Response of an American Citizen on the Morality of the Iraq War

From an e-mail responding to an Argentine friend who is suddenly extremely upset about the War, typing in all caps and on the cusp of anti-Semitism. I try to explain things from the perspective of an American Citizen:

Changing Iraq’s government is only one reason I support the War. We strengthened Saddam’s hold on power when he fought Iran, we left him in power in 1991, when we shouldn’t have. America is already responsible when he tortures Iraqis, just as we are responsible for Pinochet’s crimes. In removing Saddam, we are trying to right a wrong that is our doing. Just as it is wrong to go to War, and it is wrong to impose our will on other peoples, it is also wrong to strengthen a brutal leader and then ignore the suffering of his people, it is also wrong to leave that leader with weapons that he could sell to terrorists, it is also wrong to believe that “containment” will work when it has apparently only further strengthened the bad guy and increased the suffering of the people, and it is also wrong if you believe that you will have to go to war to wait longer to fight when waiting will only make the situation worse. I see two sets of wrongs to choose from. The lesser of these evils is the “right” answer, in my mind, to a question that has no true answer.

As for the Palestinians, nobody has rationalized a solution to help them out. It is the Israelis who are rightly scared of the Palestinians, and the Palestinians who are rightly angered that nobody in the world will ever help them. We are guilty of Palestinian suffering because of our aid to Israel. The rest of the world, especially the Arab world, is guilty of Palestinian suffering because they will not give the Palestinians refuge. If America proposed a solution to this problem, I might support that as well. But we haven’t, and there are a million other injustices that are not being addressed, so I don’t see what the problems of the Palestinians has to do with America’s entanglements in Iraq. I am neither an Arab nor a Jew: I’m an American who is, as always, trying to figure out if the things my leaders do in my name is right or not.

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Categories: Politics

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