As the country continues to accumulate unprecedented and unsustainable debt levels, some Republicans are beginning to question why we’re still fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.
While largely supportive of President George Bush’s objectives for invading both countries after 9/11, our expensive and confusingly-defined presence a decade later confounds many on the right. Should we continue expending American lives and spending billions of dollars on nation-building exercises in Muslim countries which are culturally incompatible to democracy?
Some Republicans are even joining the harsh war critics on the left in questioning the initial justification for attacking Iraq. While Saddam Hussein’s possession, use and ongoing efforts to procure weapons of mass destruction (WMD) is the 80′s was well known, large quantities of chemical weapons had been located and destroyed after the 1991 Persian Gulf War.
Despite UN Inspector Hans Blix’s report that he had found no stockpiles of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons, the US invaded Iraq in 2003, citing the WMD threat as a primary justification. When no WMD were found, Bush admitted to lapses in military intelligence but maintained that his decision was sound, stating:
“But what wasn’t wrong was Saddam Hussein had invaded a country, he had used weapons of mass destruction, he had the capability of making weapons of mass destruction, he was firing at our pilots. He was a state sponsor of terror. Removing Saddam Hussein was the right thing for world peace and the security of our country.”
Many liberals and some conservatives aren’t convinced that the intelligence was flawed, and suspect the WMD threat was deliberately overstated to solidify support for the war. Similar to President Lyndon Johnson’s use of the alleged second attack on the USS Maddox in the Gulf of Tonkin as a pretext for initiating war with North Vietnam, many question Bush’s honesty.
The question of whether the US should invade a foreign country and dictate how that country governs itself is extremely controversial, regardless of your politics. Especially now, when we’re drowning in debt and need all available resources to ensure that our democracy remains intact.
It’s informative to recall the 60′s when the US was embroiled in the civil rights struggle, with race riots regularly erupting on the streets. Did any foreign power invade in order to install a fair and just society?
No. We resolved our differences ourselves.
There’s a lesson there somewhere.