|Justification for Iraq war
By CHARLES M. KELLY
Special to the Daily
| According to syndicated columnist Donald Lambro,
“Getting rid of Saddam was (the) right thing to do.”
Then he followed the usual procedure that you hear on
TV and radio talk shows, in which supporters of the Iraq war
start the discussion with “Are we better off because Saddam is
no longer the leader of Iraq?” Then they make the following
• Saddam was a ruthless leader who brutalized
his own people;
Even if Saddam didn’t have WMDs,
he was planning to have them;
The Iraqi people are
better off without Saddam;
The U.S. is safer
because Saddam is gone, and
We have neutralized
one more source of world terrorism.
Even if one is
willing to grant the validity of each of these points, it
still doesn’t mean that we should have gone to war with Iraq.
As any management consultant will tell you, proactive
leadership is not just coming up with the right answer to a
specific question – it’s far more important to identify and
ask the right question to begin with.
The question we
should be discussing is: What is the best use of our human and
financial resources for fighting terrorism, and providing for
our homeland security? Phrased that way, the question becomes
a slam-dunk for those opposed to the war in Iraq.
National security is our No. 1 priority and it should
by now be clear to everyone that Iraq is far down the list of
concerns when it comes to fighting terrorism. Consider:
The reason the U.S. supported Hussein in the
first place was that he was the only one we felt was ruthless
enough to pacify all the warring factions in that region. Now
who are we going to put in charge?
not active in Iraq until we “won” the war there. Now Iraq is a
magnet for terrorists.
Since the first Iraq war,
Iraq has not been an imminent threat to the U.S., or even to
its immediate neighbors.
For all practical
purposes, we’ve abandoned Afghanistan and chosen to ignore the
problems in Pakistan – the real centers for harboring and
encouraging terrorists. And this doesn’t include other obvious
problems such as Korea, the Philippines, Indonesia, Colombia,
and on and on, throughout our troubled world.
From all accounts, we’ve under-financed our
obvious first line of homeland security: local police, fire
departments, border patrols, accident and emergency units, and
Last, but not least, we’ve over-extended
ourselves financially to the point where we are endangering
our future ability to meet the real terrorist threats when
they emerge elsewhere – or right here at home.
important part of any discussion is to make sure you pose the
right question. If the question is biased from the beginning,
and all of those discussing it accept it, there’s no way to
arrive at good conclusions.
So, the next time someone
wants to discuss whether invading Iraq got some good results –
or what will happen to Iraq if we get out as soon as possible
– I wish someone would point out that that’s not the issue.
The issue is: What is the best use of our human and
financial resources for homeland security? It’s definitely not
to bankrupt ourselves in a low-priority cause. Even if it were
possible to make Iraq a model of the ideal democratic
secular/Moslem country, we don’t have enough resources to do
it, and still meet our obligations to our own citizens.
(Chuck Kelly is a retired management
consultant living in Prescott, and is author of “The
Destructive Achiever; Power and Ethics in the American
Corporation.” E-mail him firstname.lastname@example.org.)