Tag Archives: Iraq War

Karsten Erzinger: Defending the Iraq War

A few weeks ago Henry Srebrnik looked back at the arguments advanced by many public figures in favor of going to war with Iraq and concluded his piece by asking “how did so many get it so wrong?” Well, I would argue that they didn’t get it wrong. The case for the war was justified for many reasons, some of which were cited in Henry’s column, and poor post-war planning and execution does not refute or negate any of those reasons.

While the intelligence on Saddam’s WMD’s turned out to largely be false, many people don’t realize what Saddam did possess and how close he was to getting his hands on WMD’s. We should know this; it was Canada that disposed of 550 metric tons of Iraqi yellow cake uranium. Not only did Saddam have yellow cake uranium, but he also retained his WMD’s program and his aspirations to develop and produce WMD’s. Does anyone really think that Saddam would have sat and done nothing while Iran aggressively pursues a nuclear bomb? Because of the American intervention in Iraq, we only have to deal with one repressive dictatorship seeking nuclear arms in the region instead of two. Not only that, but the Iraq War resulted in Libya giving up its desire for WMD’s; surely a good thing given the terrorism and chaos enveloping that country.

Another thing that must be addressed is what would have happened if the US did not invade Iraq; this is something many Iraq War critics are hesitant to do. While this is purely a speculative exercise, there are a few things that can be reasonably be concluded. The withering sanctions against Iraq would have continued to crumble, allowing Saddam more freedom and flexibility to pursue whatever nefarious plans he may have had, such as developing and re-building his WMD stockpiles. If Saddam was still in power when the Arab Spring swept through the region, it’s not hard to imagine the type of crackdowns and atrocities he would have committed to maintain his hold on power.

Saddam Hussein was perceived as a threat to the United States and in a post 9/11 world, the US took every threats seriously. He was a brutal and dangerous tyrant who, had he not been removed from power, would’ve been even more dangerous today – those who argued for his removal did not get it wrong.

The Hustings

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Henry Srebrnik: The 2003 Iraq War Was Welcomed by Many

For decades I have kept newspaper clippings on virtually every country in the world. This week I was thinning out my Iraq files. Eleven years after the American invasion, many read like fantasy and wishful thinking.

As early as Dec. 28, 2001, the National Post printed an article by Rich Lowry, “The Liberal Case for Attacking Iraq.” He provided six reasons: Saddam Hussein was flouting numerous UN resolutions (including the calls to destroy his “weapons of mass destruction”); women had little freedom in Iraq; 500,000 children had died since 1991 due to UN sanctions, so the “truly humanitarian position” was to overthrow Saddam; it was also necessary for effective arms control, would allow Muslims to practice their religion in peace; and allow for proper nation-building.

On Aug. 15, 2002, TV personality Ezra Levant, in another National Post column, “Why Canada Should Declare War,” chided “our pusillanimous European allies” as a bunch of fearful pacifist appeasers.

As war loomed, the National Post’s Andrew Coyne on March 7, 2003, in “12 Arguments Against the War; Rebutted,” did Lowry six better. It would not be a unilateral American action since “more than 30 countries” had declared their support. It met the standards of international law, since Saddam had failed to comply with at least 17 UN Security Council resolutions, and Iraq had “massive stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons.”

Four days later in the National Post, University of Toronto political science professor Clifford Orwin made the case for a pre-emptive war. In “America is Justified in Striking First,” he suggested that the “military aspect of the war on terror does not lend itself to other means.” And the continued oppression of the Iraqi people would end with “their liberation at the hands of the Americans.”

National Post journalist George Jonas, in his March 12, 2003 commentary “Why This Kosovo Dove Became an Iraq Hawk,” also pointed to Iraq’s many violations of UN resolutions.
As the war was winding down, Washington Post correspondent Antony Shadid filed an article on April 10, 2003, “Hussein’s Baghdad Falls,” in which he wrote of residents pouring into the streets “to celebrate the government’s defeat and welcome the U.S. forces in scenes of thanks and jubilation.”

How did so many get it so wrong?

The Hustings

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