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Why Is the United States at War with Iraq?
Why is the United States at war with Iraq? [*] It is a lot easier to say what are not the reasons for us intervention in the Gulf than to provide a fully satisfactory account of its presence there. According to the Bush administration, the usa is fighting Iraq because Saddam Hussein is a ruthless tyrant who has carried out an unjust invasion of Kuwait. In the pompous rhetoric of the President’s State of the Union address, ‘What is at stake is. . .a new world order—where diverse nations are drawn together in common cause to achieve the universal aspirations of mankind: peace and security, freedom and the rule of law. . .Saddam Hussein’s unprovoked invasion. . .will not stand.’ It is important to take the administration’s rhetoric seriously, because what might be called its empirical premisses are, in one respect, obviously correct. Saddam Hussein is a ruthless tyrant and his invasion of Kuwait must be condemned. Popular support in the usa for the administration’s war is based, to an important degree, on the perceived nature of the Iraqi regime and, above all, the injustice of his invasion. For this reason, the peace movement has the task of showing that, although the public’s perception and judgment of the Iraqi regime and its invasion is not in error, nevertheless the us intervention could not be more wrong. This is, most relevantly, because us action is in no way motivated by Saddam’s awful regime or his violation of democratic rights, and will only make things much worse for the people of the region and of the United States itself.
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