Just weeks after the war’s conclusion, the threat of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction as the main argument justifying the military action has fallen out of favor. Instead, some of those defending the use of force to oust Saddam Hussein’s regime now cite the war’s positive results.
According to this point of view, thanks to the military campaign, Iraqis will be able to take their first steps towards creating a democracy, Israelis and Palestinians are closer than ever to resolving their differences, the Middle East will be more stable, and the world is rid of a tyrant.
Said differently, according to the White House and many political analysts, several weeks of military operations have been more effective at stabilizing one of the most volatile regions in the world than years of peace negotiations.
My response to those who believe that military force is the most effective instrument to promote peace and liberty is to point out a lesson learned from the recent campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq: lasting peace and liberty can only be achieved through dialogue.
Dialogue was the key word for the conference, Iraq: The Day After, that we had the pleasure of organizing with the Fundación Ortega y Gasset. The invaluable support of the regional government of Castilla-La Mancha, the City Council of Toledo, the University of Castilla-La Mancha, the Caja of Castilla-La Mancha, and the Fundación Tres Culturas del Mediterráneo all helped to make the Conference a great success. Those of us who had the opportunity to attend and participate in the fascinating discussion -including those with seemingly irreconcilable ideological differences- can attest that dialogue always has the capacity to be fruitful.