Symposium on the Symposium

Regarding the Register symposium “Did the War in Iraq Secure the Peace?” (Jan. 4-10):

Thank you for balancing your anti-war positions with thoughtful articles by supporters of President Bush's olicies.

I feel compelled to respond to some of the mistaken assumptions of the anti-war writers. I am particularly erplexed by Mark Shea's essay. He implies that the United States violated international law and just-war rinciples; therefore, countries such as North Korea and China could follow our lead and invade Taiwan or outh Korea using the same justifications we used to invade Iraq. I'm struck by the naiveté of this argument.

Does Mr. Shea believe that international law keeps China and North Korea from invading their neighbors? hese “model world citizens” are kept in check by their own self-interest, including fear of response from he United States. If anything, our war in Iraq will be more of a deterrent to those nations than an excuse.

Shea also cites Saddam's supposed lastminute offer to admit inspectors, which he says we “ignored” to claim this wasn't a war of last resort. If that were a remotely credible offer, opponents of Bush would be all over it. (Why does he even bother quoting The New York Times, one of the most leftslanted papers in the ountry?) Clearly, the supposed offer was not worth anything.

Finally, the inability to find weapons of mass destruction does not mean they don't exist, and we can only act on the information we believe to be true at the time we are making decisions. Monday-morning uarterbacking doesn't change the validity of the reasons for turning to military force.

Thanks for your excellent paper.


Andover, Minnesota

Thank you for the thoughtful opinions on the morality of the war in Iraq.

Is there anyone who sees this the way I do? I believe we did the right thing for the wrong reason.

We eliminated a brutal tyrant and mass murderer but not because he is a brutal tyrant and mass murderer. we eliminated him because he allegedly supported terrorism and harbored weapons of mass destruction.

Well, it turns out he did not support terrorism and harbor weapons of mass destruction, at least not any more than many other nations we have not invaded.

In truth, and in simple human solidarity, anyone has the right to stop a tyrant. What we lack is the courage and gumption to do so.

Time and again we have tolerated mass murderers and brutal dictators as long as we were left unscathed.

It is sad that we try to justify the invasion of Iraq by appealing to human rights and fanciful “preventive eterrence” doctrines. Our foreign policy has not changed in more than 200 years. We decide based on our national interest,” i.e., what we think is good for our country, ignoring the needs of others.

Not only does this betray our foundational belief that “all men are created equal,” but it also assumes we an actually know what our national interest is. It's a policy that helped Saddam and other tyrants assume ower in the first place.

I would support unilateral action by our government to eliminate tyrants anywhere in the world.

Our true national interest is freedom for all.


St. Louis