Thursday, September 14, 2006

Iraq--A Clean Shoot

Intelligent people of good character are free to quibble over details and incidentals. But now, five years after 9/11 and four years into armed conflict with Afghanistan and Iraq--amongst all off the rancor and rhetoric--reasonable people should come to one conclusion:

The invasion of Iraq was a clean shoot.

Let me explain by analogy.

When a police officer approaches a suspicious person, the officer will order the suspect to "show his hands" or something to that effect. The officer may give further directions to the suspect to provide reassurance that there is not an immanent threat. If the suspect makes threatening gestures; if the suspect conceals (or reasonably appears to conceal) something in his/her hand; if the suspect makes statements that cause the officer to believe that the danger is mounting; if an innocent is coming into supposed danger; if the suspect commits further crimes or other actions that escalate the situation: any or a combination of these circumstances may cause the police officer to use force--even deadly force. This use of force is justified under these circumstances.

Bush lied? Come now. The word lie infers conscious intent. We can reasonably agree that the minds within the administration were wrong (whatever your estimation of the quality of those minds). However, we have much to say that the Bush Administration made a call based upon the information that they had at the time and came to a conclusion--one that was shared by most of the free world at the time--that Iraq posed a WMD threat. Saddam was evasive, brash, had used WMDs previously, and there is evidence that he himself believed that he had some WMDs at his disposal (he may have been deceived by corrupt scientists and military men within his own government).

Think that America is prosecuting the war poorly? Let's talk. Think that the whole affair was the wrong call to begin with? Fair enough--your opinion is as good as mine. Think that the police analogy I have constructed is apt and we should not be the police force for the world? OK--I can understand your argument. Want to spend your time as the Administration's perpetual "armchair quarterback" second-guessing every move from the intellectual safety of hindsight? Not fair.

You may not like the call made by the Bush team and you may dread the result, but in the dim light, stress, and trauma of the seedy back-alley that is the Middle East--the Iraq invasion was a clean shoot.


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