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The intent doctrine

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I don’t have much to add to Rob’s able attack on the laughable attempts of Cheney to spin the Duelfer report. I would like to emphasize that utter worthlessness of intentions, in and of themselves, as a justification for military intervention. I have no doubt that Saddam Hussein would have liked to have nuclear weapons. I also have no doubt that I would like to attend Game 7 of an Expos/Mariners World Series with Katie Holmes. Intentions in the absence of any way of achieving them are not particularly compelling reasons to do anything.

More importantly, based on the Cheney standard, exactly what military intervention would not be justified? Vague assertions that somebody may wish to acquire dangerous weapons in the future can be applied to anybody. Hell, how do we know Canada won’t develop a fearsome biological weapons cache to leverage the US in softwood lumber trade disputes? To state the obvious, a line of reasoning that can theoretically justify anything justifies nothing.

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