War Commentary, Keller Higbee

Salt Lake City, UT –

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I believe our war with Iraq to be wrong for both moral and practical
reasons. In addition to immediate concerns that this war will kill
thousands of innocent civilians and military personnel on both sides,
largely destroy the infrastructure of the country, and further enflame
anti-American sentiment throughout the world, I fear that our unilateral,
pre-emptive invasion sets a terrible precedent and will produce a more
lawless and dangerous world, rather than the safer one predicted by
President Bush.

The sad thing is that this war didn't have to and shouldn't have
happened. Despite the Administration's denunciation of the UN as
"irrelevant" (thereby, of course, making it irrelevant), the recent UN
inspections program was actually working quite effectively. Not only had
the inspectors found and destroyed many of Saddam Hussein's most dangerous
weapons, but their presence had made it extremely unlikely that Saddam
would have been able to sustain a coherent weapons program, attack another
country, or continue to brutalize his own people. If necessary, a UN
peace-keeping force could have been introduced to protect the inspectors
and Iraqi civilians. Furthermore, the cost of maintaining a weapons
inspection program and peace-keeping force, even for months or years,
would have been far less expensive in lives and dollars than a few weeks
of war.

But, now, by invading Iraq unilaterally and pre-emptively, the U.S.
has thumbed its nose at the UN and given license to other nations to do
the same for any specious reasons they might concoct. By showing an
arrogant disdain for international law, we have made the world a more
dangerous place where might makes right, and it will be much more
difficult for the UN to accomplish its peace-keeping mission or for the
U.S. to exert any moral or legal authority.

The UN is, of course, a fallible and sometimes inept institution, but
for the past 50 years it has managed to unite hundreds of disparate
nations under the rule of law, and without it I fear the world will become
a far more dangerous and anarchistic place. As the world's only
superpower, the U.S. should be its ultimate benefactor, not its betrayer.

Keller Higbee is a high school English teacher in Salt Lake City.