In this post, I am going to talk further on the theme of today's class; was the invasion of Iraq inevitable. Though I have been trying to stay unbiased in my posts for a while, some of my bias may come out here, so I apologize. So was the Iraq war inevitable? Of course it wasn't.
In class today we talked about the National Security Report of 2002. The report outlines that the goal of the U.S. is to protect against terrorists and tyrants, preserve peace with our allies, and extend peace through democratization. In addition, the report outlines the use of preventative and pre-emptive strikes, and the necessity to keep WMDs out of terrorist hands.
Now I agree with almost all of this, especially in the age of non-state actors. However, how does Iraq tie into this? Its something called broad misunderstanding and poor decision making.
The Bush administration successfully toppled the Taliban government in Afghanistan. The people were supportive and a new, democratic (on paper) government was installed. The administration thought the same would apply to Iraq. Similar features of an autocratic regime further augmented this idea. Iraq was a threat to our allies in the region, in addition to being a thorn in our side since 1991. This could'nt have been more of a misunderstanding. Administration officials didn't see Iraqi politics was fragile, and they grossly miscalculated.
I think the individuals in charge, President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld and others are more responsible for the invasion. Almost all were involved in the Gulf war of 1991; Cheney was Secretary of Defense. I think there was an psychological component, a vendetta, agaisnt Iraq. When you are in charge of the most powerful nation in the world, you don't let psycological vendettas or biases get in the way of your decision making. This factor, I think was the most important.
Iraq wasn't inevitable, it was a choice. The NRS of 2002 just provided the pretext to do it. It cost us billions of dollars and thousands of lives. Was it worth it?
(pretty cool picture, isn't it?)