I want to preface this because I do not want this to turn into another general antiwar pro-war debate. I am confident that not all of those opposed to war are doing this solely for humanitarian reasons, or just because they think Iraqi civilians may die. There are plenty of people who, although think civilian deaths are a reason to oppose it, they also do not like the implications of a non UN sanctioned war and what it would entail about “American Imperialism”, “bullying”, “hegemony”, or whatever adjective you want to apply to the might of the US and the forcing of it’s will on others. I do not want to argue the latter here. It is not that I find these reasons legitimate. To the contrary, I find those ill informed and knee-jerk reactions to pretty much anything the US does. I do, however, give some empathy to those who feel the loss of innocent life is too much of a price to pay. This is to debate those who’s overriding belief that the cost of lives to innocents in a war makes a war in Iraq just to disarm him not justified…
And one more caveat before I start; I do not want to debate those that think that a Saddam armed with WMD is not a threat to world peace and security for everyone. I thin those people should be in front of the UN protesting all resolutions to disarm Iraq. Or at least be honest about it if you must debate and give significant reasons why that is so besides the fact that Saddam cannot launch a nuke at a US city. And if you must argue that, then I would like to stay on topic and for you to also give reasons why you think sanctions, or status quo, is more preferable to war.
Now, for the past twelve years I have heard almost ad infinitum about the imperialist Americans killing “millions of Iraqi children” by starving them with their murderous sanctions. Now, maybe they are still decrying it and their voices are just being drowned out by the antiwar rhetoric. But they are being replaced by the ones decrying the loss of innocent lives by an aggressive war by the US.
This link provides a lot of estimates on the deaths of civilians caused by the Gulf War. The highest number cited is 3,500. As CyberPundit pointed out to me in another thread, there are surely more deaths caused by damaged infrastructure and other post war syndromes. But the number he quoted from memory from a yahoo article estimating the deaths were in the tens of thousands. And assuming the worste*, a civil war and mass upheaval in the region, you cannot safely say that the deaths of civilians from a major blunder would overshadow the deaths purportedly caused by the sanctions.
*Assuming the worse and running with it is asinine considering the worse never happens accept in the most extraneous of times. While the best laid plans always go out the window after the first shot is fired in times of war, the worst would only happen if those with the ability to curtail the damage just walk away. And I can safely say that that would never happen in today’s world under this particular set of circumstances.
The goal of sanctions is to prohibit Iraq’s development of WMD. The goals of war is to prohibit WMD, liberate the Iraqi people, and help bring stability into a centuries old unstable region. The deaths of a new war is argued to be lower than the previous war because of many circumstances. The foremost reason is the goals of the war. There are indications that many of those that would do massive harm will not do so if they are confident that Saddam will not be around to punish them after the war. The others are things like the technology advancements of the US, the strength of Saddams forces being significantly reduced since the first war, the awareness of the war and expectations of antiwar peoples all over the world, etc.;
Also we would have the ability to effect the postwar deaths in an effective way. The major action would be the lifting of sanctions. They would also have the most powerful nations in control to actually rebuild any effected infrastructure caused by the war, which in and of itself , could raise the quality and chance of life even above a pre warmongering Saddam standard.
Of course, no one can confidently say what will happen in the future. And I, hopefully, am trying to put the realities into perspective. Yes, I have annunciated the positives and argued against the negatives. I am confident that, even if the US drops the ball big-time, the rest of the world can lessen the fall of a pathetic peoples who have suffered far too long IMO. And I think this is a great opportunity for the West to make amends and actually give credit to their touted humanitarianism.
So how is war worse than what we have been doing since the early 90’s. And how can we support sanctions and inspections when the amiable postion of the status quo kills so many innocents while letting the guilty off with just a slap on the wrist at worse, and support for the regime against the inhumanities of the west grows?