Some Call It A Victory
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Some Call It A Victory 

There is probably nearly universal satisfaction that Saddam Hussein no longer rules Iraq. But to proclaim the US/British defeat of the Iraqi military forces as a great victory and a cause for celebration, overlooks both the costs to date and the likely future consequences. The obvious costs are the deaths of the soldiers and civilians in this war, along with the physical destruction in Iraq. And there are also the monetary costs of the war and the reconstruction efforts. 

Less quantifiable, but very real, are the damages to the international system of law as represented by the United Nations. The disdain for the international community and the use of raw military power will lead others to pursue similar paths. While this discretionary war may have intimidated some, it has also generated near universal anger in the rest of the world. The Arab world’s attitude towards the US may have fallen into a crater from which it will never emerge. These consequences, while they may not generate dramatic TV images, are likely to be broad, subtle and extremely long-lasting. 

Building something up is very different from blowing it up. Building a peace and a stable international order requires more wisdom than even the smartest bomb. Trying to impose a US-dominated regime on Iraq will only generate opposition from the freedom loving people of that country. Based on the evidence to date, the Bush administration does not have any real understanding either of other cultures or of international relations. Thus their efforts at nation building, or at establishing an international order based on anything more than fear of the US, are tragically doomed to failure. 

The best future plan both for the United States and for the people of Iraq is to remove the US & British military forces from that country as soon as possible and turn over the reconstruction to a truly neutral international program operated by the United Nations with Arab participation. 

David E. White – 4/12/03 

The love of liberty is the love of others. The love of power is the love of ourselves. -- William Hazlitt
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( This page was last updated on:  05/04/2004 )