Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Civil War proponents?

Sometimes you run into an article that finally forms words to the thoughts in the back of your mind. This morning’s addition over at Captain’s Quarters is just such an article. Shortly after the 2003 invasion of Iraq I was arguing the merits of the move (again) with several folks who were adamantly against the invasion. I asked them if they prefered to have Saddam in power and running things for the Iraqis the way he had been and I received a lot of scathing remarks in return. Of course we don’t prefer him, they’d say with some venom, it’s just not America’s place to do such things. We’re the aggressor state, now. We should just assist the Iraqis in overthrowing Hussein themselves. I never got a reply from them on how we were supposed to assist people who had no weapons and no training to overcome a powerful, modern army already deployed in their midst.

The specifics weren’t forthcoming but one thing was clear: they were proposing that we incite a civil war there between Hussein’s government and whomever we could get to take up arms. This is precisely the point Ed Morrissey is making in this morning’s post:

What I find so fascinating about the liberal hysteria over the civil war is that they argued specifically to start one instead of invading Iraq in 2003. Let's take a look at the history that the Times forgets. In 1998, Congress and Bill Clinton created a foreign policy explicitly stating that the US goal in Iraq was regime change -- that American policy would be created to remove Saddam Hussein from power. At the time that this policy was formulated and made explicit, lawmakers from both parties made a lot of speeches about how dangerous Saddam was to our interests in particular and the world in general. No one labored under the notion that Saddam had been rendered harmless by UN sanctions, already in full application for over five years at that point.

When George Bush (43) decided to press for military action to remove Saddam from power, he cited this official policy as one of the justifications when he went to Congress in October 2002 for authorization. All of a sudden, people started talking about how sanctions had kept Saddam "in his box" despite plenty of evidence that various countries had routinely violated those sanctions. They also claimed that the entire purpose of the policy was for the US to foment a domestic uprising against the Saddam regime, not for America to take any overt action to end his genocidal rule.

In other words, they wanted Bush to start a civil war in Iraq. And not just a gang war that involved a few sectarian militias taking potshots against each other as we see now, but a full-fledged civil war that involved an unarmed and oppressed people taking on the region's fourth-largest army and a dictator who had used chemical warfare against his own people in the past.

So, it was OK to have a civil war back when a Democrat was in office, but bad now that a Republican’s there? Very telling, indeed.