Like everybody, I've been reading a lot about Iraq in recent days. One point keeps coming up over and over again: Iraq is awfully weak at the moment, crippled by the aftermath of losing a couple of wars, of decades of corrupt dictatorship, and by the sanctions their government brought on them. I think the US is giving exactly the wrong reason for going to war. The right reason to go in and take out Saddam right now is not because he's strong and dangerous, but because he's weak; now is an efficient and cheap time to make the world a better place by removing one particularly nasty regime from it.

As it is, the US reaches further and further into the bounds of fairytale to try to convince us of the necessity of war in self-defense; I'm sorry, I and a large proportion of the Western World just aren't scared by Saddam. None of us like him, few of us are going to weep if he gets taken out, but the reason to take him isn't because he's dangerous. It's easy to identify other regimes that are way more dangerous to the world than Saddam's: Pakistan, North Korea, and any number of the crumbling former-USSR satrapies. The difference is, they'd be dangerous and expensive to attack, so it's not going to happen.

Boy, I wish it were possible to point into the New York Times, but articles there become unavailable after some short period of time. There's an awfully good essay there (hell, I'll point to it and let the broken link serve as a silent protest against the Times) by Paul Krugman echoing some of the points I made here a few days ago; that you're never going to get people to go along with you unless they think they're telling the truth. Except for Krugman's a better writer than I am.

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colophon · rights
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February 25, 2003
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