TCU Daily Skiff Friday, February 13, 2004
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U.S. wars need justification

COMMENTARY
Zack Hemenway


The United States should not go to war unless the call to arms is completely justified.

The 1970s military debacle of the Vietnam War showed the country that we shouldn’t risk American lives unless there is an imminent threat to our country or to the world.

Before bringing the United States into the Iraq conflict, President Bush tried to convince the country that such a threat existed. He told the country how Saddam Hussein had stockpiled weapons of mass destruction and stressed the importance of a pre-emptive strike.

The strategy worked. The plan to go to Iraq had bipartisan support.

Nearing the end of the conflict, it was clear that these weapons never existed. In recent months, leaders such as Secretary of State Colin Powell have been forced to concede that no such weapons are likely to be found in Iraq, while Bush dodges any questions about weapons of mass destruction.

Instead, the party line has shifted to the politically savvy stance of, “the world is a better place without Saddam Hussein leading Iraq.”

It’s impossible to dispute this. But it’s a distraction from the real issue: Was the war justified?

Of course it’s great for the world to get rid of an insane dictator. But it’s not worth risking American lives unless a threat to the safety of our country exists.

Hussein was a tyrannical dictator, but such dictators are not unique to Iraq. Just ask North Korea’s Kim Jong II or the authoritarian leaders of many African countries.

The “world is a better place” argument doesn’t provide much solace for the families of the nearly 300 American soldiers who died in Iraq — lives cut short for a cause that is more political than moral.

War is the most dangerous of human action, capable of ripping the world apart at the seams. Every time we take arms against another country under false pretenses, we come one step closer to permanently destroying the tenuous peace that exists in the world today.

Zack Hemenway is a columnist from the University Daily Kansan at the University of Kansas. This column was distributed by U-Wire.
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