Only a few qualified to be war experts’

Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 17, 2006

I am anti-war. There, I said it. But aren’t you, too? Shouldn’t anyone of reasonably sound mind be for peace and against war? I certainly hope so.

That aside, I support the president, our troops and the war in Iraq.

Am I qualified to give an expert opinion on whether the U.S. and its allies should be at war with Iraq? Nope. And neither are 95 percent of those who have done so already.

Email newsletter signup

That said, I am pretty sure diplomacy never disarmed or dethroned a dictator who equaled the apparent ruthlessness, disregard for human rights, resiliency or passion for power of Saddam Hussein. Simply put, he is a bully. And the only way to deal with a bully is to call him out and hit him between the eyes, hard.

But that is an oversimplified analysis. And war with Iraq is a complex issue with potentially far reaching consequences.

For me, support of the president builds from a low common denominator of trust, loyalty and a basic belief in our representative form of government.

I voted for our president because I believed he had good judgment, strong morals and the courage to do what is right even in the face of strong public opposition.

While his policies may be unpopular to some, his actions suggest he has all of the above.

Further, Bush struck me as someone who knew how to build a team, irrespective of ego or debt of political favor. And I think he did, especially in the area of national security.

Then there is the combination of &8220;hawks&8221; from the Reagan administration and &8220;realists&8221; of the George H.W. Bush administration who, when added to the newer voices, make for a diversity of experience and ideology that is solid.

I trust the president and his team.

Further, and this is a critical point, they are the only people in this country who receive a high-level daily intelligence briefing on the issue of national security.

None who oppose this war are privy to such information. One who expresses an opposition opinion can only really be qualified to comment in theory as opposed to reality. So such an opinion comes with little real credibility.

I’ll go with the judgment of the folks who get the daily briefing.

But I don’t stop there.

My trust in the decision to disarm Hussein was solidified as I watched Powell make the case for disarmament to the United Nations. Some believe the evidence made public there is only the tip of the iceberg of what really exists in Iraq’s arsenal of weapons of mass destruction. But that evidence was more than enough to convince me that the weapons cannot be left in Hussein’s hands.

So now we are at war. Our soldiers are in the Middle East fighting for our security. And, ironically, they fight for the right of the Iraqi people to express themselves just as I have in this piece and as many who disagree with me are doing all across the country.

There are holes in my opinion, many counter arguments, just as there are in every argument for and against war. And there are no simple answers, only varying degrees of right and wrong that must be cobbled together into a position and a plan. As many with high levels of responsibility and authority sit idly by, failing in their responsibility to lead, I respect the president for having the courage to make and implement his plan.

Todd Carpenter

is publisher of The Democrat. You can reach him by calling 445-3618 or by e-mail at todd.carpenter@