Main Reasons for the 2003 Iraq War

There were 3 major reasons for the 2003 Iraq war, and it is important for debate which one you are criticizing. If you wish to win the intellectual debate against war, it is necessary to counter all 3 arguments.

1. Human Rights. The most beautiful (but not most important) reason was to just liberate oppressed people from state-slavery. This is an underlying theme - many people like liberating others. In places like Kosovo and Haiti, this is in fact the only reason the war was waged. But in most wars there will be additional security-related reasons.

2. Response to 9/11. Iraq was basically a huge social experiment. On 9/11 we were attacked by Arab Muslims, and the only thing we have ever seen Arab Muslims doing on TV is burning the American flag. Iraq was believed to be the least radical of all the Arab Muslims and we wanted to see if we could set up a democracy there and whether the Iraqis would vote for normal people and be no scarier than Switzerland, or whether they would vote for jihadis to kill all the infidels. The result of this social experiment would inform future action.

3. Geostrategy. There is an underlying theme that the world is more secure for the West if we take down enemy governments (even if those governments were democratically-elected). This was especially seen during the Cold War. The scariest thing is for enemies to have a powerful military as that means they can do harm to us or our friends/allies (including Israel). If an opportunity arises, we will weaken (such as Iraq in 1991) or eliminate (Iraq in 2003) the enemy's military capabilities.


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