Thursday, April 9, 2009

Terrorism and the Iraq War

The Iraq War is often condemned as a bad idea from the get-go. I disagree. Ignoring for the moment the fact that the Bush administration always gave a cumulative case argument to justify the Iraq War, I think it could be justified simply as the second stage in the war on terrorism. In this I don't mean that it was ultimately the right decision or that good arguments can't be made against it. I merely mean that it wasn't unreasonable. It made (and makes) sense.

After the Taliban had been removed from power in Afghanistan, it was a reasonable step to remove from power the government with the most ties to terrorism. This was believed at the time to be Saddam Hussein, and this has since been proven by captured Iraqi documents.

One might argue that if we went to war with Iraq, then it's hypocritical to not go to war with other countries that have extensive ties to terrorism as well (such as Iran, Syria, and North Korea). But 1) these other countries didn't have the extent of ties to terrorism as Saddam Hussein had; and 2) there is nothing hypocritical in finding you have several enemies and going after them one at a time rather than all at once.

Obviously there is more to this issue than just ties to terrorism. There was the fear of WMDs, the hope that removing Saddam from power would encourage other governments to sever their ties to terrorism without military action, humanitarian concerns, the strategy with which the Iraq War was fought, etc. But simply looking at the issue as the next stage in the war on terrorism, it seems to me that removing the greatest terrorist supporting regime in the world was a reasonable course of action.

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