What is wrong with the justification given for war in Iraq?
The first assumption is that the possible dangers of Saddam's WMD are greater than the certain death and destruction that would be caused by a war. Obviously there is no basis to reach this conclusion because in both cases we are talking about events that have not yet happened, so none of it can be quantified. Only one thing is certain. If we go to war a lot of people will die and it will cost a huge amount of resources.
The first strike principle is based on the perennial advice that has been passed down from father to son for many generations. If you know you are about to get into a fight in the schoolyard, try to get in the first lick.
The problem with this schoolyard thinking is that there have been no indications that we are in any danger from Saddam. If there had been any supporting evidence presumably it would have been revealed by this time.
Obviously it is impossible to guess Saddam's, or anybody else's intentions. Even if we could know what others were thinking it still would not justify a preemptive war. Go tell the judge that you killed your neighbor in self-defense because you thought he was planning to kill you. This would really go over big if you came to court with no evidence to back up your allegations. Tell the judge to trust you. You know what you're doing. Better yet, tell him that God appointed you to rid the world of people like your neighbor.
When someone says they are being directed by God to commit acts of violence it's usually a bad sign. Think about it.
We threaten Iraq with war if they do not hand over these WMD that may or may not exist. It's possible Iraq is telling the truth. We just don't know. All that we do know is that we gave Iraq a lot of very deadly stuff and they cannot prove that it was all disposed of properly.
If Iraq does not have WMD then we are fighting a totally unjustified war. If Iraq does have WMD we will probably find out when we invade because they will almost certainly use them on our troops and even our civilian population if possible. Bush is threatening nuclear strike if this happens.
Let's see... We are fighting a war on terrorism and if you are against us we will drop an atomic bomb on you because we want to rid the world of terrorism. What's wrong with this picture?
GW Bush has publicly announced his intentions to keep the USA the sole dominant superpower and go in and destroy anybody else who tries to challenge us by building a few nukes of their own. What if things were turned around and someone much more powerful than us, someone we are not friendly with, announced that they intended to dominate the world. Say our only defense was one atomic bomb. Don't you think we would be scrambling to build more?
Does having a self-proclaimed, designated bully in the schoolyard make you feel safe? No, because you know that he's going to come around to take your lunch money and whatever else he wants from you.
When we demand Saddam turn over these WMD we are dealing with a madman. We should not expect a madman act sensibly and do the right thing. According to GWB, it's up to Saddam if we go to war or not. This is a very common physiological ploy.
It works like this:
You tell someone that if they do not meet your conditions then you will carry our some threat. The assumption is that you have somehow become like a robot and no longer have free will. The blame has been transferred to the victim you are threatening. They become responsible for pushing your CRUSH! KILL! DESTROY! button. They, not you, were in control. So they brought it upon themselves. You warned them not to push your button.
GWB has said that he does not want this war, it was thrust upon him. He has no choice. Saddam is in control. Well, if Saddam is the one in control, and Saddam is free to make choices, maybe he would make a better president.
Letting someone like Saddam determine if we go to war is a bad idea. If there were any justification for war it would be in defense of a direct attack. There are other examples in history of leaders who have justified preemptive war in the name of national security. One of them who come to mind is Adolph Hitler.