Via Bear Left!, six months before the start of the Iraq War, the New York Times op-ed page featured an advertisement containing a statement signed by 33 leading scholars of international relations from universities across the United States. Dismissed at the time by mainstream pundits, today their points read as prediction of everything that was to come in Iraq:
WAR WITH IRAQ IS NOT IN AMERICA’S NATIONAL INTEREST
• Saddam Hussein is a murderous despot, but no one has provided credible evidence that Iraq is cooperating with al Qaeda.
• The first Bush administration did not try to conquer Iraq in 1991 because it understood that doing so could spread instability in the Middle East, threatening U.S. interests. This remains a valid concern today.
• The United States would win a war against Iraq, but Iraq has military options—chemical and biological weapons, urban combat—that might impose significant costs on the invading forces and neighboring states.
• Even if we win easily, we have no plausible exit strategy. Iraq is a deeply divided society that the United States would have to occupy and police for many years to create a viable state.
• Al Qaeda poses a greater threat to the U.S. than does Iraq. War with Iraq will jeopardize the campaign against al Qaeda by diverting resources and attention from that campaign and by increasing anti-Americanism around the globe.