There was an editorial in the WSJ today, written by a professor from NYU. I can't remember his name off the top of my head. He wrote about John Kerry, and asserted that Kerry's conclusions about Vietnam, and his opinions about Iraq are a misread of history and lead to inaccurate strategies. The article provoked me to think about the justification for invading another country. I found myself thinking that war and invasion can be justified by the suppression of moral liberties in other countries. However, I think that such action should be endorsed by a world-wide organization, such as the UN. To my knowledge, the UN did not back our Vietnam invasion, and it certainly did not back the Iraq war, which we nonetheless pursued on a unilateral basis. I don't disagree so much with the fact that we went to war, or that we need to stay there, but I do strongly disagree with the way in which we waged war. If the situation in Iraq, or elsewhere, truly and morally warrents miliary action, a global coalition should not be forsaken, or impossible to forge. Otherwise, an extremely tricky and dangerously precedent setting question emerges: Why does one free country believe that evidence suggests and warrents miliatry intervention while other free countries believe the opposite. True, some countries will always oppose military action, for political or other reasons. However, working through an organization such as the UN should be able to provide the necessary debate and documentation to wage a legal and just war. Countries should not be able to cover up the evidence that they are using as a basis of war simply by naming it classified.

I think John Kerry is a hero of Vietnam. Because he later opposed the war, and celebrated our exit from it, does not make him less of a hero, or a mis-interpreter of history. Sure, if we would have stayed in Vietnam, we may have saved the country 30 years of rough existence. But, this could be said about many countries around the globe. What leads us to pick and choose which people we have the moral obligation to free from oppresive regimes? Well, usually there are deeper political motives involved, and not simply a desire to free captive peoples. To ensure that political motives do not trump moral motives when it comes to waging war, I believe that international debate and agreement should be sought and reached prior to invading.

I don't support a withdrawl of our troops from Iraq, now that we have attacked. I think that we have a responsibility to establish an order in what otherwise would be a vacuum. I think that President Bush is trying to do this, but I don't think his planning was adequate in deciding to wage this war. He should have seen the tangle that the US was involving itself in, and tried harder to establish a global coalition to share the burden. A vote against his $87 rebuilding package is a vote against the confidence of his execution. It seems similar, though not completely alike, to voting against giving money to poor performing schools. I don't see any reason to fault somebody that votes for the motion to give the president the authority to wage war if he sees fit, as John Kerry did, and then votes against a subsequent spending bill that is a result of poor planning and execution.

Were we as a country really under an immediate enough threat that we couldn't have taken the time to build a global coalition? It looks more and more doubtful as time goes on, and WMDs continue to elude inspectors. Perhaps methods could have been pursued to depose Saddam Hussein, which noone argues was a gain for the world, without the spilling of so much Iraqi, and American blood.


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