Pro Deo Et Patria- An Army Chaplain

I am a chaplain in the US Army, serving in Iraq. I'm keeping a blog to share my thoughts and experiences while deployed. They are my thoughts and they don't necessarily reflect the opinions of the US Army! :)

Saturday, April 29, 2006


One of the often heard critiques against the war in Iraq is the argument that we were lied to about the basic premise of the war: the presence of WMD (weapons of mass destruction) in Iraq. Those who use this argument point out that we never found WMD in Iraq, hence, we went to war for the wrong reasons and we were lied to about it in order to justify the war.

There are two basic problems with this line of reasoning, however. First the idea that the lack of WMD negates the justification for the war, and, second, the idea that the administration lied about it. Both are false.

We need to go back to the reasons for the inspections and what had transpired. Everyone knows that Saddam HAD weapons of mass destruction. No one in their right mind disputes this. He used them. It is public knowledge.

After the first Gulf War, the treaty that was established demanded that Saddam give up all of his WMD programs and agree to inspections to verify this. Over the next decade, Saddam played a cat and mouse game of both agreeing to the inspections, and then either frustrating the efforts, or blocking the inspectors altogether.

During late 2002, early 2003, the argument was not so much about whether he had them, or how much he had; rather it was a question of how long we should continue to play Saddam's games. He was violating the treaty, as well as a plethora of UN Resolutions and was receiving mixed messages as to whether or not the UN and the US would enforce the resolutions. France, Germany and Russia played vital roles in sending mixed messages to Saddam. Indeed, had he actually believed we would launch a full scale invasion, it is hard to believe he would have acted the same.

The war, thus, was partially motivated by a need to enforce the inspections and the UN resolutions (along with stopping his blatant support of terror, oppression of his people, violations of human rights, etc.). The fact that he didn't have weapons doesn't mean the war was wrong, but it does show that his intricate web of deceit and double-speak had done its job: to convince those around him that he had WMD. Thus, the reason for his lying: he had to get rid of WMD to fulfill the UN resolutions, but had to also convince those around him (Iran, Saudi Arabia, and others), that he actually had them, as a deterrent. In other words, the fact that he was a good liar does not make us the wrong ones, but shows his instability, and the threat he posed.

It is important to note that at the time of the build up to the war, the voices against the war were not arguing that he had actually gotten rid of the WMD, but were instead arguing for yet another delay in order to try and convince him that he should allow the inspectors- something he was required to do. It was ridiculous to think that we should continue to cater to Saddam, over something he was legally required to do. It's kind of like a parent who refuses to discipline a child. As the child stands there and throws a fit, they try and innocently plead with the child, thus giving legitimacy to the fit as they try to negotiate over non-negotiables.

We did what the UN resolutions for 12 years had called for: we used force to implement the inspections. In the process we removed a brutal dictator and have opened the door for democracy.

Now, a short bit about the President Bush and the administration "lying" about the WMD: this is laughable. If Bush and company had actually trumped this up to justify the war, then they not only convinced the American people, but "fooled" the Democratic Party (which by and large supported the war), and fooled almost every nation in the world, who were convinced that Iraq still had WMD or the capacity to make them. It's amazing that people will never doubt the motives of Iraq, Al Qaeda, or doubt any of the nations which blocked inspections (France, Russia, Germany), but will automatically assume that we (the US) and our President must be in the wrong.

Why did all of the ranking Democrats and leaders of that party, looking at the same intelligence, come to the conclusion that a war was necessary? Maybe because the war was, in fact, necessary?


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