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.