NEW YORK—We are at war again—not because of enemy attack, as in World War II, nor because of incremental drift, as in the Vietnam War—but because of the deliberate and premeditated choice of our own government.
Now that we are embarked on this misadventure, let us hope that our intervention will be swift and decisive, and that victory will come with minimal American, British and civilian Iraqi casualties.
But let us continue to ask why our government chose to impose this war. The choice reflects a fatal turn in U.S. foreign policy, in which the strategic doctrine of containment and deterrence that led us to peaceful victory during the Cold War has been replaced by the Bush Doctrine of preventive war. The president has adopted a policy of “anticipatory self-defense” that is alarmingly similar to the policy that imperial Japan employed at Pearl Harbor on a date which, as an earlier American president said it would, lives in infamy.
Franklin D. Roosevelt was right, but today it is we Americans who live in infamy. The global wave of sympathy that engulfed the United States after 9/11 has given way to a global wave of hatred of American arrogance and militarism. Public opinion polls in friendly countries regard George W. Bush as a greater threat to peace than Saddam Hussein. Demonstrations around the planet, instead of denouncing the vicious rule of the Iraqi president, assail the United States on a daily basis.
I’m linking to it mainly because I’m still getting the occasional email from folks wondering what kind of commie-pinko I must be to question the justification for going to war with Iraq. Arthur Schlesinger Jr. manages in his essay to hit on every point of contention I have with this action by our government. You wanna know why I have a problem with this war? Go read his article and you’ll know why.