May 31, 2003

Casus Belli

I'm shocked. I agree 100% with Paul Wolfowitz on this point:

there have always been three fundamental concerns. One is weapons of mass destruction, the second is support for terrorism, the third is the criminal treatment of the Iraqi people. Actually I guess you could say there's a fourth overriding one which is the connection between the first two.

The third one by itself, as I think I said earlier, is a reason to help the Iraqis but it's not a reason to put American kids' lives at risk, certainly not on the scale we did it.
Let me repeat regarding Saddam's treatment of the Iraqi people: "'s not a reason to put American kids lives at risk." So folks, lets all just stop using the Saddam is a bad guy as adequate in itself as justification.

And, I never thought I'd thank William Kristol for a pointer to anything but it was his article that led me to this quote which has been lost in discussion of another Wolfowitz statement on WMDs. Also via RealClear Politics and James Joyner who was posting on an unrelated subject.

Update: In depth on this from Tim Dunlop and another view from Jerome Badattitudes Doolittle.

Posted by Steve on May 31, 2003

Well if you take the argument back a few steps, and say "there is no justification to steal a huge chunk of other people via tax to build up this honking great military" then you have quite a reasonable argument. But it was done anyway and so this formidable army, navy and airforce is a reality, like it or not.

The 'putting american kids at risk' argument however is weak indeed. They are all volunteers, unlike the kidnapped conscripts of the Vietnam era, so forgive me if their safety is only of secondary concern to me. Let them quit and get a job at Burger King if the idea of getting shot at does not appeal to them. I am not indifferent to the deaths of British or US soldiers but risking death in far off places is exactly what they volunteered for and it is why they get paid out of my tax money.

Posted by Perry de Havilland at May 31, 2003 6:08 PM

Perry, agreed that they are all volunteers, etc., etc.

The point is that Wolfowitz and, apparently, the rest of the Bushies did not consider the 'Bad Saddam' argument adequate justification for the war.

And, pending, potential significant WMD discoveries or delineation of real al Qaeda ties "Bad Saddam' is all that is left. That would be too bad.

Oh, and regarding saying "there is no justification to steal a huge chunk of other people via tax to build up this honking great military." I pretty much agree with this.

Yep, this formidable military does exist. This does not mean it needs to be used as it was in Iraq.

Posted by Steve at May 31, 2003 7:31 PM
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