Tuesday, October 08, 2002

War Speech

I have been convinced we should go to war against Saddam Hussein’s Iraq for quite some time. I’ve believed fairly strongly, since the September 11 attacks, that we would go to war. I’ve been pretty darn certain for the last month. Now I have no doubt. The President’s October 7 speech essentially told Saddam to come out with his hands up, with no sudden moves. A strong resolution from Congress will follow soon. And a resolution or resolutions from the UN Security Council will grant us enough authority to go to war.

I still don’t understand the critics of war who claim we have not had enough debate. Doris Kearns Goodwin last night raised the Persian Gulf War record onto a pedestal that is just amazing. We did not start to move troops in sufficient strength to smash Iraq’s army until November 2000. Until then the debate had been mostly about defending Saudi Arabia. President Bush was clear about ejecting Saddam from Kuwait but there was no clear debate on liberation. Only in November and December did it become clear we were putting in place forces to attack. The current debate has gone on for a year. How is today’s debate inferior to 1990? Further, the votes in Congress authorizing the Persian Gulf War were relatively close, the one in the Senate very close. When the votes are tallied this time around, I dare say it will be lopsided in favor of war—clearly showing a country pretty much united. Will DKG still argue that we were more united in 1991?

Amazing. If opponents of war are against war, they should just say so. Don’t cling to these procedural arguments and simultaneously argue that there is no debate. They sound like a bunch of defense attorneys trying to get their guilty client off on a technicality. There are valid concerns over war and real reasons not to fight. I happen to be overwhelmingly convinced that the failure to invade has far more serious consequences, but at least the opponents could debate these reasons. The pro-invasion side has presented its arguments for a year and the pro-invasion side has won over the public and Congress. Unfortunately, the anti-invasion side only considers it a full debate if they win.