Kevin Moore of, who drew the cartoon that I rather liked but Glenn Reynolds didn’t, writes to clarify his intentions. It turns out that Moore, like me, is more or less in favor of war, but not happy about it.

The cartoon was not made in response to the recent war drive against Iraq. Rather, the cartoon was my first artistic response to the terrorist attacks and the few days that immediately followed. I had a feeling that retribution was going to be waged on the people of Afghanistan, who, like us, have little to any say in the machinations of political elites. In fact, Afghanis had no influence whatsoever on the Taliban, who were I think helpless against the al-Qaeda forces occupying their country. At any rate, I saw a lot of equivalency: as civillians, as victims of war, as fathers, mothers, sons and daughters, as workers, as human beings. Events soon proved me, sadly, prophetic: roughly the same number of Afghani civillians were killed by U.S. bombing as civillians killed on 9/11.

But was it worth it? First, can one really even pose such a question (talk about “monstrous”)? Yet leaving that aside, for all the problems of the unstable psuedo-democracy running Afghanistan, of the warlords shaking local businesses down and fighting with each other, and the ongoing struggle of women there (alas, and everywhere)—it beats the Taliban, yes? Can we make the same argument with the people of Iraq? Saddam is atrocious, yes, but can we ask a father to accept the risk that his child could die by air bombing from the US in exchange for toppling the regime?



Glenn responds: he doubts the estimate of Afghan civilian deaths, but doesn’t doubt that innocents will die, which I took to be the point of the cartoon. He notes my error about the cartoonist’s name, which I’ve corrected.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact:

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