make it pretty clear that the desire is there.

If the Middle East is more stable post-invasion it is only because there are hundreds of thousands of our heavily armed troops over there. If we left tomorrow, it would be way more destabilized than it was before we showed up.

Were not leaving tomorrow. When we do, hopefully things will be better.

And by what rationale did this war strengthen our diplomatic hand with terror sponsoring nations? Do you mean that we are probably more intimidating now so they are less likely to mess with us? That’s only considered diplomacy if you’re Bill Gates. We have established ourselves as the quintessential 500lb gorilla, but that’s a double edged sword. The bully gets a lot of respect in the light of day, but needs to sleep with one eye open.

Hmmmm, Bill Gates, and he is…. what? An example of how not to run a successful company? The appeasement and lack of response to terrorist attacks during the Clinton administration didn’t stop the 9/11 attacks. I believe that our weakness only encouraged them. We are a 500lb gorilla whether we fight back or not.

And I’ve addressed the “liberation” angle many times before. Yes, that was goodness and light. Yes, we’ve liberated other countries. But we’ve also ignored the plight of countless millions where liberating them was not politically feasible or economically viable.

I always find this the strangest argument against the attack on Iraq. Just because we can’t solve all the worlds problems, does that mean we shouldn’t try to solve any of them? Especially ones that our in our national interest.

The first war was a U.N action and it accomplished the U.N. goal of driving Iraq from Kuwait, and officially ended. The goal was never to depose Saddam. Yes, Iraq didn’t comply with the U.N. sanctions after the war. But the U.N did not reauthorize a war to enforce them. The U.S. was the dominate military force in both wars, but they were different legal entities launched by two separate governments. You can’t join them as contiguous actions of a single government. Emotionally there is a connection. There is continuity for the U.S. involvement. But that doesn’t make them the same war.

Ok, let’s be honest, the first war was a US war and we brought the UN along to appease the fence sitters. If you were to suppose that this war was necessary for our national security, then we have a right to defend ourselves, regardless of what the UN wants. If you want to disagree on the need for the attack, that’s fine, but the US should not let the UN decide if we can defend ourselves.

Sure, we’re oil junkies. I drive a big honkin’ truck, so I know a thing or two about being addicted to oil products. But we survived for 12 years without Iraqi oil on the market. Was the price rising? Sure. But we weren’t in danger of losing our oil supply.

The issue wasn’t the short term price of oil, but rather the long term (5 years and out) guarantee of it. Believe it our not, currently we only get a small percentage of our oil from the Middle-East, something less than 20%. We are getting a lot of our oil from South America, Canada, Russia and areas surrounding the Black Sea. But these countries are pumping it out at very high rates and peak production will happen quickly, probably in a few years. After that, Middle East oil will be the only game in town. Iraq has the second largest oil reserves in the world, after Saudi Arabia.

Besides, if the real issue was flooding the market with Iraqi oil to lower the price, that could have been accomplished by pressuring the U.N. to remove the oil sanctions under the premise of providing revenue to improve the standard of living for Iraqi citizens. No one would have died and we wouldn’t have invested billions to accomplish that.

We already had an oil for food program and by most accounts it wasn’t working.

We’re back to the honesty and integrity of our leaders. If oil was the reason, then say that. I take umbrage at the notion that Bush et. al. are trying to manipulate public opinion to create the illusion of morally righteous actions when the reality is otherwise – even if they truly believe that their real agenda is in my best interest. How the hell does that remotely translate to the precious democracy which we are so desperate to spread to everyone else?

Look, as I said before, I don’t like Bush, didn’t vote for him and probably won’t be voting for him next time around. I’m an independent (thank god). But I do find it ironic that the Left is suddenly aware of the necessity for “honesty and integrity of our leaders”.

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