For War, But Reluctantly

This is part of my blog reclamation project. I’ve been blogging off and on since May 25, 2001, and in that time, I’ve used several blogging platforms, going from Pitas to Blogger to Upsaid and finally here at Typepad. Most of what I’ve written, which was at my old site on Upsaid, is lost, due to the fact that I was unable to update it—I was at war, and just didn’t have the time. But here’s what I’ve been able to find.

Those of you who’ve read my answers to the Cross-Blog Debate, thanks. If you’d like to comment, you can reach my main page @ http://www.upsaid.com/rafael. (note: don’t go there. It’s no longer up.)

Unfortunately, since my connection to the server was squirrelly this morning, I didn’t get to append my conclusion to my debate answers. If you asked me how eager I was for war with Iraq, my response would be: very, very reluctant. I don’t believe that Iraq is nearly the imminent threat to our national security that North Korea is, in terms of selling WMD—where do you think Yemen acquired its SCUD missiles from?—since Iraq, unlike North Korea, can make money from oil sales.

Furthermore, this Administration has seriously damaged our diplomatic relationships with much of the world. While we can go to war, and accomplish our objectives, without the benefit of Allied help, the question that needs to be asked is, do we want to do so?

My opinion is no. The short-term benefits of going it alone are outweighed by the long-term disadvantages of having to deal with, at best, passively supportive allies, and at worst, actively opposed enemies. While we may have a temporary massive advantage in the military sphere, this advantage is offset by the fact that our enemies will likely not engage us in that sphere.

Attacks will likely come in the diplomatic sphere (the UN, et al) and the economic sphere (tariffs, intrusive import inspections). Our enemy isn’t a state; it’s a non-governmental organisation: al-Qaeda. Attacking that NGO the way we would attack Iraq is pointless, since it would only move to another anarchic state (Sudan, Somalia, Liberia, Colombia…the list goes on) and set up operations there.

Our war isn’t with Iraq; it’s with al-Qaeda. While Iraq’s regime is brutal, and warrants removal, at the end of it all, al-Qaeda will still be around. In order to achieve our ultimate goal (the annihilation of al-Qaeda) we will need allies. The way we have been prepraring to go to war with Iraq fractures the fragile web of cooperation necessary for that victory. What will it profit America to have won an expected victory over Saddam if, at the end of that victory, we stand alone, with even more obligations, obligations that we cannot shirk, and worse, cannot share—because we have no one to share them with us?

True, there are nations in the world that stand with us; but, had we been less brusque, less hasty, how many more would be standing with us now? Indeed, the terror networks lie not in Latvia, but in France; and strike not in Sofia, but in Bonn.

Thanks to our haste in waging war, the cooperation of France and Germany is now lost, for a long time. And while you may sneer at the French and Germans, and call them denizens of “Old Europe”, the fact remains, those are two fairly large countries, with two fairly large Muslim populations, who will not be fairly willing to work with us in crushing our common enemy. An enemy, who at the end of this war, will still be present, and waxing, rather than waning, in strength.

Do I support this war? I do.

Should we have gone about it the way we have been? Absolutely not.

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