President Bush: Iraq Mess Doesn’t Make Preemptive War a Bad Idea

The Washington Post is reporting that the President has restated the “Bush Doctrine” in a new national security strategy document.

“If necessary, however, under long-standing principles of self defense, we do not rule out use of force before attacks occur, even if uncertainty remains as to the time and place of the enemy’s attack,” the document continues. “When the consequences of an attack with WMD are potentially so devastating, we cannot afford to stand idly by as grave dangers materialize.”

Last I check, long-standing principles of self-defense required that you be defending against an attack or credible threat, not shooting first and looking for evidence to justify it later.

The document also lays out our new and improved foreign policy, based on spreading democracy worldwide, at the barrel of a gun. Except when the democracy that we spread doesn’t elect people we like; then democracy is bad.

At the same time, it acknowledges that “elections alone are not enough” and sometimes lead to undesirable results. “These principles are tested by the victory of Hamas candidates in the recent elections in the Palestinian territories,” the strategy says, referring to the radical group designated as a terrorist organization by the United States.

Without saying what action would be taken against them, the strategy singles out seven nations as prime examples of “despotic systems” — North Korea, Iran, Syria, Cuba, Belarus, Burma and Zimbabwe. Iran and North Korea receive particular attention because of their nuclear programs, and the strategy vows in both cases “to take all necessary measures” to protect the United States against them.

Goodbye “Axis of Evil,” hello “Seven Bad Dwarves.” Well, at least Cuba’s close by, but I don’t think they’re first on the list. I predict that we’ll bring military action against Iran within the year. Anyone want to bet against it?

posted by nsarwark
  • http://mingi.typepad.com Mingi

    With Iran’s nuclear program allegedly supported by much of its population, a surgical strike or regime change could result in asymmetric warfare in the Middle East turning worse and far greater in scale.

    I’d bet against war in Iran, although pragmatism hasn’t been this administration’s strong point.

  • http://www.ilovephysics.com Chris Moore

    I always thought I was justified to shoot an armed man threatening me or my family. I didn’t know I was supposed to wait until he shot first and pray for the miss.

    A preemptive military strike is not in and of itself a bad thing.

  • disinter

    Chris,

    With that logic, the US should have been attacked and disarmed years ago.

  • Torfinn

    This is more like going into someone elses house, because you think they have a gun, and you think they are threatening your family because your talk -a- lot neighbor says so, and shooting them before they have the chance to come to you.

    Much different.

    Iran isn’t exactly bringing nukes to our house.

  • http://libspot.org/member/mlaursen/blog1/ Mike Laursen

    Attacking first can be the best method of defense when genuinely threated. I’d even argue that pre-emptive force in such a situation doesn’t violate the spirit of the libertarian non-aggression principle. But the argument would be predicated on the assumption that the person making the decision to attack pre-emptively exercises sound judgement and a genuine desire to avoid conflict — that ain’t Bush. Or putting it another way, principles only work correctly in the hands of principled people.

  • http://thedefeatists.com the rev.

    amazing. the thing with this bush guy, and i think he’s responsible for a lot of people becoming like him, is that he does not seem to know the difference between thought and belief.

    rational does not guide him, intuition and feeling do. it’s a beautiful mindset because you are virtually never, ever wrong. evididence is merely a talking point, facts are moot unless they support your belief.

  • Torfinn

    Also yes, it’s easy to take that perspective when looking outwards, but completely disavow it when judging our own selves.

    I mean, if every country in the world had the rights that we claim to have, well we would’ve been attacked dozens of times over.

  • johnny

    Mike Nelson .. Are you actually that stupid that you would let someone shoot at you first before trying to stop them

    Since Iran’s president chants “death to america” daily, do you think he wouldn’t use a Nuke aganist us .. wake up

  • http://libertarianyouth.blogspot.com Nigel Watt

    Luckily for Belarus and Zimbabwe, they’re landlocked, so we can’t just sail ourselves right to their door. Syria, though landlocked, is also bordered by Iraq, nulling its protection.

  • http://exjeffersonville.blogspot.com Scott

    For those supportive of the Bush doctrine, where would the line be drawn?When does someone become a threat?Do we now openly vow to bomb everyone that disagrees?I find it disturbing that Iran is a target, when India has nuclear weapons (Iran doesn’t), and hasn’t signed the non-proliferation treaty (Iran did).

  • http://www.ilovephysics.com Chris Moore

    My statement did not suggest that Iran should be attacked, or that Iraq should have been attacked. The title of this post is “Iraq Mess Doesn’t Make Preemptive War a Bad Idea.” I agree with that statement.

    If there is evidence of a real threat to American citizens, then take out the threat. Is Iran a real threat right now? I don’t know. Is a nuclear Iran a real threat? Again, I don’t know. I’d be more worried about what will happen in Pakistan in the event of a coup.

  • http://www.ilovephysics.com Chris Moore

    BTW, I liked what Ron Paul said on FOX News yesterday. He brought up the fact that we successfully “contained” the USSR for the entire duration of the Cold War. When Cavuto pointed out that we were dealing with a mad man in Iran, Dr. Paul asked if the Iranian president was any more mad than Stalin, and he never dropped nukes on America.

    Force should always be a last resort. But sometimes a dispute will come to blows. I believe that Iran (even with a nuclear weapon) can be contained. But if I were president, and intelligence crossed my desk that suggested Iran was selling suitcase bombs to terrorists, then I wouldn’t hesitate to strike first.

  • disinter

    Chris,

    Is the US a threat to other countries? If so, should we be “taken out”?

  • http://ilovephysics.com Chris Moore

    Mike,

    The real question behind your question is: Is the US a threat to Iran? And if so, should Iran “take out” the US.

    The current Iranian regime may believe the US to be a threat. And they may intend to “take us out.” If that is the case, then they better be prepared for a beating. And if intelligence suggests this to be the case, then by all means the US should strike first.

    Criminals consider armed potential victims to be a threat. And they have no qualms with a first strike. If such a criminal crosses my path, I will shoot first.

    What you’re trying to get at with your question, I believe, is that Iran has legitimate beefs with the US. I recognize this. But the second they point a gun to the US’s head, then I believe the US has the responsibility to disarm and destroy if necessary.

    Maybe you think the US has its guns pointed at others heads. Maybe you’re right. But that is a different discussion. I’m a member of Team America, and if it came to it, I hope the US plays to win

  • http://weeklyramble.blogspot.com Daryl Sawyer

    Personally, I think a nuclear Iran is LESS likely to attack us. With nukes, they can engage in assymetric warfare endlessly, and since it doesn’t impact the vast majority of Americans directly, Americans will not, for the most part, vote to go to war with them. We certainly wouldn’t feel the need to drop a nuke on them!

    However, an Iran with Nukes looks much more threatening to the average man. “Death To America” is just a campaign promise–something that can be broken in the face of pragmatism. And the simple fact is, if Iran has nukes, AND Iran behaves aggressively toward us, Iran is likely to end up with MORE nukes in their country than they bargained for.

    I’m pretty sure that even if their current leader actually IS mad, their people, on the whole, are not. The suicide-bombers are a vocal minority in that country. Most people would not like to die for meaningless rhetoric, Muslim or otherwise.

  • http://weeklyramble.blogspot.com Daryl Sawyer

    I meant to start with “without nukes” Sorry. :(

  • Wayne Bevan

    Most of you guys are missing the big picture. Diplomacy most be used by the United States. Pre-emptive stikes will only lead us to isolation and irrelevency. We do not live in a “John Wayne” world anymore.

  • bac

    Nuking another country is very bad financially too. If Iran were to be nuked the US would have to clean it up. Try creating a democracy when several thousand Iranians are suffering from radiation poison. People talk about nuking another country without thinking about how the nuked country and its people will move on.

    I think before attacking any country there should be a post-war plan. A plan that provides help for the attacked country, its people and the financial responsibility of both countries.

    If having big government spending on another country is unlibertarian then stop talking about nuking other countries.

    There is no absolute safety without absolute control. Dying with total freedom may be better than dying in sudo-safety.

  • andy

    pre-emptive war may be legitimate, but it must be a war that is declared, as the constitution requires, by congress. when was the last time any war was declared by congress? we have allowed our presidents to become dictators when they step into the role of commander in chief.

  • Nicholas Sarwark

    Why should we trust the President to know when a country is a credible threat worthy of preemptive war when the President so badly misjudged the last preemptive war?

    Furthermore, should we trust any President with the authority to start wars against non-belligerent states?

    I think not.

  • http://ilovephysics.com Chris Moore

    Nicholas, I agree.

    But if I were king …

  • paulie cannoli

    I’m a member of Team America, and if it came to it, I hope the US plays to win

    Well, Captain, hate to tell ya but you and your team are going down big time!

    A nice, fat, juicy, centrally located target will not stand up against a diffuse enemy that’s “everywhere and nowhere”. Instead of worrying about Iran you should be worried about the nameless, faceless – let’s call it the X factor – of one billion plus (and that’s just the Muslims – as if they are the only ones you’ve pissed off) regimeless – who do you attack? They can nuke your command center, but they don’t have one for you to nuke.

    Can they get nukes? Heck yeah. Materials and know-how are readily available from the ex-USSR, with several Muslim nations, many out of work scientists, porous contiguous borders to the Mideast nations with a tradition of Bakshish (bribes) along those borders.

    Add the porous US coastline and border, ex-Spetsnatz, and your “intelligence” seems pretty dumb….

  • paulie cannoli

    I’m pretty sure that even if their current leader actually IS mad, their people, on the whole, are not. The suicide-bombers are a vocal minority in that country. Most people would not like to die for meaningless rhetoric,

    In America, the current leader actually IS mad (nutz), the people, on the whole, are not (only 33% approve of Bush, who stole two elections, while 18% approve of Cheney, the drunk puppetmaster behind the porcelain throne…and dropping like a rock, pronounced Iraq). The suicide-bombers are a vocal minority in this country. Most people would not like to die for Bush’s meaningless rhetoric and the voices in his head, although 18-33% are willing to send other people to die for it, even though a clear majority of those actually in line to die now want out.

    Unfortunately psycho-dubai-ya and his Crime Family don’t care what anyone but their gang wants. If one invasion fails and the lies behind it are exposed they’ll just use the same big lies to conjure anotha

  • paulie cannoli

    I think before attacking any country there should be a post-war plan. A plan that provides help for the attacked country, its people and the financial responsibility of both countries.

    Don’t worry, Halliburton’s got ya covered! Leave the financial responsibilty to the tax-suckers, preferrably ones still in diapers or not yet born whenever possible.

  • paulie cannoli

    Unfortunately psycho-dubai-ya and his Crime Family don’t care what anyone but their gang wants. If one invasion fails and the lies behind it are exposed they’ll just use the same big lies to conjure another one much as Adolf Hitler (family friend and role model of the Bush War Crime Family) did.

    This is classical addict pattern behavior (Bush is an addict, and at best a dry drunk). When addictive behavior causes a mess the solution is to redouble it again and again, until total collapse. This hapenned to the Third Reich and is bound to happen to Bush’s Fourth Reich. Like Bush, Hitler was an addict. They both were nutz and heard voices in their head. They were both admired by irrational psychotic crowds.

    Hitler staged the Reichstag Fire and the Bush Crime Family staged 9-11. Hitler passed Enabling Laws, the Patriot Act of Nazi Germany. Then followed secret detentions and prisons like Abu Ghraib and Gitmo, “rendering” etc.

    Afghanistan and Iraq=Austria, Czechos…

  • paulie cannoli

    Iran=Poland?

    Today the Homeland, tomorrow the world….