August 18, 2002


The elusive case for a US-Iraq war (Helena Cobban, August 15, 2002, CS Monitor)
For any US President, the initiation of war against another country is momentous. If the aim of such a campaign is, as President Bush states on Iraq, the revolutionary goal of bringing about "regime change," then the stakes are even higher. Before he launches this campaign, Mr. Bush must seek the formal backing of Congress. And he must spell out clearly not just his goals in Iraq, but also his precise casus belli, or his reasons for voluntarily taking the country - and the world - into this war.

President Saddam Hussein's record as a repressive, totalitarian ruler is unquestioned. But it does not provide a valid reason to wage war against him and Iraq.

Why isn't that a valid reason? Obviously we aren't required to go to war against every repressive totalitarian, but given our 20th Century experience with totalitarians, why isn't the fact that they oppress and murder their own people, and more often than not become a threat to their neighbors, sufficient? Why do we hold up the appeasement of Hitler at Munich as one of the tragic errors in human history if we don't believe we have a right to do anything about such men until they attack us? Posted by Orrin Judd at August 18, 2002 11:14 AM
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