Cross-Blog Iraq Debate: The Questions

Editor’s Note to Google / Yahoo Searchers: Welcome! If you’ve found this page because you’re searching for weblogs about the Iraq conflict, you’ve come to the right place. Or at least, a right place. If you are new to the world of weblogs, then a double-welcome to you: you are about to discover one of the most rewarding information sources in existence today. We aren’t professional journalists (well, most of us) — but sometimes that’s a good thing!
I am N.Z. Bear, and this is my humble weblog. The post you see below is from a grand experiment in which webloggers from the pro- and anti- sides came together for a structured debate to exchange ideas and argue their respective positions. I coordinated the pro-war side of the debate, and Stand Down: The Left-Right Blog Opposing an Invasion of Iraq coordinated the anti-war side. The debate had several parts:
The Call for Questions
Publication of the Questions
Publication of the Answers
If you just want to cut to the chase, I suggest going right to the answers, as that’s where you’ll find the actual arguments made by myself, and many, many other webloggers.
If you are looking for more up-to-the-minute news, I highly recommend The Command Post, a collaborative weblog being updated continuously, 24×7, with the latest breaking stories on the conflict.
And of course, I hope you’ll check my own front page for my latest take on recent events, and browse the sidebar for my past “greatest hits”. And if you don’t find what you are looking for, feel free to drop me a line and I’ll try to point you in the right direction.
Again, welcome!
-N.Z. Bear
March 27, 2003


OK folks, the first phase of our Cross-Blog Iraq Debate is over, and now it’s time to get busy with the real fun!
Listed below are the five questions developed here on TTLB to be answered by the anti-war crowd, as well as the five questions that Stand Down has put together for pro-war bloggers to address.
If you’d like to join the debate, it’s easy: just go ahead and answer the appropriate set of questions on your weblog, and then let either myself or Stand Down know with a TrackBack ping or comment. On February 17th, a roundup of responses will be posted here and at Stand Down.
Thanks to everyone for their support, and we would of course welcome links to this post and the corresponding one at Stand Down to spread the word that the game is on.
So here are the questions:
To Be Answered By Anti-War Bloggers:
1) If you were President of the United States, what would be your policy toward Iraq over the next year? What advantages and disadvantages do you see in your proposed policies versus the current path being pursued by the Bush administration?
2) Is there any circumstance that you can conceive of where the United States would be justified in using military force without the support of the UN Security Council — or does the UN always have a veto against US military action for whatever reason?
3) American and British military force has allowed Northern Iraq to develop a society which, while imperfect, is clearly a freer and more open society than existed under Saddam Hussein’s direct rule. Do you agree that the no-fly zones have been beneficial to Northern Iraq — and if so, why should this concept not be extended to remove Hussein’s regime entirely and spread those freedoms to all Iraqis?
4) Do you believe an inspection and sanctions regime is sufficient and capable of keeping weapons of mass destruction out of the hands of the Hussein regime — and should this be a goal of U.S. policy? In what way is an inspection/containment/sanctions regime preferable to invasion? Civilian casualties? Expense? Geopolitical outcome?
5) What, in your opinion, is the source of national sovereignty? If you believe it to be the consent of the governed, should liberating Iraq from Saddam Hussein’s regime be U.S. policy? If so, how do you propose to accomplish this goal absent military action? (And if in your view the sovereignty of a state does not derive from the consent of the governed, then what is the source of sovereignty?)
To Be Answered By Pro-War Bloggers:
1. Attacking Iraq has been publicly called a “pre-emption” of a threat from Saddam Hussein’s regime, whose sins include launching regional wars of aggression. Do you think there is a clear and reliable difference between pre-emptive and aggressive warfare, and if so, what is it?
2. What do you feel are the prospects that an invasion of Iraq will succeed in a) maintaining it as a stable entity and b) in turning it into a democracy? Are there any precedents in the past 50 years that influence your answer?
3. How successful do you think the military operations and “regime change” in Afghanistan have been in achieving their stated objectives? Does this example affect your feelings about war in Iraq in any way?
4. As a basis for war, the Bush Administration accuses Iraq of trying to acquire weapons of mass destruction (chemical, biological, nuclear), supporting terrorism, and brutalizing their own people. Since Iraq is not the only country engaged in these actions, under what circumstances should the US go to war with other such nations, in addition to going to war with Iraq?
5. The Bush Administration has issued numerous allegations about the threat represented by Iraq, many of which have been criticized in some quarters as hearsay, speculation or misstatements. Which of the Administration’s allegations do you feel stand up best to those criticisms?
Reminder: I will be rounding up the pro-war responses here at TTLB next Monday, so if you’d like your answers to be included, please be sure to either TrackBack to this post or add a comment linking to your weblog. Thanks!