Saturday, October 01, 2005

Shifting Rationale for the Iraq War

Secy. of State Condoleeza Rice gave a talk yesterday, at Princeton, said to be "an intellectually serious defense of Bush administration foreign policy."

The key idea is this:

People still differ about what the September 11th calls us to do. And in a democratic society, that debate is healthy and just and right. If you focus only on the attacks themselves and believe they were caused by 19 hijackers, supported by a network called al-Qaida, and operating from a failed state -- Afghanistan -- then our response can be limited. The course of action presumes that we are still living in an ordinary time.

But if you believe, as I do and as President Bush does, that the root cause of September 11th was the violent expression of a global extremist ideology, an ideology rooted in the oppression and despair of the modern Middle East, then we must speak to remove the source of this terror by transforming that troubled region. If you believe as we do, then it cannot be denied that we are standing at an extraordinary moment in history.

First, the war in Iraq was on the grounds of its possession of weapons of mass destruction. Saddam was not one of the ideologues or followers of this global extremist ideology; if anything, the Islamist ideology of al Zawahiri was aimed against Saddam and leaders like him.

Second, this so-called global extremist ideology was quite impotent until it was armed by the Carter and Reagan administrations to fight the jihad against the Soviets in Afghanistan. After the Soviets pulled out, Bush Sr. and Clinton did nothing effective to leash in the dogs of war.

Third, even if we accept that it is our need and responsibility to transform the Middle East, it is not at all clear that invading it is the way to go. After all, we aren't invading China which also is ruled by a dangerous ideology, we're investing in it and trading with it.

Fourth, if the President in 2002 had said, we have to go to war to establish democracy in Iraq, then the statement above would have some credibility. If the American public could not be persuaded to go to war on that basis, then regardless of need, it would be wrong to go to war; after all, it is the public that bears the casualities and pays the bills. We now stand on the verge of failure in Iraq because the President failed to make the Iraq war a national enterprise.

[Update] P.C. Roberts

....Republican minority token Condi Rice was dispatched to Princeton last week to inform the university that democracy comes out of the barrel of a gun. US military force, said the secretary of state with a straight face, is required to force democracy down the throats of the Muslims in order to save future American generations from "insecurity and fear."
Condi Rice’s speech at Princeton has branded her as the greatest fool ever to be appointed Secretary of State.

1 comment:

CapitalistImperialistPig said...

Arun - We now stand on the verge of failure in Iraq ...

It looks more like slipping and sliding down the slippery slope to me - with freefall never far away.