The Cross-Blog Iraq Debate

    Thanks to Mellow-drama (the only WarBlogger that I find to be worthwhile reading) I stumbled onto the Cross-Blog Debate (info can also be found on it at: nowarblog.org

    Here are my responses (questions are in red and authored by some of the pro-war bloggists, for anti-war bloggists to answer):

    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?

    I would lift the sanctions against all non-military goods and engage in policy of humanitarian aid for the people of Iraq (bombing them with butter as the saying goes) while at the same time enhancing the current inspections regime (and possibly engaging in unilateral intelligence work) to ensure that Iraq does not have the capability to actually launch a weapons of mass destruction attack. I would also work with the people of Northern Iraq (Kurdistan) to help them develop infrastucture and greater autonomy in hopes of some day their achieving full independence from Iraq.

    Finally I would begin radio broadcasts (and leaflet drops) into Iraq with educational materials on the methods of non-violent direct action, to encourage the people of Iraq to rise up in peaceful opposition to the Hussein regime.

    I believe these policies would do more to help the people of Iraq and Kurdistan build their own lives, and hopefully in time achieve liberation through non-violent means from the Hussein regime. These policies also might prevent war.

    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?

    I believe the US should never use military force, but IF theoretically such an action would truly be the lesser of two evils it should be done with the permission of the international community through the United Nations.

    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?

    I agree the no-fly zones have been somewhat effective. However full-on regime change will not work with out the development of alternative governmental structures to take the place of the Hussein regime. The reason why the Kurds are able to function is that they did have in part the social infrastructure to make it work. I do not think the Iraqi people have that same situation yet.

    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?

    I am unsure if the inspections regime will work, but I do believe the sanctions have not worked because they target the civilian population and not the military needs of the country. I do not think that continuing the sanctions is an appropriate alternative to war.

    There is no perfect solution and time will tell what is best. Many have died from sanctions. Many would die from war. I don’t think either alternative is a good one.

    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?)

    I believe that national sovreignty in an ideal sense is generally found in the consent of the governed, but in a practical sense is found in political and military power.

    This should be a goal for America and the world, to see democracy take root in Iraq (and many other repressive nations… i.e. China, Saudi Arabia, and others)

    As a pacifist I do not believe that force is the way to enact social change. Maybe force would achieve the desired result (a free Iraq) but I doubt that it will. (most likely it will result in another dictatorial regime) That is why I think the US and other nations should help the Iraqi people directly with information on non-violent methods of revolution.