Sanctions kill. Foreign-policy expert Walter Russell Mead makes the liberal case for war in Iraq brilliantly in yesterday's Washington Post. Sanctions, he observes, are killing an estimated 60,000 Iraqi children every year. Our longstanding policy of containment may be working in a narrow sense, Mead argues, but it's costing the lives of children, destabilizing the region, and forcing the US to keep massive numbers of troops in the region, thus indirectly contributing to the hatred that caused 9/11. He writes:
Morally, politically, financially, containing Iraq is one of the costliest failures in the history of American foreign policy. Containment can be tweaked -- made a little less murderous, a little less dangerous, a little less futile -- but the basic equations don't change. Containing Hussein delivers civilians into the hands of a murderous psychopath, destabilizes the whole Middle East and foments anti-American terror -- with no end in sight.
What Mead fails to address, unfortunately, is the dubious wisdom of marching behind the banner of a president who has managed to alienate most of the international community with his arrogance and his "you're either with us or against us" rhetoric.