Sunday, October 10, 2004

Being Better Off

Listen carefully when someone tries to justify the war in Iraq by saying, "The world is better off without Saddam Hussein." It's a rhetorical trap meant to ensnare liberals, but it speaks volumes about the people who use it.

"We're better off because of this war" is a long way from "we had no choice but to go to war." "Better off" is not a high bar. I'd be "better off" right now if I had a massage and a glass of 18-year-old Scotch. But that doesn't mean I'm going to send a hundred thousand troops to war to get them for me.

Clearly, the world is "better off" without Saddam Hussein. But anyone from the administration who justifies the war on that basis is quietly acknowledging that we did not go to war as a last resort. If we went to war just to make the world "better off"--without much, much more--then we fought an unjust war by almost any standard.

Which makes none of us better off.