I previously explained why opposition to the invasion of Iraq is not based on on Libertarian principles. But with my last post being about Abu Ghraib, this is probably a good time to put in writing my additional thoughts on Iraq.
The way I see it, we didn't start a war in 2002. We were continuing a war that was started in 1991. Instead of finishing off Saddam back then (a bad decision), we agreed to a truce where Saddam Hussine would only be allowed limited sovereignty over his country. Between then and the beginning of the invasion in 2003, our military was patrolling the no-fly zone, and our planes were constantly attacked by Iraqi ground forces. So in response to people who say we "started" the war and that Hussein hadn't attacked us, that's a lie. He started the war when he invaded Kuwait back in 1990 and has been attacking us ever since.
Furthermore, Hussein also reneged on his agreement to allow weapons inspectors access to Iraq. A lot has been made of the fact that our troops didn't find any weapons of mass destruction. But I don't think that's the key issue. How were we supposed to know if he had them or not if inspectors were denied access to the country? I think that, even though Saddam didn't have any WMD, he wanted the world to think he had them so that he'd appear to be a bigshot.
How could we prevent other nations from aquiring WMD with Saddam thumbing his nose at us?
Furthermore, the coalition to contain Saddam Hussien would have crumbled in a few years if we didn't do anything. The status quo wasn't maintainable. From recent news stories, we know how big of a disaster the oil-for-food program was. And our European "allies" like the French were expressing greater interest in doing business with Saddam than containing him.
Bush has also been accused of invading Iraq in order to protect Israel, as if this were a bad thing. If our invasion helped our only true ally and the only Western oriented democracy in the region, then that's yet another benefit.
Clearly the Bush administration made a huge mistake in trumpeting actual possession of WMD as the only reason for the invasion of Iraq when there were a whole host of different reasons. But just because the Bush administration was incredibly stupid doesn't mean the invasion wasn't justified.
The invasion of Iraq was an amazing success. With only minimal U.S. casualties and in only a short amount of time, we ousted Saddam and took control of the country. The post-invasion occupation of Iraq hasn't been quite the success, but that I'll leave for a future post. This post is only about why the invasion of Iraq was justified.