[Vision2020] Will War Cause What We Want to Prevent

Mike Curley curley@turbonet.com
Thu, 30 Jan 2003 16:56:46 -0800

Ted Moffatt started a recent note as follows:

The argument we awe being presented by the Bush 

to justify war against Iraq is...that Iraq sponsors terrorism, 
is secretlyharboring or developing weapons of mass 
destruction, and threatens other nations in the middle 
east, all while flaunting United Nation resolutions to 
disarm.  OK. [end of quote]

That is the way that I, too, understand the argument.  But 
the question that results is this:


(a) Saddam actually has such weapons, and 

(b)  has not yet ostensibly used them


if we attack 

(a) isn't he more likely to use them, and 

(b) thereby kill or maim (tens or hundreds of) thousands  


 if we continue to negotiate, inspect, pressure, and retain 
restrictions on individual and group movement into and 
out of Iraq?

Stated another way:  by attacking, are we more likely to 
suffer the damage against which we are trying to protect 

It only takes one major nuclear, biological, or chemical 
terrorist "event" to do even greater damage than the 
World Trade Center attacks.  And if someone 
demonstrates (credibly) that it is much more likely we 
avoid such an incident by declaring war than by exercising 
the other options available to us, I could support a war.  

But that seems counterintuitive to me.  It seems much 
more likely to me Saddam (or someone who goes crazy 
as I perhaps would if my family were killed by a war 
started by a superpower who had not been attacked) will 
use everything at his disposal to kill as many Americans 
and their allies as he can.

The issue of whether other countries have such weapons 
doesn't seem terribly relevant to me without a discussion 
of the comparative uses or threats of use those countries 
have made against the US or its allies--or that would 
affect us significantly even if used against someone who is 
not our ally.  The Soviet Union's nuclear weapons 
presented a credible threat to the US for many years.  
Some pushed for a "pre-emptive" strike that would take 
out all their missiles at once.  The US did not do that--not, I 
think, for humanitarian reasons, but because we knew 
that if we failed to pre-empt all their weapons on the first 
strike, perhaps millions of Americans would be killed by 
even one successful Soviet missile strike.  If we sent ours, 
we knew they would send theirs.  And so it is with 
Saddam.  Early on in the rhetorical war he issued a 
statement that he would unleash everything at his 
disposal if the US declared war.  

The US obviously doesn't know where Saddam's weapons 
are or we would have just pointed the inspectors to them.  
Even if we think he has them, he has not used them 
successfully in 12 years.  Until someone makes a credible 
case that we absolutley save a significant number of lives 
that will otherwise be lost and that we absolutely reduce 
the possibility and probability of use of weapons of mass 
destruction against us, I cannot support a direct attack on 
Iraq.  And certainly, where an attack appears to increase 
the likelihood of use of WMD against us, comtemplating 
such an attack is ludicrous.

I don't think that every US citizen has to be privy to all the 
classified information available for the administration or 
Congress to make a case for the need for war.  But it 
seems to me that even if all the facts presented to date by 
the Administration are assumed to be true, no viable 
argument has been presented that makes war the best 
available alternative.

Thank you for your consideration.

Mike Curley