Daily Kos
Political analysis and other daily rants on the state of the nation

Friday | February 21, 2003

The price of war

It strikes me as interesting when I read warblogger rationales for war that argue this will be a quick and easy affair. There's no doubt that we, as a nation, have been spoiled by a string of relatively easy and bloodless (for US forces) conflicts.

However, I would venture that anytime our nation goes to war, we should ask ourselves whether the proposed action is worth whatever it takes to win. That is, you can't argue it should be painless, or casualty-free, or otherwise put forth best case scenarios and hope for the best. Rather, you should ask yourself -- could I continue to support said action regardless the toll in American lives, and regardless the toll on our treasury?

Arguing that we should invade because it will be easy, is sheer folly. Granted, this war could be a cakewalk, but there's no guarantee it will be. And if a large part of your war argument is "it would be easy", what happens if the casualties pile up?

In my mind, there are three clear instances when war is justified under this doctrine -- 1) self defense, 2) defense of our allies and other treaty obligations, and 3) genocide. The idealist in me wants to add "humanitarian catastrophes" (such as Somalia), but I become a bit more provincial under those circumstances. Best to leave it at the aforementioned three.

I've made my thoughts on this war clear -- I don't think it's worth the loss of 10 American, Australian or British lives.

This isn't a video game. It isn't children playing war. The losers don't rise to play again. Would you be able to face grieving wives, husbands, children, parents and argue this war was worth their loved ones' ultimate sacrifice?

So, if you support war -- do you do so regardless the cost? If you think ousting Saddam is worth our nation's finances and 1,000 American dead. Or 10,000. Or 100,000, then I suppose I can respect that.

But don't put people's lives at risk on the assumption that everything will be okay. War is not that easily predictable.

Posted February 21, 2003 10:45 AM | Comments (66)


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