September 12, 2004

A Catastrophic Failure: Bush's Preventive War Policy

Recently, Bush surmised that the problems in Iraq were due to the catastrophic success the US military had when entering into Iraq. Rather than admitting the real failure (Iraq was no threat to the US and it was the wrong war for the wrong time), the Bush administration continues to bombastically state their right to wage war whenever and whereever they see fit. Bush and his gunslinging gang continue to assert that they can and will wage war if other countries don't shape up. They continue to think that the policy of preventive war is their right despite the fact that this policy is undeniably immoral as well as a colossal failure.

Today, the NY Times editorializes that we now have real evidence that the Bush policy of Preventive War is not only wrong but also a complete failure.

So far, the preventive war doctrine has had one real test: the invasion of Iraq. Mr. Bush terrified millions of Americans into believing that forcibly changing the regime in Baghdad was the only way to keep Iraq's supposed stockpiles of unconventional weapons out of the hands of Al Qaeda. Then it turned out that there were no stockpiles and no operational links between Saddam Hussein's regime and Al Qaeda's anti-American terrorism. Meanwhile, America's longstanding defensive alliances were weakened and the bulk of America's ground combat troops tied down in Iraq for what now appears to be many years to come. If that is making this country safer, it is hard to see how. The real lesson is that America dangerously erodes its military and diplomatic defenses when it charges off unwisely after hypothetical enemies.

Before the Iraq fiasco, American leaders rightly viewed war as a last resort, appropriate only when the nation's vital interests were actively threatened and reasonable diplomatic efforts had been exhausted. That view always left room for pre-emptive attacks; America is under no obligation to sit and wait, if it is clear that some enemy is actually preparing to strike first. But it correctly drew the line at preventive wars against potential foes who might, or might not, be thinking about doing something dangerous. As the administration's disastrous experience in Iraq amply demonstrates, that is still the wisest course and the one that keeps America most secure in an increasingly dangerous era.

This is an important point to make. Bush's policy was not pre-emptive war (war engaged when there is a legitimate threat), instead it was a policy based on the belief that someday, somehow, someone might be a threat to the US which is the definition of a preventive war. The warmongers in the Bush administration like the idea of war, the fear engendered by war, the profits that are so easily made by the war profiteers, and power that accrues to the guys with the baddest toys. And after decades of military buildup, many in Bush's camp thought what good is an army if you are not willing to use it? How do you justify new weapon systems if you don't use up the old ones? So they plotted and planned to take the country to war against Iraq (because Saddam was a bad guy, but also weak, and a good object lesson for the rest of the world that the US was a Real BadAss willing to break some heads).

Bush's catastropic success is the biggest foreign policy failure this country has ever known. Never forget, this election is not about type fonts and forgeries or even about what the candidates did in the Vietnam war. This election is about whether our country continues to use preventive war as a policy despite the fact that it is morally wrong and a failure. A vote for Bush is a most likely a vote for war with Iran and anyone else our beloved leader targets without doing anything about the danger we face from terrorism. The wrong wars, the wrong tactics, all brought to you by the wrong-way President.

Update: changed usage of the word "preventative" to "preventive" (my bad).

Posted by Mary at September 12, 2004 06:38 PM | War on Terrorism | Technorati links |

Re: Preventative. There is no such word in the English language-it's preventive! The recurring (mis) use of this term makes me want to go nuculer!

Posted by: Tom at September 12, 2004 07:36 PM

And it was so predictable that it would fail. If some large ape starts pounding on his chest and threatening you, what will you do? You will make sure you have a way to defend yourself, so we have Iran and North Korea expanding their Nuke programs. As for Iraq, its all been said so no use repeating it here.

Posted by: Ron In Portland at September 12, 2004 08:08 PM