What if we hadn't gone to war in Iraq?


What if?  What if?  A useless question to be sure but one that haunts us all as we wonder about the path(s) not taken and ponder the one(s) we did. 

And so with the current situation in Iraq.  What if we hadn't gone to war in Iraq?  Robert Kagan discusses what would have happened had the US continued with no fly zones and those UN sanctions.

It is entirely possible, in short, that if the Bush administration had not gone to war in 2003, the United States might have faced a more dangerous and daring Saddam Hussein later on and felt compelled to act. So, in addition to whatever price might have been paid, certainly by the Iraqi people and possibly by Iraq's neighbors, for leaving Saddam in power, we might have wound up going to war anyway. There is the further question of what the entire Middle East would have looked like with a defiant, increasingly liberated Hussein still in power. To quote Berger again, so long as Hussein remained "in power and in confrontation with the world," Iraq would remain "a source of potential conflict in the region," and, perhaps more important, "a source of inspiration for those who equate violence with power and compromise with surrender." Whether historians judge the war favorably will depend heavily on whether post—Hussein Iraq does indeed provide a different sort of inspiration, but, again, the effort to change the direction of the region was surely worth paying some price.

Prophecy is left to fools, the past can't be relived and then repaired.  (Alas!)  Agree with his conclusions or not, it provides food for thought and maybe some comfort for those who lost a loved one.

Ethel C. Fenig    6 20 05