The purpose in our acting is disarmament. But the nature of Saddam's regime is relevant in two ways. First, WMD in the hands of a regime of this brutality is especially dangerous because Saddam has shown he will use them. Secondly, I know the innocent as well as the guilty die in a war. But do not let us forget the 4 million Iraqi exiles, the thousands of children who die needlessly every year due to Saddam's impoverishment of his country - a country which in 1978 was wealthier than Portugal or Malaysia but now is in ruins, 60 per cent of its people on food aid. Let us not forget the tens of thousands imprisoned, tortured or executed by his barbarity every year. The innocent die every day in Iraq victims of Saddam, and their plight too should be heard.And Geras spots a Bush speech I had missed:
The lives of Iraqi citizens would improve dramatically if Saddam Hussein were no longer in power, just as the lives of Afghanistan's citizens improved after the Taliban. The dictator of Iraq is a student of Stalin, using murder as a tool of terror and control, within his own cabinet, within his own army, and even within his own family.Against those loudly contending "Bush lied," these pre-invasion quotes provide ample evidence that Bush and Blair accomplished exactly what they intended. To the relief of Iraqis and those who cherish freedom throughout the world.
On Saddam Hussein's orders, opponents have been decapitated, wives and mothers of political opponents have been systematically raped as a method of intimidation, and political prisoners have been forced to watch their own children being tortured.
America believes that all people are entitled to hope and human rights, to the non-negotiable demands of human dignity. People everywhere prefer freedom to slavery; prosperity to squalor; self-government to the rule of terror and torture. America is a friend to the people of Iraq. Our demands are directed only at the regime that enslaves them and threatens us. When these demands are met, the first and greatest benefit will come to Iraqi men, women and children. The oppression of Kurds, Assyrians, Turkomans, Shi'a, Sunnis and others will be lifted. The long captivity of Iraq will end, and an era of new hope will begin.
Some liberals, such as Kurt Andersen, have seen the light, and now, "are being forced to grant the merest possibility that Bush, despite his annoying manner and his administration’s awful hubris and dissembling and incompetence concerning Iraq, just might—might, possibly—have been correct to invade, to occupy, and to try to enable a democratically elected government in Iraq." Ted Kennedy and the rest relive the 1960s only by closing their eyes to 21st Century visions, and corking their ears to Iraqi voices. And Geras reminds that these nay-sayers argue inconsistently:
even if democratization may have been a theme in official justifications for the war, it wouldn't have sufficed as a basis for the US and its allies going to war. But I haven't missed that point; it just wasn't my point. I did what I could to make it clear that I hadn't overlooked it by saying that '[f]or Bush and Blair these may have been secondary arguments'. But the context of my post was a set of recent anti-war statements which I linked to, and which do precisely suggest that the democratization justifications were after the event. Since that isn't true, it seems relevant to point out that it isn't true and to deploy the evidence.Read all three posts.
An afterthought here. Don't many of the same critics who purvey this after-the-event argument also accuse George Bush of seeing himself heading a crusade on behalf of liberty? Right or wrong, the accusation doesn't sit well beside this charge of post hoccery.