I am leery of an attack on Iraq. But as an international military strategist, I'm pretty hopeless -- I was also leery of an attack on Afghanistan, and boy I was wrong about that one.
Those who make the most sense when arguing for attacking Iraq do so obliquely, as William Saletan did today in Slate while analyzing President Bush's speech to the U.N.:
...when introduced into a larger context -- the conflict between Saddam and the U.N. -- Bush's belligerence becomes logical and salutary. Saddam's history with the U.N. is a joke. [...] By now nearly everyone has forgotten that the alternative Saddam avoided by making his initial promises in 1991 was military destruction. By any logical standard, that's the alternative to which U.N. must now turn. [...]
For years, the U.N. has avoided this unpleasant duty, preferring negotiations. Hawks have rightly called this a policy of appeasement. But complaining about appeasement is as impotent as appeasement itself. The more effective remedy is to give the appeaser someone new to appease: yourself. That's the beautiful, if accidental, logic of Bush's war preparations.
Yet in a world full of monsters, why target this one, Saddam Hussein, now? To finish the job? To prove a point? To do something? I think we need better reasons to bomb and shoot and kill than that. But I could be wrong.