I have been against the War in Iraq since 2002. Beyond that, I’m against the doctrine of Preemption. After 9/11, President Bush outlined the Preemption Doctrine in a series of speeches that culminated in the run up to the Iraq War. Phrases such as “You’re either with us, or against us”, “Axis of Evil”, “Terrorists, and those who harbor them” have formed the boundaries of Preemption.
Preemption at its core states that threats to the US will be dealt with before an attack can happen. Implicit in the doctrine is that the use of force is justified before diplomacy. Preemption divides the world into the “Coalition of the Willing” and the “Axis of Evil”. Since the Coalition of the Willing will not negotiate with countries associated with terrorists, there is no diplomatic alternative.
I’m against Preemption because any Doctrine that is defined so loosely will inevitably lead to an arbitrary use of force. Any doctrine that places the use of force above negotiation devalues peace in favor of war. Saudi Arabia has contributed much to the rise of Islamic Fundamentalism, yet they are considered an ally under Preemption. Iraq, on the other hand, had nothing to do with 9/11, yet they have felt the full weight of Preemption.
The consensus opinion among talking heads is that President Bush will ignore the most important recommendations of the Iraq Study Group. Instead, they feel that the US will continue to apply the Preemption doctrine to Foreign Policy matters for the rest of President Bush’s term. The people of the US, in polls and elections, have clearly told their leaders that negotiation is not a last resort. Preemption is the failed doctrine of a lost administration. It’s time for diplomacy, not preemptive war.