T'war

Over at The Sharpener (I wish I’d called this blog that, but its way too late now), Jarndyce repeats the reasons why he supported the war in Iraq:

I do think we owed [the Iraqis] big time, in a collective sense, and had the power to do something.

The problem with a lot of pro-war argument, is the manichean world it assumes. Jarndyce’s (very pertinent) point is an argument for a war, not an argument for that war.

Jarndyce goes on to condemn unilateral intervention, in favour of invervention backed up by better, more robust international law. It was interesting to hear President Bush apologising for his gung-ho rhetoric in the past – Better diplomacy could have resulted in a better planned war, possibly with the UN on board. Would blue berets in Bagdad have provoked the backlash?

10 thoughts on “T'war”

  1. BTW, this doesn’t detract from your much more pertinent point that:

    “The problem with a lot of pro-war argument, is the manichean world it assumes. Jarndyce’s (very pertinent) point is an argument for a war, not an argument for that war.”

    this question is still completely valid. What should we have done about Saddam and how should we have done it?

    It’s just that your final point is a non-sequitur and does nothing to answer this question. The morons currently creating havoc in Iraq have no truck with the UN either: you may have noticed one or two high profile assassinations and the destruction of the UN mission by a massive truck bomb.

    I suspect that a UN led invasion force would have had mildly less success in the initial “hot” invasion phase (due to blurred lines of command, more fudging around difficult questions to keep coalition partners on side etc etc) and the nutcases/Saddam loyalists would still have been there to cause havoc.

    Neither would the reconstruction or aid have been any better post war – notice US capability on the ground vs UN efforts post tsunami plus (even more) rampant corruption in oil-for-food. So the same problems re crowd control in Basra etc would still be there.

    So no, I don’t think the UN would have helped. It is possible on balance that they would have made things very marginally worse.

  2. What should we have done about Saddam and how should we have done it?

    Now I think of it… I do not believe that George W Bush is a good enough leader. His rhetoric was poor, his diplomacy bad, and the planning has proved woeful. The American public should have elected someone else, and the British relationship with Bush should have been conducted on different terms.

  3. The P-G is, I think, correct, although I tend to think that it would also have depended on what nationality of soldiers were wearing those blue berets. The UN’s woeful record of failure in… well, just about everywhere actually, but The Balkans, Rwanda and Darfur spring to mind hardly inspires confidence.

    However, an interesting question is — if you accept my premise is that Iran is running the insurgency, which I wrote about here (start at the second quote box), here and here (all three are examles of, I think, my better guesses) — would Iran have felt so threatened by the UN as it does by the US?

    Interesting. Would it feel more or less threatened by the “entire world” or merely the American pig-dogs possibly ranged against it? I don’t know…

    DK

  4. DK,

    Two thing re Iran:

    1) There is just no way that – even under the umbrella of the UN – the invasion or subsequent occupation/reconstruction of Iraq could have been carried out without the US doing the overwhelming share of the heavy lifting.

    The US would have been there in huge numbers, so the pig-dog thing holds

    2) Iran – and basically all of the despots in the region – has very little wish to see a liberal, pluralist, successful, free and prosperous Iraq.

    “Would it feel more or less threatened by the “entire world” or merely the American pig-dogs possibly ranged against it? I don’t know…”

    Probably. Yes.

    So what should have been done? Err… Dunno… but then that is the point. This is a really really really difficult problem. The status quo was awful and looked set to get worse: had we backed off, Saddam would have had a field day.

    All very tricky. That is, I think, the whole point.

  5. Isn’t the only way these things get resolved, with anything like ‘success’, by fomenting internal dissent ? And the US/UK tactic of ‘sanctions’ was simply disasterous and compeltely counter productive on that score, simply keeping the population half starved and at subsistence levels. Hardly best conditions for an anti Saddam uprising to flourish.

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