As I’ve read as much as I can about Saddam Hussein, Iraq, I’ve learned that lots of thoughtful people whose political inclinations are similar to my own favor removing Saddam Hussein, even if force is required to do so. There’s a compelling argument to be made that Saddam’s combination of belligerence toward other countries, brutality toward his own people, and desire to build an arsenal of weapons of mass destruction that he can use to intimidate his neighbors and stymie the United States and Israel all add up to a problem that has to be solved sooner rather than later. When you lump in the fact that we’re already militarily entangled with Iraq by way of the no fly zones we enforce and that our ongoing sanctions regime against Iraq translates to further misery for the Iraqi people, it seems like we’re going to have to either back off or go to war.
The question is why we can’t seem to convince people in other countries that we need to take care of this Iraq problem. There seems to be a reasonably wide spectrum of debate in the United States about what should be done — worldwide, sentiment seems to be strongly against war. It seems to me that one of the major reasons this is the case is that a good part of the resistence is simply reflexive. The Bush administration has acted unilaterally at every opportunity since he took office. Whether it was our insistence on voiding the ABM treaty so we could work on pie in the sky missile defense schemes, or rejecting the International Criminal Court entirely, or nixing the Kyoto Protocol against global warming without providing any alternative suggestions, or our newfound love of things like steel tarriffs, the Bush administration has thorougly rejected any course of action that might make it seem like we’re willing to cooperate with other nations around the world. Now, when we go to nations around the world to convince them that Iraq is a problem common to everyone in the world, our “my way or the highway” stance comes back to blow up in our face.
The other problem is that I think our difficulties with other countries are just a symptom of the Bush adminsitration’s allergy to accountability. The Bush administration doesn’t care to be accountable to Congress, or the courts, or to the American people, and certainly doesn’t believe in any accountability to our erstwhile allies and partners overseas. One would hope that this problem will be solved in November, 2004.