Wednesday, March 30, 2005

The How and Why of Iraq are Important

While it’s true that the how and why we went to Iraq are ultimately less important than whether or not being there is the right answer, we can’t lose sight of the means even as we support the ends. We should expect our government to be honest with us and the Bush Administration was not nearly candid enough in the lead up to war. Iraq had no connection to 9/11 and yet the administration fed that misconception. The probability that Iraq had nuclear weapons was nearly nonexistent, and yet we heard “mushroom cloud” rhetoric.

And we have to consider what precedent our “how and whys” have set. The precedent can’t be that we invade every country with evil dictators and oppressed people or we’ll be at war with half of Africa, North Korea and much of the Mid East. The precedent can’t be that we invade every country with links to Islamic terrorism or we need to gear up to fight Saudi Arabia, Iran, Syria, etc. And the precedent can’t be that we invade every country with WMD and hatred for the US or, again, North Korea and Iran should be next.

So what should the precedent be? Perhaps there isn’t one. Perhaps this was a one-time opportunity to establish a democracy in the heart of the Middle East while also ridding Iraq and the world of a true monster. It was a bold move to use such radical means to transform the Mid East (whose stability is critical to our national security). In the end, it wasn’t so much that Iraq was an imminent threat as that the entire region posed (and still poses) an imminent threat and the best way to address it was to dive right into the heart of the Middle East.

So while we at The Yellow Line support what our country is doing in Iraq and think the ultimate outcome will be decidedly positive, we believe that the nation needs to take a close look at how this administration led us to war. One of the reasons our country is so divided is because the means by which the Bush Administration “sold” the war seemed disingenuous to many, many citizens. In fact, those questionable means lost Bush the trust of millions of Americans, many of whom now distrust everything the administration does and achieves. That’s incredibly unhealthy for the union.

We can’t let that happen the next time we are faced with war. And, if history teaches us anything, there will be a next time.


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