13:02 14 Apr 2003

One thing I’m a little sick of hearing, and not just from the Iraq situation, is all the blah blah blah about the end justifying or not justifying the means. Then there’s this in a WaPo op-ed by William Rasberry:

If the Iraqi people end up better off as a direct result of America’s insistence on launching the war without the support of the United Nations, it won’t be the first time that good outcomes have resulted from bad means.

Part of my problem with the means and the end argument concerning Iraq is that those who use it assume that “UN support for war = good” is a given. The same people usually cast Bush and his administration as oil-hungry politicians who don’t really care about much else, but it certainly seems that those same arguments apply to France. Not that I believe we’re in a war for oil, but it seems that France may be against the war because of oil. So why is our insistence on war for oil bad when France’s insistence on no war for oil good?

I’ll agree that the end doesn’t justify the means, but there’s more to it than that. We have proven that we can make war on Iraq without becoming Iraq. What if we would have followed the UN’s wishes and not invaded? Saddam would still be in power, probably working on WMD as we speak, ruling his population with an iron fist. He probably would have remained in power forever, and the cost in human lives would be far higher than the cost of this war. Would that be preferable, as long as we followed the guidelines set by the United Nations? Why is it that no one seems to worry that the means might not justify the end?