Regressive Arguments

Matthew Rothschild, editor of The Progressive magazine has laid out his case against an invasion of Iraq. As usually, his arguments fall flar for the most part, but they’re still worth picking apart. We’ll take his points in the order he presents them:

This invasion would be unconstitutional.

Congress has already granted the President the authorization to use force twice: once at the beginning of the Gulf War (an authorization that Clinton used to bomb Iraqi military installations during his term), and second post-September 11. Furthermore, the Bush Administration has said that they will seek out Congressional approval once more, and they are likely to get it.

It would be against international law.

International law is quite clear: Country A cannot attack Country B unless Country B has already attacked Country A or is about to attack Country A. Iraq has not attacked the United States. And it’s not about to. Saddam, as brutal as he is, loves to cling to power. He knows that attacking the United States would be suicidal.

There is no guarantee that Saddam wouldn’t attack the United States. There’s no guarantee that if he develops a WMD it won’t fall into the hands of someone who will. There’s no gurantee that the technology won’t be sold to someone who would use such a device. It is the height of stupidity to sit around and do nothing and allow Saddam Hussein to get a nuclear weapon. We dare not wait until millions are vaporized to act against Hussein.

Furthermore, Saddam Hussein has already violated the terms of the UN cease-fire and weapons inspection agreements. If anything, Saddam Hussein is the one in violation of international law.

It would violate the Christian doctrine of “just war.”

There is no causus belli–no precipitating act that Saddam Hussein has engaged in that would justify it.

Again, waiting for such an action would be foolish. We cannot wait for an unstable regime to gain weapons of mass destruction. I also find it highly ironic to see a member of the Left cite Christian doctrine when posting the Ten Commandments in a government building is tantamount to shredding the Constitution to many Leftists.

It is also highly immoral to fail to act against a regime we know is killing and torturing it’s citizens en masse.

It would further damage U.S. relations with its allies, relations that are already frayed by Bush’s mindless unilateralism.

Exactly what are the Europeans going to do about it? An economic boycott would be suicide, and they have no military ability to do anything. If they don’t have the spine to condemn a regime like Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, does anyone really think that they’ll do anything but hurl harsh words at us for taking on Iraq? Europe is impotent politically and militarily, and the world knows it. Once we finish with Iraq, they will eventually come around, they have no choice but to do so.

It would wreak havoc in the Muslim world, where there’s plenty of havoc already.

As I’ve said before, an Iraq with WMD capability would further destabilize the Middle East far more than it is now. To say that laying off Iraq is going to endear us to the Muslim world is ridiculous to the extreme. If anything, it will prove that these regimes can tweak the civilized world as much as they want without consequence. Setting that kind of example invites more attacks against both the United States and Israel. The right course of action is to prove that these regimes cannot flout international law and basic human rights without facing the harshest of consequences.

It could shake the U.S. economy, which is trembling right now.

We can easily rely on sources ranging from Russia to Norway to Alaska for our oil. If the Saudis cut their entire oil supply to the US, that would only amount to around 10% of our oil supply. Even then, that would be economic suicide for the Saudis who need to sell their oil more than we need to buy it. The US economy would be far worse off if we allowed Saddam to run free and terrorize the Middle East.

And most importantly, it could result in the deaths of thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, of innocent people.

Causualties would be unlikely to be that high. Baghdad is essentially a soft target as Saddam has moved most of his army away for fear of a coup. Most of the Iraqi Army would be surrender as they did in the first Gulf War. More civilian lives would be saved by the ability to distribute food and medical aid than would ever be lost in combat. The Left continually talked about the horrors of the sanctions against Iraq – now when given the chance to remove them safely and permanently those dying Iraqi children take the backseat to ideology.

Worst case: It could end with the United States dropping a nuclear bomb on Baghdad.

The chances of that happening are infinitesimal compared to the risk of nuclear device being used on New York or Tel Aviv, or a world-wide smallpox outbreak that would kill millions.

None of these points are sufficient to override the costs of inaction. If we fail to effectively deal with Iraq now, before they develop weapons of mass destruction, the costs in terms of US and world interests will be enormous. Despite the appeasement of the EU and the foot-dragging of the UN, action must be taken. If it must be taken alone, so be it, but we dare not let that prevent us from preventing something that would negatively alter the balance of power in the Middle East towards barbarism forever.

(Via InstaPundit)

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