Thursday, October 04, 2007

The Iraq War

The Iraq War - I am against it. I was from the beginning. As soon as I heard that we were going to bomb Afghanistan to start a global "War on Terror." I felt my stomach drop. These terrorist groups are essentially Gadianton Robbers, it doesn't help to punish the innocent people that surround them. At least in Afghanistan there was a resistant movement to replace the Taliban, which did have direct links to terrorist groups. Every speech about Iraq seemed like such double-speak. Their justifications about weapons of mass destruction were based on a house of cards that I have a hard time believing could have been true.

I hate though hearing from anti-war groups that we need to pull out because of the loss of American Soldier's lives. Their lives are Precious, but the casualty rates are so low compared to World War II, Vietnam. I have been watching Ken Burn's WW II documentary on PBS and the Iraq war is a skirmish compared to WWII.

The biggest argument against the war is not our loss of life, but what we have done to destroy the country of Iraq and its people. The number of civilian casualties is huge. Refugees are fleeing to neighboring countries. And it is our fault. These are people who should be our friends and allies and we have allowed the insurgency to rage so high they have no choice but to escape. Yet we are not bringing them here.

We operate huge prisons where American G.I.s torture civilians. We hold enemy combatants for indeterminate periods of time in foreign countries like Cuba and in secret CIA prisons with no possibility for review, trial or defense. What limits does this war have? We are supposed to be the good guys and we are acting like thugs.

I am in favor of us spreading freedom around the world, as our commander in chief is found of saying, but we are not doing that. We are not living up to the ideals set forward in our own constitution and how can we succeed if we do that?


Jon said...

Thanks for addressing this Brian. I totally agree with you. Yes, we should not have gone in there in the first place, but we did. I feel it would be inhuman to leave those people high and dry by pulling out in 6 months as many are asking for. To me it seems like a bad bad situation. I fell like many politican want a pull out because it sounds good but I don't think it is a good idea for the rest of the world in the long run.

Where are the checks and ballances our government is supposed to have? How much power does the executive branch need to abuse until we stop them? How many civilians died during our "shock and awe" bombing of Bagdad?

The damage we have inflicted on Iraq horrible but will take a long time to fix. This war is unlike other wars we have fought.

Douglas Enzor said...

I remember extensively debating the proposed Iraq war over a CU philosophy department listserv in late 2002. My chief opponent was an articulate U.S. marine, very pro-war. My instincts were against it, but I reluctantly supported an intervention for six reasons.

1) In 2002, the U.S. had a clear moral obligation to the people of Iraq for having abandoned them following the Gulf War in 1991.

2) In 2002, none of the U.N. organizations charged with ensuring Iraq’s disarmament were able to conclude that all WMD had been seized or destroyed.

3) In the post-9/11 environment, there was, worldwide, reduced tolerance for terrorist-friendly regimes, especially those with a history of non-compliance with U.N. weapons inspectors, and the government of Saddam Hussein was a known supporter of Palestinian terrorists.

4) U.S. political leaders stated repeatedly that any intervention in Iraq would be modeled on the successful Kosovo intervention of 1999, and that there would be no long-term U.S. military occupation.

5) U.S./U.N. sanctions against Iraq had killed, by 1996, at least half a million Iraqi children, and by 2002 the situation was appallingly worse; a new war, at a minimum, had the potential to change political conditions sufficiently such that these sanctions could be lifted.

6) The intervention in Iraq had morally credible supporters, and was conceived in partnership by a conservative American government and a liberal British government. Other supporters included Bernard Kouchner, founder of Doctors Without Borders; most of the U.S. House and Senate, including nearly all current presidential contenders (the exceptions are Barack Obama and Ron Paul); the president of the Mormon Church (see his op-ed, published sometime around March 2003, in the Deseret News); most previous U.S. Secretaries of State and Defense; and most U.S journalists and political writers.

Nevertheless, the Iraq War is undoubtedly one of the great moral, political, and fiscal catastrophes of the last sixty years. The lofty reasons have all fallen to earth. I agree with everything Brian wrote, save one: I think we are wrong to persist in trying to salvage this situation. We should leave. I have supported leaving for four years and I have seen nothing in four years to make me doubt the wisdom of such a policy. The Iraq Study Group concluded on 6 December 2006 that the situation in Iraq was “grave and deteriorating.” If statistics are any indication, most things have worsened since then. Our continuing efforts in Iraq demonstrate nothing but our inexhaustible vanity. There is nothing, or almost nothing, that we can do as an occupier. We resemble the British in India and the French in Algeria. It is fundamentally beyond our power to do what we are trying to do.

Brian Gardunia said...

I am not sure we shouldn't pull out. I just think we owe a debt now to the Iraqi's and should do everything in our power to make things right.

That could mean staying, or leaving as soon as possible, I don't know, negotiating with insurgent groups, allowing more Iraqi's asylum in the US, Setting up a Muslim peace keeping force - maybe made of Egyptians, Jordanians, Malaysians, Filipinos, Kuwaiti's, etc.

We definitely need to stop Guantanamo bay, Abu Ghraib, etc. And we need to be infusing dollars into reconstructing Iraq.