Story last updated at 3:04 p.m. Thursday, October 3, 2002

Bush sets bad example
We are evidently going to war again with Iraq, soon, despite the fact that Iraq has neither invaded anyone (lately) nor given any indications of intending to do so. Iraq has, however, failed to comply with an array of U.N. conventions. Heretofore, that has not been deemed just cause for war; we ourselves have chosen to ignore U.N. resolutions when it served our interests, as have any number of our allies. Iraq probably has dangerous weapons, but so do most sovereign nations, and we have more than any of them.

Our president is about to declare war, taking "pre-emptive military action," which by definition would make us the aggressor. We no longer even need a sinking of the "Maine" or a Gulf of Tonkin fabrication; we have only to declare our intent (friend, foe and precedent be damned), and then simply do it.

While such forthright honesty may be refreshing, it destroys all pretense of holding the moral high ground. We will have become what we claim to abhor: a rogue nation, armed to the teeth. The suggestion of benevolence, in liberating downtrodden innocent Iraqi civilians from a tyrant gives pause, in that we have made no move to save downtrodden innocent Liberians, Libyans, Myanmarians, Sudanese, Syrians and Zimbabweans (to name a few) from their respective tyrants.

Why favor the Iraqis with our beneficence? If there is hard evidence of imminent danger to the U.S.A. from Saddam Hussein, that evidence has yet to be presented to the American public. There is also a very real question as to who, or what, would constitute an acceptable "regime change." There are no Hamid Karzais or Shah Massouds in Iraq. Our recent foray into nation-building in Afghanistan has been half-hearted at best: pledging funds and assistance is easy, delivering on those promises is problematic.

The task of rebuilding Afghanistan has barely begun in earnest, and already we're bored with it, looking elsewhere for diversion. Nation-building can be successfully accomplished: Germany and Japan today are models of democracy and free enterprise, but it takes time, money, dedication, determination and a longer attention span than we've had in this country for at least a generation.

We've always been proud to lead by example, and rightly so. I shudder to think what example we will be setting for the world in Gulf War II.

Ken Landfield