20 December 2003

Who needs WMD when you've got Saddam?

The effort so far has taken two forms: the suggestion by administration officials, including Bush himself, that ousting and capturing Saddam were ample justifications for going to war; and the quiet dissolution of the nearly billion-dollar effort to find WMD in Iraq.

In a nationally televised interview earlier this week, Bush appeared to dismiss the relevance of whether Iraq actually had WMD and the possibility that Saddam might eventually have moved to acquire them. 'So what's the difference?' asked Bush, who later added that he was persuaded Saddam constituted 'a gathering threat, after 9/11 [September 11] ... that needed to be dealt with. 'And so we got rid of him, and there's no doubt the world is a safer, freer place as a result of Saddam being gone,' he went on.

At the same time, the reported decision by David Kay, director of the Iraq Survey Group (ISG), to step down as early as next month appeared to confirm that US intelligence agencies have concluded there are no WMD to be found in Iraq.

Is the world actually a safer, freer place? Did abandoning the UN charter really enhance safety and freedom? Has exacerbating Islamist hatred fro the West by invading Iraq really achieved very much?

I am not objectively pro-Saddam. I am tempted to say that Bush, Blair and Howard are objectively pro-Hu Jintao because they are doing nothing to remove him from power. They are objectively pro-Kim Jong-il because they are doing nothing to remove him from power. The idiocy of with us and against us arguments can run a long way.

Starting a war without reasonable prospects of success is wrong. Baghdad has been occupied and the Ba'ath has been driven from power. Whether a new and better Iraq emerges is yet to be seen. I do not think anyone still claims that Iraq is going to be a shining beacon of democracy or that the road to peace runs through there.

And, if WMDs make no difference, why did Bush not go before Congress and ask for a war resolution to liberate the Iraqi people? Why did Howard specifically disavow liberation as a war aim?

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