The “war with Iraq only if pre-conditions are met” drumbeat, exemplified by the Washington Post editorial I posted last night, has the feel of an anti-war movement that dare not speak its name. It certainly provides great cover. If the war goes badly, they warned us not to proceed without our European allies and without having gained support in the Arab world by “solving” the Israeli-Palestinian conflcit. If the war goes well but post-war events are bumpy, they warned us that we needed better post-war planning. If everything goes well then, hey, they never opposed the war.
This brings to mind Bill Clinton’s “position” on the Gulf War. Asked in 1991 how he would have voted on the war resolution, he responded, and I recall these to be his exact or almost exact words: I guess I would have voted with the majority [supporting the war] if [the vote] was close, but the minority had the better arguments.”
Except as a ploy, the “pre-condition” movement makes little sense. Either Saddam is a significant threat or he isn’t. If he is then, assuming we have the capability, we should topple him regardless of how many allies support us and whether we can promise that Iraq will become Switzerland. If Saddam does not pose a significant threat, we should not put Americans troops in danger even if all our allies wanted us to and even if we had a fool-proof post-war plan.
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