Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The beauty with hindsight is you can successfully predict the outcome.

I was reading this article in where it was defending Bush's decision to launch a pre-emptive strike on Iraq. It was basing this on a new book out about WWII.

Now the article made a couple of interesting statements.

The first was from the book where it suggested that a pre-emptive strike in 1938 would have stopped the Holocaust and saved millions of lives. With hindsight I think we can agree.

However, as it is with all these things, if we had started WWII, which is what we are talking about, all the deaths would have been placed at our door. We would be the aggressors instead of the good guys. We may even have lost as some of our allies may well have not moved to help. As a final nail, the Holocaust would never have come up as a plus point because it would never have happened and no one would know what had been stopped.

The second statement was that, based on the WWII example, Bush's pre-emptive strike was the right way to go but they could not have foreseen the way the fighting would go and thus were caught out when it went to a civil war. Again, with hindsight is is easy to follow the route to where we are now.

I'm not convinced that the civil war could not have been predicted as many, many people without the lofty titles of Generals, Commander, etc. Successfully predicted this would happen based on experience gained from information on Vietnam, Bosnia, Afghanistan, Cambodia etc. and knowledge of the rivalry's in Iraq.

In reality we will never know if Saddam would have developed a weapon nor that he would have used it against Iran, Israel or whoever. One thing is certain. He did not have the capability when we invaded and thus we are the bad guys.

Because of the fact that nothing you say before or after will justify a pre-emptive strike despite whatever you 'know'. I believe that pre-emptive strikes are not a weapon for the good guys. Massive retaliation is OK, so big that nobody would want to do it again but first we have to ride out the original assault as a reason for our retaliation. Otherwise this is no different to executing people because they could grow up to be a Hitler or Pol Pot. Something a civilised society does not do unless Tony's idea for identifying bad people prior to birth catches on and is enhanced.

Of course the fly in the ointment is that now it is not a country we can retaliate against nor are the perpetrators usually available for punishment unlike our Western equivalents. We selfishly don't want to move to the next stage as easily as these guys. So all in all it requires a new way of thinking. One not found out after our Iraq invasion but one that people have been crying out for a while now. We need to face facts and work out a new strategy. I think with all what has been going on we have squandered the opportunity and goodwill and will have to settle for what we can do now. Also, I don't see anyone queuing up to spend a couple of million on a strategy instead of hundreds of billions on a War and reconstruction. Jeez, if we had just given every Iraqi a cut we could have bought them.

As a final point the article says '...preventing the Holocaust, "without parallel . . . the most wicked act in all history." Is that true, bearing in mind Stalin's 100M+ dead, Bosnia, Darfur and the other dark times in human history?


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