I was on the fence about war with Iraq until I read this speech by Tony Blair. I have always held that while war is never a good thing, it is sometimes the right thing. After reading Mr. Blair’s speech, I am now convinced that war with Iraq is the right thing. Most of these issues had been swirling around in my brain, terms like “material breach” and “full cooperation.” I had simply been unable to find my way through the thicket of accusations and possible ulterior motives. Mr. Blair’s calls for full UN involvement in rebuilding the government of Iraq and in administering its oil make me feel much better about the UK’s motives, at least. I know the Pope has said that this is not a just war, but from this argument, I am now convinced that it is.
I wish that President Bush was as articulate on our side of the Atlantic. I realize that the majority of Americans support this war, but I sometimes feel like it’s out of a propagandized hatred of Saddam Hussein, not out of a genuine concern for the danger he represents. On the other hand, I think it is all too easy to ignore that danger as well. One of the terms that got bandied about a lot in the debate over terrorism before September 11th was “rogue states.” Those who oppose this war are, I think, sometimes too caught up in thinking that al Qaeda is the be-all and end-all of terrorism — forgetting that there are governments around the world, including that of Iraq, that are willing to use their resources to attack civilians through terrorism. I think Hussein’s policy of rewarding the families of Palestinian suicide bombers is indicative of this.
(Side Note: I don’t even want to get into a discussion over the moral justification of the Palestinian intifada. That’s a more complicated issue than I can even hope to wrap my mind around. Suffice it to say that I think both sides are engaging in reprehensible acts and needlessly hurting civilians.)
Unfortunately, President Bush’s rhetoric has been enormously unhelpful – from lumping Iraq, Iran, and North Korea together as an “Axis of Evil” (thus implying they are acting in concert) to saying that terrorists hate us because of our freedom (rather than our foreign policy). We would be extremely lucky to have a president as thoughtful, intelligent, and well-spoken as Tony Blair. I admire the fact that he has taken a stand that may destroy his party’s government, because it is the right thing to do. I hope his leadership is preserved.