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What is a "strategic tragedy"?

Reader comment on item: Civil War in Iraq?

Submitted by Dick Bard (United States), Feb 28, 2006 at 15:14

Mr. Pipes,

Your "Civil War in Iraq?", in The New York Sun (2/28), ended by raising what I think is at least as pressing a question as the one addressed in this article, which ended on the note: "Civil war in Iraq...would be a humanitarian tragedy but not a strategic one." I hope that you will take up the question of what constitutes a "strategic tragedy" in a furture article.

The question I have is: if the ultimate result (whether brought about through civil war, or by any other means) of removing Sadaam Hussein is a state that harbors -- or even supports -- Islamic terrorists, would this not be a strategic tragedy, in that it would: a) mean that our military intervention in the Islamic world served only to produce a state that remained hostile to our security interests; b) discourage other military interventions in that area, which might be even more imperative than was the case with Iraq (e.g., Iran)? If all that we were to have accomplished was the removal of Hussein, would we even be in the position (in domestic political terms) to "decapitate" other more dangerous heads of state, if it should become necessary?

Dick Bard

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