Q & A on Going to war with Iraq

by | Oct 1, 2002

A reader from a major news network writes in: Reader: Going to war with Iraq is so stupid for so many reasons that I can’t take the time to address them all. Needless to say, there is NO evidence of weapons of mass destruction. Dr. Hurd: So it doesn’t count that weapons inspectors have found […]

A reader from a major news network writes in:

Reader: Going to war with Iraq is so stupid for so many reasons that I can’t take the time to address them all. Needless to say, there is NO evidence of weapons of mass destruction.

Dr. Hurd: So it doesn’t count that weapons inspectors have found at least a partial capacity, and an obvious intention, on the part of Iraq to produce such weapons? It doesn’t count that Saddam Hussein has a history of using all the weapons he has at his disposal, even against his own people? It doesn’t count that he has stopped allowing weapons inspectors into his country for four years — and only allowing them back, grudgingly, under the threat of being attacked? Your premise is that either we see evidence, on camera, of Saddam Hussein building a nuclear missile headed towards New York or Washington — or we take no action at all. This approach is as preposterous as it is dangerous.

Reader: And even if there was evidence of weapons of mass destruction, should we also go to war with India and Pakistan, who have both come closer than any countries to actually using nuclear weapons? Or North Korea? Or Israel, for that matter?

Dr. Hurd: Of course not. We don’t attack a country for the sake of attacking it. We don’t attack a country merely because it has nuclear weapons. We attack a country only if we have reason to believe it will attack us first. You apparently forgot that Iraq has a history of aggression. Iraq invaded Kuwait a decade ago with the open intention of taking over all the oil fields of the Middle East. This is an obvious threat to our civilization. We had every right to topple Saddam Hussein’s regime at that time, and take control of the country’s government until it showed that it was able and willing to install a system which respected freedom and was not a threat to us. Our error was that we didn’t complete the job back then. You seem to assume that we have no right to go after Hussein in the first place; it naturally follows that you’re so upset about going after him now. But you’re just plain wrong.

Reader: Not only that, but the U.S. provoking a unilateral war without provocation (based upon what we think Hussein might do with weapons he might possess) is destabilizing to the entire world.

Dr. Hurd: Wrong again. Dangerous thugs who invade other countries, show evidence of building weapons of mass destruction, use existing weapons against their own people and against our only ally in the Middle East, Israel — these are actions which are destabilizing to the entire world. We’re merely responding in self-defense to these actions. You’re blaming the victims here. The United States goes to war in self-defense, to prevent totalitarian or outlaw governments from doing more damage than they already do to their own people. I know you simply don’t believe in war, period. But the consequences of your pacifistic view are that violent brutes will destroy our civilization — starting, in the case of Saddam Hussein, with oil, but leading no doubt to nuclear blackmail as well. Your life as you know it will end. Is this what you really want?

Reader: You think we have problems now? Wait until we start killing Iraqi people (yes, war means killing lots of innocents, too) because our cowboy president feels that he wants to settle a grudge. It’s really sickening that we’re even considering being the aggressor, and starting a war, when we’re trying to engage the Arab world to help us catch real aggressors — terrorists.

Dr. Hurd: Let me get this straight. You assume we’re the aggressors, which obviously we’re not. You’re also assuming that Saddam Hussein and Iraq can be counted on to help us catch terrorists such as al Qaeda. Are you out of your mind? We can’t count on any government in the Middle East to help us, except Israel. Iran and the PLO openly side with and help terrorist groups like al Qaeda. Iraq will do anything necessary to advance the power of its dictator, including no doubt help any terrorist gang that comes along. Saudi Arabia won’t lift a finger to help us in any respect, and some members of the Saudi royal family reportedly have given aid to al Qaeda. I don’t understand your odd propensity to trust people who in certain cases so obviously want to kill you. All I know is that I don’t want to die, and I don’t want to see Western civilization decline, and people like you have no right to hold the rest of us hostage with your evasions, your neurosis, and your apparent death wish.

Reader: I urge you to rethink your position. The last thing we need right now is to provoke a war when it is not necessary. There are far more important issues to settle. Your urge to go after every regime you don’t like is bloodthirsty and, to me, very frightening. The world you envision, a world engulfed in war, is a horrific world. I’d rather work to establish peace than to promote war.

Dr. Hurd: We’re already engulfed in war, like it or not. If we do absolutely nothing, like we did throughout the 1990’s and for the most part even since 9/11/01, there will be more and more attacks. This is what you advocate. You will sit on your perch of stuffy, 1960’s pacifism and insist that no such thing is true, but you can’t escape the implications of what you’re saying. You’re completely denying the fact that we have known enemies who seek to attack and destroy us — even after the worst attacks on our country in history just last year. You label anyone who wants to decisively go after these enemies a war-monger. If this is true, the people who supported destroying Hitler’s regime and the Japanese empire were also war-mongers. The American Revolutionaries who were fed up with the British monarchy were war-mongers. The Union soldiers who wanted to end slavery in the United States were war-mongers. Did it ever occur to you that sometimes war is not about a thirst for violence, but about defense of rational values? You recognize no such distinction, and in the process you seek prevent people from defending themselves who have every right to defend themselves. People like you are the worst enemy peace ever knew, because you allow dictators like Saddam Hussein to set the terms.

I’m the messenger here. I’m just stating the obvious: that there are people against whom we must defend ourselves. We’re already at war. It started on 9/11/01, if not sooner. You would like to deny this fact. My message, and my assertions, make it harder for you to deny this fact. This is why you become frightened. But you’ve got to face reality. The consequences of not facing reality — and they are coming, if we stay on the course you advocate — have never been more grave. You’d better wake up, and fast.

Dr. Michael Hurd is a psychotherapist, columnist and author of "Bad Therapy, Good Therapy (And How to Tell the Difference)" and "Grow Up America!" Visit his website at: www.DrHurd.com.

The views expressed above represent those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the editors and publishers of Capitalism Magazine. Capitalism Magazine sometimes publishes articles we disagree with because we think the article provides information, or a contrasting point of view, that may be of value to our readers.

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