Don't Panic! February 26 2003

Your war questions answered

Are there any good reasons to oppose a U.S. invasion of Iraq?

People who oppose a U.S. invasion of Iraq are just trying to appease Saddam. They want Saddam to move here and take over. Who better than Saddam to tackle some our most pressing problems?

Street crime? Saddam will fix that with a few public executions. Education? The threat of after-school detention, Iraqi-style, will boost American test scores dramatically inside of a semester. Kurdish separatism? OK, so maybe we don't actually have a Kurdish separatist problem in the United States. But getting Saddam over here now will insure that we never will.

Despite what talk-radio hosts keep saying, anyone who opposes an invasion isn't automatically a Saddam lover. It's possible to abhor Iraq's dictator and his crimes while simultaneously opposing an American invasion. That's because there are plenty of potential problems with an invasion. Here are some. If you want the pro-invasion side, just turn on the TV.

Invading Iraq violates international law: The anti-war crowd's wish for the U.S. to abide by international law isn't just geekish devotion to an abstract legal concept. This isn't one of those sissy international laws, like that one about how we're not allowed to fish in Canadian waters.

Any law that threatens my supply of cheap sushi is clearly a stupid law. Breaking the "no warring except in self-defense" law though is a big deal. Along with human rights and free trade, it's among the most important foundations of international law and cooperation. If we trash that pillar, we're essentially saying, "Screw international law. We're the toughest kid on the block, so from now on, it's every man for himself."

Invading Iraq will encourage the use of weapons of mass destruction: By the CIA's analysis, Saddam is a rational thug bent on self-preservation. He'd rather live than die, so in the past, the chance of him using WMDs against us was small, because he knew he'd die by nuclear response if he did. By announcing "regime change" as the goal of invasion in early 2002, we've told Saddam, "Hey, you're gonna die anyway," thus removing his only incentive not to use WMDs against us or Israel. If he nukes or gasses us or Israel, we or Israel could end up nuking him.

Invading Iraq will encourage the spread of nuclear weapons: Iraq has no nukes and a U.N. weapons inspections program in place. North Korea has nukes, the ability to drop them on Japan, South Korea and California, and no U.N. inspectors. Yet we're invading Iraq, but negotiating with North Korea. The lesson to dictators around the world: get a nuke — fast! — and Bush's so-called tough policies against terror won't be worth the teleprompter off of which he reads them.

Invading Iraq (hypocritically) ignores real problem countries: There's already a country with a dictatorship giving nuclear technology to our worst enemies. It's called Pakistan. There's already a fundamentalist Muslim country that funnels tens of millions to terrorists. It's called Saudi Arabia.

The president's stated objective is to keep the most dangerous weapons out of the hands of the most dangerous regimes. If he's serious about that, shouldn't those two countries be getting as much of our attention as Iraq? Instead, we bend over backward to pretend they're our allies.

We should make love instead of war: This is the anti-war crowd's weakest argument. The truth is that when the war breaks out, millions of Americans, including me, will be inspired by war's uncertainty to get jiggy. Contrary to the slogan, we're capable of doing both simultaneously.


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