Monday, January 18, 2010

Leaving Saddam in power in 1991 was morally insensible

William F . Buckley in April 1991: "Mr. Bush never hesitated in the month before his great victory to pronounce Saddam Hussein to be a "Hitler." The general sentiment is that Hitlers cannot be left to run whole countries, even countries whose destructive potential has been vastly reduced. Iraq is no longer in position to threaten Kuwait, or Israel; but the government of Saddam is well positioned to continue barbarous treatment of those Iraqis whom we encouraged to revolt against him. To be indifferent to their needs when we have sitting in the area the heaviest military concentration since the invasion of Normandy strikes many people who aren't given to thinking in geopolitical grids as morally insensible.

On the matter of the UN mandate, Resolution 686 authorizes the coalition to move against Iraq to cause it to "Cease hostile or provocative actions by its forces against all member states and other parties, including missile attacks and flights of combat aircraft." The rebels would surely qualify as "other parties." And the helicopters which General Schwarzkopf said he had been "suckered" into permitting the Iraqis to use are certainly combat aircraft, and are being used against Iraqis courageous enough to align themselves with the coalition. They are volunteers, answering the mobilization call of George Bush.

The objection that other members of the coalition would not sanction shooting down Saddam's helicopters being used to shoot Iraqi rebels is by no means obvious. In Great Britain, the press is highly mobilized in opposition to inaction. The Kurds do not constitute a threat to Turkey, and in any event are asking not for independence, but merely for more autonomy. Syria is frozen in the existing situation, and Israel has every reason to hope for the quick extinction of the neighboring dictator who threatened to pulverize Israel only a year ago. The geopolitical argument in favor of withdrawal is subsumed in the moral argument in favor of liberating Iraq from Saddam Hussein."

1 comment :

madtom said...

Yeah but you have all them scary She's running around...