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War roundup « Previous | |Next »
February 27, 2003

I have become a little tired of the war with Iraq and I wanted a break from it for a moment. But war is more or less the main game in town. So I have returned to it with a bit of a roundup.

For those who want some information on the Iraq's nuclear weapons program this piece by KENNETH M. POLLACK may be useful. It says that Iraq may be further down the road than is realised given the track record of underestimating the capacity of the Iraqi regime to push the program along and his ability to hide what is going on. Basically the article argues that Saddam must be toppled because he cannot be deterred from using weapons of mass destruction (WMD). It concludes with this:

"Given Saddam Hussein's current behavior, his track record, his aspirations and his terrifying beliefs about the utility of nuclear weapons, it would be reckless for us to assume that he can be deterred. Yes, we must weigh the costs of a war with Iraq today, but on the other side of the balance we must place the cost of a war with a nuclear-armed Iraq tomorrow."

I do not endorse this position because it pretty much reduces everything down to the individual psychology of a tyrant--Saddam is suicidal. Preventive war is necessary because Saddam is a madman. For a defense of the War option by the Washington Post in reponse to critical letters to the editorsaying tha the paper has been beating the drums of war, see this editorial.

For a view that counters the claim that Saddam Hussein is reckless, ruthless and not fully rational, and that he can be deterred, see this. It offers an structural account in terms of regional conflict, balance of power within the hegemony of Iran in the Middle East and strategic considerations of national security in the face of a history of Iranian expansionism. It argues for a strategy of deterrence and vigilant containment, which is the position of public opinion.

For an account of the almost one third of the British Parliament rejecting Tony Blair's war now position due to lack of evidence, see this acount of the rebel vote in The Guardian. This recalls the Australian Senate passing a vote of no confidence in the Howard Government.

And President Bush has given a big speech about a post-Hussein Iraq. In it he reinvents himself as a neo-Wilsonian committed to the cosmopolitan imperative to spread liberty and democracy in the world and an advocate of a truly democratic Palestinian state. Underneth this sits the view that the US position on war represents "the just demands of the civilized world" and that the history of the civilized world will now be written by the US.

And in Australia? Well Ken Parish has a go at lefty cliches on war in his it is our business post. It is based on Alan Dupont's review of the federal Government's latest strategic review of defence. This indicates the "seminal shift in thinking about the nature and immediacy of the threats to Australia's security, and foreshadows significant changes to defence strategy and capabilities."

However, Ken gives no arguments against the "cliched" view that Australian should not go to war with Iraq because our national interest is not threatened by Iraq. Nor do I see any persuasive argument in Alan Dupont's article. What I see is a general statement against Fortress Australia in which the defence forces are structured to defend the Australia against a conventional military attack from a regional state.

[The Review] "firmly repudiates the notion that Australia's security interests are determined by geography. International terrorism and WMD proliferation are sober reminders that security, like everything else, has become globalised. Since our national interests and liberal democratic values are demonstrably threatened by the tyranny of armed despots and transnational terrorist organisations, logic dictates that our responses ought not be proscribed by distance or bound by arbitrarily drawn lines on a map."

How is Australia's national interests and liberal democratic values demonstrably threatened by the tyranny of armed despot in Iraq? Where is the debunking of the left's cliches?

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 11:10 PM | | Comments (2)


>>Where is the debunking of the left's cliches? In the (for paid subscription only) Wall Street Journal, silly billy. Big Pitcher Howard is the latest addition to their Op-ed page.

Tim Blair points out that John Howard's WSJ editorial is in the free online Opinion Journal section. One for the battlers.