Bush isn’t ‘evil’ for invading Iraq

By Dan Streib

Last Tuesday, 42 more people were killed by terrorists in Iraq. When such violence happens, a need for rational discussion on the evil at hand emerges. Dealing with the evil of old – Saddam Hussein – is not generally constructive. We are fighting a good fight right now: There is nothing wrong with fighting al-Qaida and trying to save a young republic.

But many liberals are still focused on fighting the old battle. Why is this?

Well, as one who was a liberal a few years back, I can explain it bluntly: It is difficult to be told about fighting the good fight when we wouldn’t have to be fighting at all – if you’d had your way.

So, in order to promote meaningful dialogue about the current situation in Iraq, I wish to discuss the old disagreements. My goal here is not to say that the invasion was right, but rather, that the invasion was legitimate – in other words, we were not duped by the powers that be.

The idea that “Bush lied, people died” is very easy to refute: If Bush lied, so did the CIA and the most of Congress.

But any case arguing that the war was not a scam has to discuss the set of ideas put forth by the Bush administration to legitimize preemptive (or rather, preventive) war. The politically attuned refer this as the “Bush Doctrine.”

Many liberals mistakenly see this as an attempt by President Bush to make it okay for the U.S. to attack anybody on a whim. Viewing the Iraq war as such a “whim,” they hate it and they hate the president.

Since these people can’t listen to Mr. Bush, perhaps they should listen to someone quite to the left of our president: former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Mr. Blair reminded the world that since the cease-fire of the first Gulf War – which had a condition that Iraq destroy its weapons of mass destruction – there had been many U.N. resolutions asking Saddam to prove he had done just that. All he had to do was fully open his doors to U.N. inspectors.

Then the 9/11 terrorist attacks were carried out by al-Qaida. Mr. Blair argued that since that terrorist group (and many others) sought to acquire WMDs, the biggest violator of U.N. resolutions regarding WMDs had to be taken to account. That violator was Iraq.

And when Saddam showed no more intentions of cooperating than before, Blair used U.N. resolutions to justify taking military action.

If such an argument was the primary one given by Mr. Bush, many liberals would not be quite as frustrated about the war in Iraq. Furthermore, they would not view the war as “preemptive.”

However, President Bush is a conservative. Because of this, he is not fond of the U.N. – conservatives believe it erodes state sovereignty.

Despite an inability to make the U.N. argument against Saddam his primary one, President Bush agreed with Mr. Blair on the basic idea: Totalitarian regimes that stray outside the realm of decent conduct should cooperate with international bodies when suspected of having WMDs – especially if they’ve been caught before.

So, Bush decided to lay down a strategy that allowed for the United States to act against such states when it felt it had to – thus, the Bush doctrine of preventive war was founded.

When one views the Bush doctrine in these simple terms, it becomes apparent that it wasn’t an attempt to legitimize “cowboy diplomacy.” It was merely a way for a conservative president, who had legitimate grievances against the U.N., to deal with enemies in the same way that a liberal one could.

So, everyone needs to face the facts: The decision to go to war had a logical rationale behind it. If you disagree with that decision like I used to, then fine. I just have one request of you: Please realize that the invasion of Iraq was not some great act of evil.

If more people realized that, then maybe we’d be able to discuss current events in Iraq on more rational terms.

Dan is a sophomore in political science and thinks this column is more interesting than the paper he’s turning in today.