"The Council has repeatedly warned that Iraq will face serious consequences as a result of its continued violations of its obligations." United Nations Resolution 1441, unanimously adopted by the Security Council, November 8, 2002.
Decline of the empire?
If the Administration continues its economic policies.., we won't be able to afford our expansive overseas efforts. To do so, radical changes in domestic and international economic strategy are required. They constitute such major departures from existing policy that it is hard to conceive of their being made. But unless they are, foreign and economic policy will remain out of sync, and both could fail.
Jeffrey E. Garten, dean of the Yale School of Management, says the United States can't afford the guns and butter policies of the Bush Administration. "Imperial over-stretch, "he says, led to the long-term declines of such previously dominant nations as Spain. France and Britain. "As it faces crises all over the world, "Garten concludes, "the U.S. shows every sign of making the same mistake."
"Bush's guns-and-butter dilemma, "Business Week; March 17, 2003.
Pro and con
Where proponents of this [Iraqi] war tend to see opportunity, opponents see risks and danger. Where proponents of this war see it as a fulfillment of Washington's global leadership, opponents worry that it may undermine the ability of the United States to play a constructive role in shaping the international order. Where proponents of the war believe it will buttress respect for American power and shore up Washington's global standing, opponents fear that it will damage America's reputation and subvert its international influence.
Steven E. Miller, direct or of the International Security Program at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, see the war to disarm and liberate Iraq as a gamble. "If the Bush administration's predictions are correct," Miller writes, "then a desirable end will have been achieved at modest cost with few, if any, adverse consequences." But if not, the results "will be very different."
"Gambling on War: Force, Order, and the Implications of Attacking Iraq," in "War With Iraq: Costs, Consequences and Alternative," American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Cambridge, Massachusetts, (ww.amacad.org/publications/monographs/War_with_Iraq.pdf).
Biggest risk is peace
The cost of the war may turn out to below, but the cost of a successful peace looks very steep. If American taxpayers decline to pay the bills for ensuring the long-term health of Iraq, America would leave behind mountains of rubble and mobs of angry people. As the world learned from the Carthaginian peace that settled World War I, the cost of a botched peace may be even higher than the price of a bloody war.
William D. Nordhaus, Yale University economist and a former member of the U.S. President's Council of Economic Advisors, estimates that the war could cost anywhere from $50 billion to $140 billion, for direct military spending. But peace could cost from $49 billion to $1,800 billion over a 10-year period, including $800 billion if there's a big disruption in Middle East oil supplies. $500 billion for occupation and peace keeping, more than $100 for reconstruction and nation-building, and nearly $400 for adverse "macroeconomic impact."
"The Economic Consequences of a War with Iraq, "in "War With Iraq: Costs, Consequences and Alternatives, "American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
The case for liberation
"It should... be said and said loudly that the primary justification for regime change in Iraqis the dreadful and prolonged suffering of the Iraqi people, and that the remote possibility of a future attack on America by Iraqi weapons is of secondary importance. A war of liberation might just be one worth fighting for. The war that America is currently trying …