If the U.S. conquers Iraq, it will be what was formerly called aggression. Maybe Americans will be comforted by all the official justifications, but most of the world is not so easily persuaded.

And what lesson will we teach other nations which fear the wrath of the U.S? Very simple: the sooner they have a nuclear arsenal the safer they will be. After all, North Korea holds off the U.S. because they could very possibly kill thousands of Americans in military camps near their border.

And if they did explode an atomic bomb or two, how would the U.S. respond? With our own nuclear retaliation to kill millions more Koreans and send more radioactive clouds over Japan? What would that do to our alliances in Asia?

Or, would we invade North Korea again and risk Chinese intervention? Or would we cut our losses and evacuate, as we did in Vietnam, Lebanon and Somalia?

Any choice offers no profit to the U.S. if we provoke North Korea.

Anyone who thinks an invasion of Iraq will prevent nuclear proliferation should ponder these things a bit more.

Europeans understand and will not support an attack on Iraq absent an Iraqi nuclear arsenal. The other “”weapons of mass destruction”” are largely irrelevant.

All the talk about democratizing Iraq is as empty as the cry of democracy and rights for women as we bombed Afghanistan.

The U.S. can now impose its will through force. But our ability to lead the world will be reduced, and possibly destroyed, as nuclear arsenals are pursued in earnest by a dozen or more nations.

Arthur Harvey, Hartford Center

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