Tuesday, February 18, 2003

Which is easier? War or Peace?

Earlier this morning I read a comment on a blog somewhere (sorry, lost track of where) that an invasion of Iraq and removal of Hussein has one advantage over a toughened inspections regime: the former would be over quicker than the latter, which means that the latter provides more opportunity for allies with weak knees to bag out of the inspection regime. But would the invasion solution really be any better in this respect? After all, there is more to winning in Iraq than just sweeping in and removing Hussein from power. Indeed, one main complaint against the U.S. position is that it doesn't address what happens afterward. There are many who suspect, with good reason, that once Hussein is out of there that America will lose interest and...well...bag out. This reminds me of a boast I sometimes hear coming from Bush supporters. They like to brag that Bush accomplished in Afghanistan in a matter of weeks what the entire Soviet military could not accomplish in over ten years. This is a dreadfully misinformed point of view. The Russians quickly "subdued" Afghanistan after the 1980 invasion and installed their puppet government. But, over the course of the next years, the Mujahadeen steadily wore them down until the Russians were forced to scurry back across the border. In other words, America's "success" in Afghanistan is, at this point, no better than Russia's "success" was by 1981. Winning the peace can be harder than winning the war. There are many who believe that fighting the war makes winning the peace just that much harder. I am, generally, among them. Is the chaos that will result from an attack on Iraq really that much easier to deal with than the situation we have right now? Or are we being driven by an ideology that prefers the chaos of war to the order of peace?

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