Voice from the Commonwealth
Commentary, World Views and Occasional Rants from a small 'l' libertarian in Massachussetts

"If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest for freedom, go home and leave us in peace. We seek not your council nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen." - Samuel Adams

Wednesday, July 31, 2002

Now I know the Apocalypse is near. The Guardian has printed a column by a writer who goes to some lengths to show exactly why we must move against Saddam.

Faced with the ruthless, terrorist nature of the regime, the Iraqi people alone cannot change their government. Only outside intervention can do that. If war begins, Iraqis at all levels will understand that the cost of keeping Saddam is too high. The question then is: who will succeed him? Any immediate successor will probably come from the military. That need not be bad. The first and most important thing is to get rid of Saddam's regime. When he falls there will be dancing in the streets of Baghdad, as there was in Kabul when the US drove out the Taliban. The Iraqis will be rid of a monstrous incubus.

There is also a compelling regional argument for removing Saddam - the Israel-Palestine impasse. Many believe that we cannot take on Saddam as long as the current state of war exists. I would argue the opposite: So long as Saddam is in power there can be no realistic hope of a solution.

Some of the critics of war - such as the Archbishop of Canterbury designate - voice honest concerns. But when you consider the nature of the beast, it is the consequences of the failure to act which should terrify us. It will be much harder to take him on in 10 years' time - his nuclear and other weapons will be far more dangerous.

He even goes on to not only defend but laud America for taking down the Taliban. And to reprove those who dennounce America for no other reason than to hear themselves talk and gain prestige with those who hate the West.

If September 11 and America's response to it had not happened, think of the world we would still be living in: the Taliban would still be in power, terrorising Afghans; Bin Laden and al-Qaida would still be planning other outrages unrestricted. The same is true of Saddam today. He not only oppresses his own people savagely but also represents untold dangers to the region and to the world. His defiance also makes a mockery of the international legal system as represented by the UN. The UN's basic responsibility for the "maintenance of international peace and security" is daily undermined by a dictator of whose malign intent there is no doubt. To appease him endlessly is to weaken the UN. That, too, is both dangerous and immoral.

While it would be preferable to have a new UN security council resolution authorising military action against Saddam Hussein, as Rowan Williams argues, it is not strictly necessary. Saddam is already in defiance of existing resolutions and article 51 of the UN charter provides the right to self-defence against the threat he poses to all of us.

Moreover, we all know that the security council, a political body, does not always provide an adequate defence against evil. The council refused to help Rwandans during the genocide of 1994. Nato's 1999 action in defence of Muslims in Kosovo was conducted without a council resolution - because Russia and China would have vetoed it. Weighing the risks of action against Iraq is entirely proper. It is very difficult for the international community to deal with intransigent evil.

Much less legitimate is the anti-American abuse from, for example, the infantile Daily Mirror, the singer George Michael and those journalists (some on the Guardian) who depict Blair as Bush's poodle. They disgrace themselves by demeaning the argument. I repeat: the decision of how to deal with Saddam is not an easy one. Much depends on how you perceive the threat. In my view, the threat from Saddam is intolerable. Washington is right - the regime must be changed. And Tony Blair is right to support Washington.

< email | 7/31/2002 11:29:00 PM | link

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