UNCONDITIONAL SURRENDER: William Safire argues this is the only acceptable outcome of this war, drawing parallels to World War Two and the US Civil War. I disagree. Our war aims are to liberate Iraq from a tyrannical regime and to disarm it of weapons of mass destruction. Given that, I would still be willing to accept a settlement where Saddam went into exile with some conditions attached if we can secure that now before thousands more lives are lost. While it would be much more satisfying for Saddam to be killed or at least put on trial for war crimes, it would be inconceivable for us insist on that if it means the deaths of another couple hundred Coalition soldiers and an untold number of Iraqi citizens.

That said, something like unconditional surrender will be the outcome of this war because there appear to be no conditions under which Saddam would capitulate. As brutal as the Japanese regime of Tojo was, they cared enough about their people to give up rather than see another atomic bomb dropped. Saddam has no such compassion.

Update (10:20): Stephen Green reached the same conclusions via a different path.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.