Congress reconvenes this week, the possibility of war with Iraq looms
larger than ever. I believe the Constitution clearly requires a declaration
of war by Congress before a military invasion of Iraq can take place.
I also believe that Congress and the American people need to engage
in a sober and thorough debate over the wisdom of such an invasion
before we commit our young soldiers to a new war in Iraq. At a minimum,
the following questions should be carefully considered:
do so many knowledgeable military experts, including former generals
Anthony Zinni, Brent Scowcroft, Norman Schwarzkopf, and Colin Powell,
caution against war in Iraq? These men understand the geopolitics
and military realities of Iraq and the Middle East from their service
during the first Bush administration. Are the brilliant military minds
of a decade ago suddenly irrelevant? Note that those who actually
have experienced war are the most reluctant to call for war, in stark
contrast to the mostly non-veteran pundits clamoring to "take Saddam
a real danger to us, or have the war hawks wildly exaggerated the
threat posed by this impoverished third-world nation?
personally feel strongly enough about Iraq to leave your home, family,
and job to join the war? If you are beyond the age of military service,
would you want your children or grandchildren to do the same? After
Pearl Harbor, almost all Americans would have answered yes to this
question, but do we really have the same national unity and clear
sense of purpose when it comes to Iraq?
would you give up at home to provide the billions of dollars necessary
to prosecute the war? Would you support a huge tax increase, or give
up your Social Security benefits for a decade? I know many Americans
would be happy to sacrifice, but we should be honest about what this
war might cost us and judge whether it’s worth it.
wants a regime change in Iraq, but who exactly will replace Hussein?
Will we support a handpicked successor who later turns on us, much
like bin Laden did after we funded his resistance to Soviet occupation
of Afghanistan? Remember that the Kurds, our supposed friends in northern
Iraq, have fundamentalist factions that are aligned with bin Laden
and are allegedly hiding al Qaeda. We risk replacing the secular Hussein
regime with a more fundamentalist Kurd regime that hates western values.
long will we be in Iraq after Saddam Hussein is ousted? Will we be
nation-building for decades, as we almost certainly will be in Afghanistan?
We cannot afford to repeat the mistakes made in Korea and Vietnam
by entering another conflict without clear objectives and a definite
an invasion of Iraq play into bin Laden’s hands by turning the entire
Islamic world against us? Will an Iraq war expand into a Middle East
war against Israel? Will Islamic terrorists mount attacks in America
and around the world to protest the war?
are justified in attacking Iraq, what about the dozens of other countries
that pose much more of a threat to us? Why aren’t the war hawks calling
for an invasion of Iran or especially Saudi Arabia, which harbored
most of the September 11th terrorists?
American forces stretched thin in the Middle East and the administration
preoccupied, will China take the opportunity to invade Taiwan? Will
India and Pakistan engage in a full-fledged war? Will adversaries
like Russia consider us weakened and move against us?
do the American people, and not just a handful of advisors
to the President, really want this war?
of these questions, and many more, need to be asked and answered in
a full and robust congressional debate.