Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Iraq War Questions

The questions for the Iraq war debate have been released. Here are some thoughts. The questions are in italics.


The United States is increasingly reliant on private contractors for a host of services previously provided by the military. In what ways is this privatization beneficial or detrimental to US interests?

Privatization saves money. The free market works better than government.

A great deal of debate has been undertaken regarding the “surge” of US forces in Iraq. To what extent has the “surge” been successful, or to what extent has the “surge” failed?

Violence in Iraq has declined steeply since the implementation of the "surge".

A tremendous amount of money has been spent in Iraq. Are these costs justified?

This is hard to say. Answering this question would require knowing what would have happened in the long run if we had not invaded Iraq, including whether Iraq, Iran, or Libya would have obtained nuclear weapons. Without such information, we can make educated guesses, but we can't know for sure.

Some argue that America must “stay the course” in Iraq. What are the benefits of remaining in Iraq, or what are the potential costs?

Nobody says "stay the course" anymore. The potential benefits are defeating jihadists and denying them a base of operations. The costs, of course, are American casualties and financial expenditures.

What has the Bush administration done well in regards to the War on Terror? In what regards has it failed?

The Bush administration has done well at arresting terrorists, both in America and foreign countries. It has failed to secure the border or reform the legal immigration system that sent a visa to Mohammed Atta months after 9/11. See this article.

Is the Middle East ready, willing, or able to accept Western-styles of government?

No on all counts. Democracy is not just about having particular institutions; it has cultural prerequisites. It took the West many hundreds of years to develop them. Democracy requires tolerance of opponents and willingness to lose without resorting to violence. When middle eastern nations have had elections, Islamists have often won. See this article and this article.

Is Iraq better off following the collapse of the Saddam regime?

In some ways yes, in some ways no.

Is the US military capable of continuing the fight in Iraq as a strictly volunteer army? What about a draft?

Yes. A draft would be a disaster. It would diminish freedom, weaken the military, divide America, and damage our prospects of victory. See this article.

Iraq gets the majority of attention regarding the War on Terror, while Afghanistan has been called by some “the forgotten war.” Is the US able to fulfill its military obligations to both?


The rhetoric between the US and Iran has grown increasingly aggressive. What are the implications for Iraq, and the Middle East in general?

Actions matter, not rhetoric. Iran's support of terrorists in Lebanon and elsewhere hurts the prospects of peace and freedom. The same is true of its (past or current) nuclear program. There are credible allegations that Iran has supported the terrorists in Iraq. America's actions toward Iran will affect these issues as well.

See the following articles for more valuable information.
Don Devine: Middle Way Iraq Victory
Thomas Sowell: Mugged By Reality
Thomas Sowell: Mugged By Reality: Part II
Thomas Sowell: Mugged By Reality: Part III
Jed Babbin: Fire the Neocons, Fight the War
Pat Buchanan: The Democracy Worshiper

1 comment:

Dan Roth said...

One thing to keep in mind with the cost of the war is that we can get an idea of what the cost could have been had we been wrong. Imagine even a fairly small US city like Kansas City being hit by a nuclear weapon. The loss of human life would have been huge, the destruction to our infrastructure would have been massive, and the cost financially would have been much greater than we have spent so far in Iraq. The cost of Iraq could almost be looked at like insurance. We may have never needed it, but we may have saved ourselves big time compared to if we hadn't.