Thursday, 8 July 2004

Ridding the World of Despots

Not all obvious statements support our eventual conclusions. Here are a couple which taken by themselves seem to suggest that the decision to go to war was justified.

Iraq is well served to be rid of Saddam Hussein.
Saddam Hussein would be in power today had the U.S. not militarily overthrown him.

I was adamantly opposed to the war before it occurred, and remain convinced it was an ill-conceived policy, implemented incorrectly, today. Still I'm not going to spend an iota of my intellectual capital trying to refute either of those two obvious statements. The long term brutality of Saddam was absolutely abhorrent, and regardless of how outraged some of us may be at what we see as outright deceptions used to justify our military action, we really ought to rejoice that at least Saddam has lost his power.

Now one thing that the community of nations ought to be doing is working on strategies for removing despots from power wherever they arise. It's a tough problem, but it deserves a lot more attention than it's getting. And I'm sorry, no matter how much one may believe in The Project for the New American Century, it's just not a tenable answer that the U.S. should be responsible for militarily overthrowing every tyrant that arises. Our military is already stretched too thin from two such enterprises, aside from the terrible cost in human lives of using such an approach for every despot. I wish I had the answer, but ignoring the problem isn't it.

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