Meaningful Distinction:

Patrick S. Lasswell Look outward for something to accomplish, not inward for something to despise.
pslblog at gmail dot com
Thursday, April 15, 2004
On the Right to Act in Iraq

Today, I ran across a common whinge that needs to be addressed.

We have no right to be there.

In 1991 we stopped kicking the Iraqi Army's ass all over the desert on a list of conditions, chief among them that Saddam Hussein and his government disarm. At the time the only significant obstacle to taking Baghdad was providing logistics for our forces that far; there was no meaningful military force in opposition.

Part of responsible weapons production and maintenance is maintaining extensive records of the disposition of all ammunition. In case any production lot of ammunition is found to be flawed or dangerous, the ammunition lot can be recalled. This also prevents excitable subordinates from going on a tear with heavy artillery.

Saddam Hussein's regime had weapons of mass destruction in 1991 when he lost more thoroughly and more quickly than anyone in history. In 2002 his government was offered the opportunity to stay in existence if he could show accurate records of the disposition of his weapons of mass destruction, and Saddam could not or would not do so. Because of this bookkeeping failure to keep track of incredibly dangerous killing tools, Saddam Hussein failed in his responsibility to abide by the agreements he made to stay in power in 1991.

We put Al Capone in jail for tax evasion; we put Saddam Hussein in jail for bad or misleading record keeping. We had every right in the world to do both.
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