Will U.S. pre-emptive policy continue?

The continuation of the current foreign policy will inevitably strain not only our national budget but our armed forces.

There are many in this country who continue to support the war in Iraq, and the reason most often put forth is that Saddam Hussein was a ruthless dictator who killed, tortured and imprisoned his enemies, and that the world is a better place without him.

Of course, the war was sold to Congress and the American people based upon the imminent threat of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, which, as we have seen, was based upon questionable intelligence and the even more questionable analysis practices of the Bush administration. For the moment, let’s put that aside and return to the issue of Saddam as a ruthless dictator.

On its face, this statement is hard to argue against. The world is unquestionably a better place without Saddam in power. We must ask ourselves, though, whether this is reason enough to start a war. There are many ruthless dictators in power in many other parts of the world. Do we use Iraq as a springboard to move into Syria, as Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has advocated? Or Iran, a member of the so-called “Axis of Evil”? What about North Korea and the death camps of Kim Jong Il? China’s ruthless occupation of Tibet? The military junta in Myanmar? Or do we choose among the plethora of ruthless dictators in Africa?

The fact that none of these brutal dictatorships (outside of Syria and Iran) have entered into the national debate raises troubling questions related to the common denominator among Iraq, Syria and Iran (i.e. they possess a large percentage of the world’s oil reserves). But even putting aside this concern, let us turn to the inevitable consequences of the pre-emptive foreign policy stance of this administration.

The continuation of the current foreign policy will inevitably strain not only our national budget but our armed forces, leading to the question that nobody is asking: If we find ourselves short of troops to support our war plans, what happens next? Does the administration open the question of reinstating the draft?

That brings us to Gregg Knorn and others like him who support the war. If push comes to shove, can Knorn picture himself enlisting in the armed forces and serving under fire in someplace such as Iraq? Is Knorn willing to risk his own life to bring freedom to the Iraqi people?

Now Knorn might deny that the draft will be reinstated, or might argue that, as a college student, he would not

be asked to serve. But all of that really serves to obscure the issue: Whether those who support the war would really put their own lives on the line, or whether they prefer to risk the lives of others instead of their own.

If you support the war, consider whether, in your deepest of dark places, you know that you would do everything in your power to avoid military service if the draft were reinstated. Does this make you a bad person? Of course not. Like anyone else, when the question involves your own life instead of others’, the answers require more thought. But does supporting the war and wanting to avoid military service make you a hypocrite? It sure does.

Mark van Ryzin is an educational psychology graduate student. He welcomes comments at [email protected]