I know that there've been many threads and posts about Iraq, but I just found this article posted on a news forum I frequent and it summed up all that I've been reading so well, that I thought some others might find this helpful and enlightening.
12 arguments against war, rebutted
Friday, March 07, 2003
To sum up: In going to war against Iraq, the United States is engaged in a unilateral, unprovoked attack on a sovereign country, whose regime it once supported. Not only is this in clear defiance of international law and the United Nations, it sets a precedent that can only invite other countries to do the same.
There is no proof that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction. Even if it does, it poses no imminent threat -- certainly none to justify the incalculable risks of war: regional instability, Muslim resentment, terrorist reprisals, to say nothing of the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilian deaths. And to the extent that Saddam does pose a threat, he is and can be contained, through a combination of sanctions and inspections.
That is the case against war, in all its essentials. Follow me now, as I attempt the world land-speed record for most points rebutted in a single column.
unilateral -- At last count, more than 30 countries had declared their support, including 18 from Europe and six from the Arab world.
unprovoked -- The present conflict is best regarded as a continuation of the Gulf War, which began with Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1990 and ended with a ceasefire in 1991. The terms of the ceasefire, notably Saddam's immediate disarmament of all weapons of mass destruction, have never been honoured.
a sovereign country -- Iraq gave up its right to non-interference the moment it invaded Kuwait.
whose regime it once supported -- Beside the point. If anything, it rather argues for toppling Saddam, as atonement.
clear defiance of international law -- International law is anything but clear, being no more than an evolving consensus on what the world will or will not tolerate. But for the record, the 17 UN resolutions with which Saddam has failed to comply over the last 12 years all come under Chapter VII of the UN charter, the "force" chapter; several specifically authorize their enforcement by "all necessary means."
and the United Nations -- The UN is not a world government. The Security Council is not a Supreme Court. It is France, and Russia, and the rest: countries in ruthless pursuit of their own national interest. If they refuse to enforce their own resolutions, how is that supporting the UN?
sets a precedent -- This would hardly be the first time one country had been invaded by another (or rather, 30 others): Ask France. Or China. Or any number of other countries, none of whom bothered to ask the UN before invading, and on far less principled grounds. The notion that countries decide whether to attack one another by consulting precedent -- or international law, for that matter -- is one of the more charming fictions of the current debate. India has no need of a precedent for going to war with Pakistan, having done so three times in living memory. That it chooses not to do so now is entirely based on calculations of self-interest.
no proof -- Iraq confessed to producing and storing massive stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, though not until high-level defectors ratted them out. It has never, in 12 years, produced a scrap of evidence to suggest it has destroyed them.
no imminent threat -- A murderous dictator with a record of aggression, a thirst for revenge, a 30-year quest for nuclear weapons, and a list of terrorist clients as long as your arm. If that's not an imminent threat, what is? Or if you don't think Saddam's a threat to the United States, how about Israel? Or Kuwait? Or Saudi Arabia? Is it to be supposed, after all these years, that this self-proclaimed Saladin, with his dreams of an Arab superpower, now seeks the quiet life? What do you think he's hoarding all these weapons for?
incalculable risks -- Anyone can come up with a list of disasters that might conceivably arise, from any action. But until you attach some probability to these, they are of little guidance. It is not at all clear that the region would be destabilized by a quick and decisive war, or that the liberation of Iraq's 20 million Islamic citizens would inspire Muslim resentment, or that terrorists need an excuse to attack. It remains possible it could all go horribly wrong. But think about that for a moment. That George Bush is willing to take that risk, with all that it would mean, not only for the region but for his own citizens -- and, to be crass, his presidency -- not to mention the hundreds of billions of dollars in proven costs, to the treasury and to the economy, suggests how great he believes the risks of inaction to be.
hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilian deaths -- There is no basis to these forecasts. No one can say with certainty how many will die, on either side. But the choice is not between war, with all its costs, and peace. It is between war now, and war later -- or a nuclear-armed Saddam, which is the worst outcome of all.
is and can be contained -- If only. Sanctions, without which inspections are useless, collapsed long ago: Saddam is selling as much oil today, legally or illegally, as before the Gulf War. The first round of inspections were a farce, the second scarcely better, with a four-year gap in between. Finally, the inspections are only happening now because of the presence of American troops. The minute the troops go home, so do the inspectors.