Violence is always the worst way to solve a problem.
Yet when faced with the threat of violence from others -- such as Saddam Hussein -- it is sometimes the only course that can be taken.
When our options are limited to this, our duty is to be clear about what we want to achieve, and to limit the violence to the absolute minimal amount necessary to achieve our ends.
Our government's goal in taking violent action in Iraq is to secure the safety of our citizens and those of our allies. It is clear that the best way to do this is to remove the infection: Saddam himself. Bombs and missiles may buy us some security by damaging Saddam's ability to threaten others with nuclear, biological and chemical weapons. But it won't solve the problem.
The fact is, as long as Saddam continues to wield power in Iraq, this scenario of violence, quasi-cooperation and then defiance will continue. Saddam must go, and our resources should be directed to that end.
We're spending billions of dollars and placing the lives of American soldiers in peril every time we rain bombs on Saddam (and this is the fourth time since 1993). What we need to do instead, is focus those billions on removing Saddam from power. With that amount of money and support, isn't someone inside the country likely to take up the challenge?
Our government has had a declared policy against the assassination of foreign heads of state for decades now. But we're stepping across that line when we hurl hundreds of missiles into Iraq and hope that one of them finds Saddam's head, in the meantime killing innocent civilians instead.
We should concentrate our efforts on helping the Iraqi people liberate themselves -- and us -- from Saddam's tyranny. It is hard to believe that a concentrated effort on the part of the United States and its allies in this way could be thwarted.
Our resources should be targeted narrowly at Saddam rather than strewn about the Iraqi countryside. And our prayers should be sent to the Iraqi people, who are forced to live under the oppression of this dictator and to suffer the consequences of our unfocused strategy.