A World at War

Posted Mar 1, 2004
Last Updated Nov 5, 2011

I recently read an essay by a friend that declared the illegality of America's invasion of Iraq. He made a decent case in terms of the war under the rules of the United Nations Charter.

But I'm not convinced we shouldn't have gone into Iraq.

In reality, I don't feel qualified to judge whether invading Iraq was right or wrong, despite the obvious illegality of the invasion under international laws. I really doubt anyone around the world can really say if it was right or wrong—it's something that will be determined a hundred years from now.

Using the technicality of the war's illegality is really meaningless. To draw an analogy, say you are in your car at a red light and you notice that a telephone pole is about to collapse on you. Your car is boxed in on all sides except forward. While it would be illegal to run the red light, breaking the law in this instance is the only humanly intelligent and proper decision—run the red light, break the law, and live.

In the case of Iraq, the American public is assuming that Saddam Hussein's regime was that falling telephone pole. The true question to pose is whether the image of the imminent danger was a genuine picture or a fabrication. I don't think that any armchair politician or average citizen of the world is capable of adequately answering the question.

Did Iraq have weapons of mass destruction? If the media reports are correct, it doesn't look like it. Did the US government play manipulative public relations with the voting public and the world regarding the threat of Iraq? Perhaps. Certainly, the government made direct, postured changes in its terminology while building up for the war—where the terms biological and chemical weapons suddenly became synonymous with weapons of mass destruction.

So maybe the critics of the war are justified. Perhaps the lack of evidence in the public eye is vindication for everyone that did not want the war in Iraq.

I don't really take sides on this. But I do have unsatisfied doubts with the critics. That there isn't evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq doesn't necessarily mean that they weren't there—or that we haven't even found them yet. It's possible, for all you and I know, that there is evidence that hasn't come to the public eye. A prudent strategist would not reveal all his cards in any game, and it's possible that the US has found things that it hasn’t leaked out to the world because they see an advantage in keeping it quiet; for what purpose to keep quiet, your guess is as good as mine. Perhaps keep it under wraps until elections are near? Perhaps keep it hidden to bait an enemy in some plot? Who knows?

Maybe there really is nothing there to find.

My only point, really, is that there are so many sides to the story, and that nobody knows them all. The only thing we know for sure is that we live in a precarious time, and the human institutions created to promote world peace are not pillars of absolute stability; human nature has yet to get past adolescence.

We live in an imperfect world.


2011-11-05 It's been several years since I wrote this. Enough time has passed and the dust has settled somewhat. It's pretty clear at this point that the American government was not honest with the world or the American public when it moved our nation and others into Iraq. For that I am saddened.

On the other hand, it's still too early to tell whether or not the world is a better place. I hold onto hope that the world will get better. And safer.

The New American War

Essays, commentaries and cartoons about the American War on Terrorism arising after September 11, 2003.

  1. America’s New War
  2. Saddam Who's Not Sane
  3. Protest and Support
  4. A World at War
  5. Crazy World
  6. What if We Ran from Iran
  7. A Perspective on Patriotism

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