What “Preemptive War”?

by | Mar 3, 2003 | POLITICS

One of the mantras that the protesters against war with Iraq are currently using, sadly with some success, is that such a war would be “preemptive”, rather than retaliatory and in defense of the United States, and therefore unjustified morally. Iraq, a cruel dictatorship though it may be, has nevertheless done nothing to us, the […]

One of the mantras that the protesters against war with Iraq are currently using, sadly with some success, is that such a war would be “preemptive”, rather than retaliatory and in defense of the United States, and therefore unjustified morally. Iraq, a cruel dictatorship though it may be, has nevertheless done nothing to us, the thinking goes, so we have no moral right to attack it ‘first’.

The reason that this line of thinking has been successful in misleading people is because they’re not sure of the fundamental facts necessary to address and correct the error in it. However, even assuming arguendo that Iraq itself has not attacked the United States, that doesn’t necessarily dictate that there isn’t a moral basis on which the United States can be justified in attacking Iraq at this time.

The truth is that, to be ousted from office, a dictator does not have to have acted against the particular party doing the ousting. Any dictator who imprisons, murders and otherwise violates the rights of anyone, whether the people in his own country and/or those of other nations, is just like anyone else who commits such acts: he is a criminal entitled to no rights. He has no moral claim to his office, no claim to have contracts or other agreements respected, no right to continue his rule, no right to hide his acts behind the veil of “national sovereignty”. A fully statist nation has no right to its sovereignty and can morally be attacked by those more free than it. In contrast, those who seek the ouster of dictators, such as the Bush and Blair administrations, have a moral justification to do so, just as a policeman has the right to detain a civilian for a criminal act.

There can be no doubt at this point that Saddam Hussein has committed egregious violations of individual rights. Anyone who is the slightest bit critical of any whims of his is at risk of being brutally tortured if not murdered outright (as are as their family members). He has tested chemical and biological weapons on his own people. He has randomly imprisoned and murdered innocent people throughout Iraq not because of anything they have done, but as a measure to scare the populace as a whole into complacency. His army and police randomly confiscate private property and enforce regulations on any type of commerce that are so strict that one has to operate one’s business for the sake of Saddam Hussein and his allies to simply stay in business. He enforces the most ruthless censorship, with anyone who tries to leak the truth being subject to unimaginably harsh penalties. Assuming arguendo that this has only been done to the people of Iraq would in and of itself justify overthrow and liberation from a freer country such as the United States or Great Britain.

For anyone still skeptical, Saddam Hussein does not limit his attrocities only to his own people. He has shown belligerance to other countries, particularly Kuwait, which he invaded in 1990. He sponsors suicide bombers who plan to attack the United States, Israel and other western nations. He has sanctioned the actions of al-Qaeda against the United States. His attitude towards Israel, the freest and most stable middle eastern country, is nothing short of genocide.
If this isn’t enough to beat the band, Saddam is close to being able to construct nuclear weapons of his own. He has both the designs for a bomb and the technical personnel capable of constructing them. All he is lacking is fissionable material, a shortcoming he is rapidly trying to overcome by building centrifuges for processing uranium. If he is successful in obtaining nuclear weapons, his capability to commit attrocities will increase horribly.

In sum, Saddam Hussein has been at war with other people and countries for some time now -a war that he instigated and initiated. It has been time for a strike against him to take him out for a while now. If and when such as strike does occur, it certainly won’t be “preemptive”.

Mr. Willenski is an attorney in South Florida. He has also lived in Hertfordshire, England.

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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