February 13, 2004
wars need justification
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 shouldnt 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
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
Instead, the party line has shifted to the politically
savvy stance of, the world is a better place without
Saddam Hussein leading Iraq.
Its impossible to dispute this. But its a
distraction from the real issue: Was the war justified?
Of course its great for the world to get rid of
an insane dictator. But its 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 Koreas Kim
Jong II or the authoritarian leaders of many African countries.
The world is a better place argument doesnt
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