Friday, February 25, 2011

Time to Own Up and Admit a Mistake

Why aren't the neo-cons, who MUST now admit that Saddam had neither WMD nor ties to Al-Qaida, either (a.) apologizing for jumping the gun and invading Iraq, or (b.) clamoring for an invasion of Libya to overthrow a deranged dictator who has oppressed his people for decades, is murdering his opponents in the streets and is culpable in one of the largest terrorist attacks on Americans in history (i.e., PanAm/Lockerbie) prior to 2001? It just seems to me that their chest-thumping defense of the Iraq war is irreconcilable with their silence on Libya. Could it be that they were wrong in 2003?

If you watch the recent 60 Minutes interview of Donald Rumsfeld, you'll see that the former Secretary of Defense still cannot bring himself to admit that, knowing what he knows now, it was a mistake to invade Iraq on the pretext of preventing Saddam Hussein from using weapons of mass destruction. According to Rumsfeld, the world and the Iraqi people are better off without Hussein, justifying the U.S. invasion leading to his overthrow.

All things being equal, Rumsfeld may be right. The world may very well be better off without Saddam Hussein. I just believe this view misses the point. There are many evil-doers (President Bush's term, not mine) whose demise would shift the cosmic balance towards love and harmony. That, in and of itself, does not give the United States the legal or moral authority to act unilaterally to bring about such a shift. If Rumsfeld and his supporters believe otherwise, they should be pressing for U.S. intervention in Libya to remove the murderous Khadaffi from power.

If, in the alternatve, they recognize that the 2003 invasion was ill-conceived, relying on questionable intelligence from uncredible sources, and not justified in light of the absence of WMD, they should have the decency to admit it. They have an affirmative moral obligation to use the mistakes of President George W. Bush's administration to persuade those they blinded with patriotic rhetoric that the consensus building approaches of President George H.W. Bush and President Obama make more sense in the short term and in the long run.

Diplomacy, not pre-emptive war-mongering, needs to be the standard by which we exist in the community of nations.

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