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.
March 27, 2003
Ok folks: it’s been full while it lasted, but all good things must come to an end. Below you will find the final roundup of all pro-war responses to the Cross-Blog Iraq Debate.
Update: The Anti-War roundup is now available at Stand Down.
Where a response was reasonably brief in length, I included the full answer: for longer ones, I tried to exerpt a relevant summary passage. I encourage everyone to follow the links & review each blogger’s full responses, of course.
At final count, thirty-seven bloggers chose to respond on the pro-war side: an outstanding turnout! Thanks to all who participated.
And now, your answers…
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?
Patio Pundit: “There isn’t. In a world without WMD and terrorists “pre-emption” would be a bad idea. It still is, but it is preferable to the alternative — annihilation. We gotta do what we gotta do. It sucks, but there you have it.”
Right Wing News: “Yes, there is a difference between invading a nation that threatens the safety of your citizens and invading a nation in hopes of making material gains from the conquest. We make this sort of distinction all the time. Shooting a burglar who breaks into your house and menaces your family is good, shooting someone because you want to steal their car is bad…”
Blogmonger: “The dictionary defines pre-emption as: -Relating to or constituting a military strike made so as to gain the advantage when an enemy strike is believed to be imminent. Or: -Undertaken or initiated to deter or prevent an anticipated, usually unpleasant situation or occurrence. The policy of pre-emption seeks to avert aggression from nations and organizations who have no reservations against launching attacks against innocent civilians, or from using their military power specifically to grab land and resources. Examples of this include Iraq’s campaigns against Iran and Kuwait, or Nazi conquests during World War II. In both these examples there was no threat to Iraq or the Nazis from the nations they subjugated. Both regimes simply desired to conquer and loot the countries they invaded, in an attempt to fuel their aggressive policies. This is the key difference. The United States does not seek to invade Iraq for the purposes of acquiring the spoils of war; it only seeks the protection of its citizens.”
No Prerequisite: “There is most definitely a difference between an aggressive war and the type of pre-emptive war being suggested by the United States. An aggressive war, such as that carried out by Nazi Germany, is pursued with the objective of making gains, territorial or otherwise, without any sort of legitimate provocation by the country (or countries) being attacked…”
Heretical Ideas: “Most certainly. A war of aggression is one that is fought for the purposes of conquest and/or destruction. For example, the Nazi invasion of Poland was an aggressive war. Its only purpose was for Germany to conquer Poland. Serbia’s invasion of Bosnia was an aggressive war. It’s purpose was the creation of a Greater Serbia and the genocide of Bosnian Muslims. Pre-emptive warfare, on the other hand, is waged when there is a reasonable belief that another nation plans to wage an agressive war, either against the nation waging pre-emptive war or one of its allies. For example, the American invasion of North Africa and later Europe during World War II was pre-emptive because neither Germany nor Italy ever attacked the United States. But they had attacked American allies and it was reasonable to assume that they would attack the United States, since they had declared war against the United States…”
Robin Goodfellow: “Contrary to the beliefs of some “post modernist” thinkers, not all people are equal (to clarify, the difference is their histories), nor are all countries, nor are all actions. There has been a tendency in recent times to boil down actions into their simplest forms devoid of context and then attempt to compare them morally, as it were, on that basis. Context does matter, and it matters greatly. A gun in the hand of a murderer is a very much different threat than a gun in the hand of a police officer. Pre-emptive attack by a trusted state with a strong history of respect for civil rights and civilian safety is much different from aggressive invasion by a state with a history of brutality and oppression. The US has demonstrated time and time again that it has been willing to peacefully give up land that it has “conquered” or occupied back over to local rule without demanding “spoils of war” or anything of that sort…”
Red Letter Day: “I do. Aggressive warfare is affirmatively going out and conquering nations in order to add them to your empire or plunder their resources. Pre-emptive warfare consists of a limited attack against a country that represents a legitimate growing threat. To take two examples from World War II, Germany attacking Poland was a war of aggression. Poland represented no threat, present or future, to Germany. On the other hand, imagine the French and English attacked Germany in 1938 after growing alarmed by its militarism. That would be a preemptive war.”
Derek James: “All warfare is aggressive. But if the question is asking whether there would be a difference between deposing a tyrant who has continued to develop WMD against the terms of cease-fire and the will of the international community, and Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait…well yeah, there’s an obvious difference. In the early 90’s, Iraq invaded Kuwait, member of the U.N., a sovereign country, in order to conquer it and annex it. That was wrong. Military action against Iraq now would not necessarily be “pre-emptive”. There are punitive elements as well. The justification is: You refuse to comply with cease-fire agreements from the end of a war you started, you continue to develop WMD against the will of the international community, and you commit atrocities against humanity…and guess what? The international community will take action to depose you.”
John Tabin: “I