Well, good grief. I just called a public radio program called The
Conversation and expressed my opposition to the Iraq resolution.
As I said there: the Bush administration is being extraordinarily
dishonest about its reasons for wanting to invade Iraq. It has nothing
to do with 9/11 or with Islamicist terrorism. Iraq has a secular
regime, which is precisely the kind Islamicists despise, and there’s
no evidence that he has or will conspire with them. Hussein hates
us for very practical, political reasons, reasons having to do with
his own power, not ideology.
The defense department hawks have wanted to invade Iraq since the
early ’90s, and it’s because they want to retain the asymmetrical
balance of power in the world–the U.S. as the world’s sole superpower–by
preemptively preventing any regime from gaining regional power.
If Iraq developed nuclear weapons, it still wouldn’t be a threat
to us, as unpleasant a prospect as it is. Iraq knows what happens
if it attacks us–immediate destruction. It knows what happens if
it acts aggressively towards its neighbors–we invade. That calculus
wouldn’t change if Hussein gained these weapons. He is a scumbag,
but he’s not insane, and not suicidal. His own survival and power
are his only concerns.
If we want to rid the world of weapons of mass destruction, as
we should, the way to do it is via in international WoMD regime
that leverages international pressure (and inspections if necessary)
against governments attempting to develop them. Such programs do
not work as fast as we like, or as unambiguously, but they work.
"Rogue" regimes moderate over time, because they become
isolated and their economies are destroyed: witness North Korea
(which, incidentally, _already has_ nuclear weapons).
Even if there is reason for concern about Iraq, it isn’t so urgent
that it needs to be resolved before the mid-term elections. If the
Bush administration wants to prevent Iraq from becoming a genuine
regional power, they should say so–all this stuff about terrorism
is pure, calculated fear-mongering.