The Occasional Muse
My humble opinion on current events
March 21, 2003
Hawks" were Right about Saddam
The war to secure America from a murderous
dictator is well underway. By all accounts, the campaign to rid Iraq of
Saddam Hussein and its weapons of mass destructions is going well.
Coalition forces are steadily progressing to Baghdad while suffering few
casualties. The air strikes in Baghdad and elsewhere are remarkably
restrained and narrowly targeted to hit legitimate military targets and
spare the lives of Iraqi civilians. Negotiations are underway with Iraqi
military officials over terms of surrender. Saddam's continued existence
on this planet is in serious doubt.
Now that the war has started, the seemingly
endless debate that preceded it is officially over. The so-called
"chicken hawks"* won and the doves lost. It's important to
remember such debates because they often repeat themselves. Several
arguments made by both sides were similar, if not identical, to arguments
made before the U.S. went into Afghanistan to take out the Taliban and
liberated Kuwait in 1991. Such repetition is rarely helpful.
One common argument made by doves, in fact
their most powerful argument, was that Saddam was not a threat because he
wouldn't dare risk annihilation by attacking America with chemical or
biological weapons. He may be a murderer and a thug, the argument went,
but he was no fool, and he cared about self-preservation more than
anything else. He would never take any course of action that threatened
Recent events have shown that argument to
be dangerously mistaken. President Dubya gave Saddam a clear choice: exile
or war. War, everyone understood, meant death for Saddam. If the doves
were right, Saddam would have chosen self-preservation and a comfortable
life in Riyadh. But Saddam didn't do that. Instead, he chose war. He
preferred death to life.
Doves might respond that it was not death
that Saddam chose, but honor. He would feel humiliated throughout the Arab
world if he slunk away with his tail between his legs. Honor demanded that
he stay and fight the Great Satan to the death, and go out as a hero, a
That's probably true, but all it proves is
that Saddam is still willing to risk his life to damage America,
regardless of his reasons - revenge, honor, whatever. If honor compels
Saddam to defend his wicked regime to his last breath in a vain effort to
strike one blow against America, then surely that same honor compels
Saddam to strike at America with a chemical or biological weapon, even if
such an action brought his own demise. That same honor compels Saddam to
side with America's enemies, regardless of what he thinks of them, and
provide them with chemical and biological weapons to use against America.
Either way you spin the argument, it boils
down to the same conclusion: Saddam Hussein is a threat to America. The
doves never could believe this. The hawks knew it all along, for a very
America is fighting this war to remove a
threat. It is not fighting this war because of oil, or because a cabal of
bloodthirsty warmongers control the government, or because Saddam tried to
kill Dubya's dad, or because Jewish neoconservatives are carrying out
orders from Ariel Sharon. Various doves have made these exact claims in an
effort not to argue their case, but to smear their opponents. Those same
doves have been proven wrong, and the hawks have been proven right.
Will that change anything? Probably not.
Next time America faces a threat, the same doves will spout the same
unpersuasive and dishonest arguments. The same peacenik protestors will
march in the streets in the support of yet another tyrannical dictator.
History certainly does repeat itself - some learn from it, others do not.
So far, this war is an impressive display
of American might and power. But it also showcases American mercy for
America is doing everything it can to avoid
killing Iraqi civilians. It sends in laser-guided smart bombs to specific
military targets, rather than carpet-bombing large areas, which is easier
and cheaper. Will those countries and peaceniks who protest this war
appreciate this? Doubtful. America probably will receive little or no
credit for this, even within its own countries.
It's a shame, because American soldiers are
showing more regard for Iraqis than their own leaders. Saddam has placed
military weaponry and installations around civilian areas, and even force
hundred if not thousands of civilians to move close to legitimate military
targets. His reason is obvious: Blame America for Iraqi deaths.
But international law makes clear that it
is Saddam who is to blame. Any state that intentionally places its
own civilians in harm's way is responsible for those civilians'
well-being, not the attacker. It is Saddam who has committed a war crime.
It is Saddam who has placed his own people at risk.
Have you heard any protestor or peacenik
mention this? I didn't think so.
* Anti-war doves call war proponents
chicken hawks because these hawks are supposedly unwilling to join the
military and take the same risks they urge others to take. Such an idea is
of course very stupid. It's like saying you're a chicken hawk if you
believe criminals should be arrested but you don't become a cop and arrest
them yourself. It's yet another example of people with no decent arguments
resorting to name-calling.