I was never too satisfied with my own attempt to articulate my position on the looming conflict but I am extremely satisfied with Azeem’s “War now is better than war later”.
The gist of the argument is that, yes, Bush is evil too, and his henchmen are making a mess of the process, but since we’ve put up the forces and the rhetoric to fight a war, it is best to get the thing over with and move forward in the world. I would add to this the obvious, that Saddam Hussein is unlikely to go away on his own, and the sooner we disarm him, however clumsily, and with whatever unknowable repurcussions, we’re still better off than with a wacko tin-pot dictator in the Middle East giving the shaft to his own people, and quite possibly giving nasty things to the enemies of his enemy to mess with us.
I also appreciate the reminder that just as American War is motivated by oil, French and Russian Peace is also tainted by crude. More than anything, though, it seems that Chirac is jealous not only of America’s power, but that a spoiled brat from Texas is willing to wield this power. It cheapens a French leader’s sense of self-importance, especially when small, emerging democracies on the same continent have the temerity to speak up and suggest that “maybe the moron has a point.”
It isn’t so simple as choosing between the lesser of two evils. It boils down to the fact that, rightly or wrongly, the issue has been brought to a head, and it must be resolved. The choice for the free world is to lose credibility by backing down, and allow a dictator to continue screwing his people, while contemptuously defying the will of the United Nations, or to let the United States go to war yet again, and deal with the consequences of the ensuing bungles of American foreign policy.
The best course to me seems for the nations of the world to let President Bush do what with his limited imagination he is capable of doing – let him have his war, let the bombs fall, and the people die, because however terrible war is, it is not definitively worse than the current “peace” – the smarter leaders of more progressively sober-minded, peace-loving countries should get together and hammer out the plan for what happens next in Iraq. Bush can be trusted with war, but Americans running a Muslim country is one of the things that seems to scare everyone; Those who want what’s best should accept what is likely to happen and best prepare for an aftermath.