Saturday, March 5, 2011

Libyan Weapons

The militia of Muamar Qaddafi has used tear gas in an attack against a town controlled by rebels in Libya against Qaddafi's rule. Years ago, when George W. Bush (whom I think should be called George Bush the younger) was President, the Libyan government agreed to give up on weapons of mass destruction. Some people might say that this shows that George Bush the younger was right to be aggressive about the Middle East and to invade Iraq, because Qaddafi was afraid that if he did not work on giving up on weapons of mass destruction he would be even better armed now and would have killed far more of the people who opposed his dictatorship.
There are, however, two strategies for being aggressive in the Middle East. One of them is to say that any government that was not friendly to the United States should have been invaded. This strategy has not been responsible for Qaddafi giving up his weapons simply because that strategy was not used. Qaddafi was negotiated with diplomatically.
The other strategy for being aggressive in the Middle East was the targeted invasion of Iraq. Some people would say that this shows Bush's war in Iraq was good because it made Qaddafi so afraid of war from America that he gave up his weapons. This argument is not enough to show that Bush was right for two reasons. First, there were other effects of the war in Iraq that may have been negative and should be considered in evaluating if going to war was good or bad, like increased violence in Iraq, increased anti-Americanism around the world, and increased strain on the American military. Second, there are other reasons for Qadaffi to agree to give up his weapons. For example, economics maye have played a role as Qadaffi wanted Libyan goods to become open to more markets around the world by not being as much of an outcast state.
But none of this distracts from another point, that playing some part in the disarmament of Libya is only one of the ways that soldiers for the allies who fought in Iraq should be proud of what they did.

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