Saddam Hussein should go, but George Bush's war is unacceptable. Nearly all world leaders agree Saddam is a brutal dictator and a menace to his neighbors. Iraq needs a new government that is more just and less dangerous.
Yet rather than build a coalition for peaceful change in Iraq, with limited military action as a last resort, Bush called for war early and browbeat those nations that disagreed. When the U.N. balked, Bush challenged the relevance of the United Nations as an institution. Bush's war plan also fragmented NATO, an alliance important to America's security.
Bush wrongly presents preemptive war as a legitimate way for the powerful to control other nations. Bush suggests America need not respond to concerns of even friendly nations. These are not my values and they do not reflect the America I know.
The economics of Bush's war are troubling. He is eager to spend tens of billions of dollars, perhaps over a hundred billion, on war at a time when the national debt is soaring, many states face budget deficits, and the U.S. economy is sluggish at best.
Bush should back off his premature commitment to war and examine other options for dealing with Saddam. For example, he should consider permanent inspectors, satellite and aerial reconnaissance, aid for the Iraqi people, unrelenting international pressure, and the incentive of economic investment once a decent government is in place.
Whether Bush sees the light or not, we must support the American men and women carrying out their duty in America's armed services, putting themselves at risk for our freedom. And, we must support open public discussion of these important issues. Such debate is the bedrock of American freedom.
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