Reader deconstructs Adams’ viewpoint on ‘practical case against war’
To the Daily:
I feel that Dan Adams’ viewpoint (A practical case against the war, 04/04/03) lacked basis. I have organized my response based on each of Adams’ paragraphs.
First scary: Anti-American sentiment is not a reason to go to war. It was present before the war and will be present after the war. The idea that it will fuel anti american sentiment in the much vaunted “Arab street” is valid. However, the message it sends to the governments of Arab countries like Syria and Iran is that we will take action. Since, it is the governments that have the power to supply money/arms and not the people, we should try to influence the governments.
Second scary: North Korea will not hold to deals made in diplomacy. Former President Bill Clinton knew this and examined the option of a military operation there but the proximity of Seoul to the demilitarized zone limits this. We will eventually go back to diplomacy with North Korea but we can not talk with a nation that is only issuing demands via nuclear threats. That is not diplomacy.
Third scary: “The mechanism that helped pull us through the Cold War.” I don’t know if Adams intended to give such credit to the United Nations, but it is definitely not what helped the United States win the Cold War. The Cold War was won by large military spending and a capitalist system to back it up. The U.N. was a place where we could talk to the Soviet Union and that is the reason we never dismissed it like we did the League of Nations. As for not talking to anyone, we did a lot of diplomacy (10-12 years) that Clinton didn’t do in Yugoslavia or Somalia (and rightly so).
Fourth scary: The dictatorships that we supported during the Cold War were the mechanisms by which we believed we could stop Soviet-backed regimes from gaining control. We didn’t do it out of pure sport. I do think we should learn from past actions and not support regimes such as those but I don’t see how removing a dictator is related to that.
Last paragraph sans a scary: In Adams’ last paragraph, he makes it a foregone conclusion that removing a brutal dictator will leave Iraq and subsequently the world in terrible shape. An Arab democracy in the Middle East is needed to stem the tide of militant Islamic groups (Wahabbism in Saudi Arabia, mullahs in Iran, Syria with Hamas and Hezbollah, to mention some major groups). War is terrible, but I think that appeasing Saddam for a decade is a mistake that is best corrected now.