Obsidian Wings: Killing Innocent Iraqis to Try to Protect OurselvesObsidian Wings puts it well. If that was the standard, then Bush et al are guilty of war crimes.
...Condi argued that after 9/11 we had two choices: we could go after and eradicate bin Laden and Al Qaida and then turn toward protecting ourselves against other threats, or we could go after the roots of Islamic terrorism and change the landscape in the Middle East. She argued that no one who understands the Middle East could imagine the landscape there changing until Saddam Hussein was out of power.
You can't do things that directly and indirectly kill about 100,000 civilians because you want to change the geopolitical landscape. That's wrong in so many different ways. Ursula LeGuinn dealt with this in a clever short story some time ago. I don't remember the title, but the premise was that a utopian society's happiness was guaranteed only by torturing and executing one innocent person a year. Wrong solution.
I can imagine reasons I'd accept for invading Iraq, even in the absence of an overt direct threat, but Condi isn't making those arguments. Moreover, if one must act in these circumstances, one must be willing to pay a high price in american lives and money to reduce the collateral damage.
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