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Iraq: A Case for Going to War?

(March 12, 2003) Having researched international terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction since the late 1980s, the current crisis with Saddam Hussein and the international community comes as no surprise to me. The tyrant has obtained weapons of mass destruction and has used chemical weapons on neighbors and on his own people. He has invoked two murderous wars with neighbors. He has murdered and tortured hundreds of thousands of people. As he builds huge palaces in honor of himself, many of his people suffer from hunger.

But what should come as a surprise to many is the debate and division on Iraq in the United Nations Security Council and in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. And although the vital issue of war or peace should rightly be of great concern to the world's public, the demonstrators in the streets give moral support to the dictator Saddam Hussein and his murderous regime. Why have we not seen one banner or heard even one speech denouncing Saddam or calling for the respect of human rights in Iraq?

Why are some world leaders undermining the only possible means of pressuring this despot in Baghdad -- the threat of using force? The more so as most world leaders have said in public that Saddam Hussein is indeed a murderous dictator and a very real danger to the world? Little or no credit is given to the fact that only the pressure invoked by the United States and their allies against Saddam is what has allowed U.N. weapons inspectors to return to Iraq and why Baghdad pretends to cooperate each time the pressure increases. We must remember that should Saddam Hussein and his repressive regime seem to win this battle, that the little chance we have for containment will be reduced to zero. War will be the result and it may already be too late to reverse that fact. Thus, I have collected a number of points and slogans and have attempted to add further details.

1994: Weapons of mass destruction: Saddam's puzzle palace.Iraq's weapons of mass destruction: Saddam's puzzle palace- Le Monde, 1994.

The U.S. has no international support and must follow the U.N. decisions
Many people say that the U.S. must at all costs go through the United Nations and obtain their vote. Many people seem to believe that the U.N. is an objective and neutral organization. For many, getting approval from the U.N. is like getting approval from a judge or from the Vatican. Some think the U.N. is where the governments of the world put aside their self-interests and politics and do whatever is in the best interests for the world of nations.

But, few of the nations in the U.N. — including the permanent members of the Security Council — are acting on such honest intentions. They each have their own interests that come first. And although many nations have been victims of terrorism, only the United States and Israel have been told by terrorists that they are primary targets for weapons of mass destruction. Again, the only reason Saddam has ever allowed U.N. inspectors into Iraq is because the U.S. and its allies have forced him to do so -- with the use of military force in most cases.

The United Nations has voted upon numerous resolutions that call upon Saddam Hussein to disarm or face war to be disarmed. These resolutions have been in effect for some twelve years now. And if the U.N. does not show a will to disarm Iraq it may well follow the path of the League of Nations, a path of failure and bankruptcy. No President can risk having another U.S. city attacked and citizens killed. And history does suggest that military action is often needed to end horrible regimes. Stopping Saddam Hussein with diplomacy is the desired course, but thus far diplomacy just has not worked well nor for very long. And some 18 European nations have joined the United States in this effort. Thus, the U.S. is not isolated in its determination to do whatever necessary to disarm Saddam.

The greatest concern is that Saddam may well still be actively stockpiling his arsenal of deadly nuclear, chemical or biological weapons of mass destruction. Further, as the U.N. continues its debate, spring and summer is approaching in Iraq. That would mean troops having to fight in temperatures of 40 degrees centigrade or more. Delaying tactics by certain U.N. member states may well result in needless casualities should war be necessary. Is that an objective Or is it a sign of an aging debating society?

The U.S. is just interested in Iraq for the oil
Without a doubt, the United States has an interest in oil reserves in countries where there is oil. For that matter, so do most countries of the world. If the capture of Iraq’s oil reserves were the major motivation for an invasion and disarming of Iraq, the U.S. would be better off to just lift sanctions on Iraq and purchase the oil. Saddam has offered on many occasions to sell his oil to the United States. For that matter, should the greed for oil be a major reason for war with Iraq, the U.S. could have just taken Iraq’s oil with its victory over Saddam in 1991. The human and political risks involved in a war, including the risk of Iraq destroying it’s oil fields, as it did in Kuwait, would make it seem that if oil was a major reason for war, that the U.S. would just lift the sanctions and buy all the oil it wants. In fact, the American Petroleum Institute lobbied for the lifting of sanctions prior to the attacks on America on September 11, 2001.

Further, the buildup of forces and a possible war with Iraq is definitely a drain on the American economy. And should there be war, there will be the need to spend money in the rebuilding of Iraq. The War on Terror will cost the U.S. economy trillions of dollars over many years. But, the economy comes second when faced with the further potential loss of many thousands of American citizens.

France has passionately and poetically pleaded its opposition to invading Iraq supposedly out of an unshakable love for peace. In reality, France opposes an American invasion largely because it has been trading with Iraq for years, even with U.N. sanctions in place. France has billions of dollars in oil contracts in Iraq and wants to keep its status as most-favored nation. France has made it known that if they can keep their existing contracts, they would likely approve a U.S. invasion. In July 2001 Baghdad announced that French firms would no longer have preferential status as at the time France favored the so-called 'smart sanctions' program.

In 1975, Jacques Chirac invited Saddam Hussein to his home for a long weekend, calling Saddam a personal friend. The French media picked up on a nickname for Jacques Chirac, “Jacques Iraq.”

Also in 1975, France sold Iraq plutonium-producing nuclear reactors. In 1981, as French engineers were completing work on the reactors, Israel destroyed the French-built Osiraq nuclear reactor. Much of the world is today thankful for that, but a furious President Francois Mitterrand swore that France would rebuild Osirak, for free.

France still sells billions of dollars worth of goods – pharmaceutical firms, Alcatel, Alstom, Renault – money seems to be a most important factor for France. And oil? France’s TotalFinaElf has a huge stake at play – 20 billion barrels. A war in Iraq will not only mean a blow to French diplomacy but to French industry as well.

In 1938, the same sort of reasoning for an "unshakable love for peace" was given during Adolf Hitler's rise to power. When the French were proven mistaken, it was too late. Paris was declared an "Open City" and many of the French politicians joined the pro-Hitler Vichy government. Will history repeat itself now?

Germany too has a history of striking deals with Iraq which dates back to the 1970s. They are the market leaders in supplying Iraq, even in the ten years following the Gulf War. U.N. weapon inspectors have filed numerous reports of German firms working with Iraq in its covert programs for weapons of mass destruction. The German newspaper, Tageszeitung, recently reported that German firms are the leaders in supplying Iraq, even in the decade following the Gulf War.

Beyond Germany’s current leader, Gerhard Schroeder, still at the low end of opinion polls, there is also Joschka Fischer, the German Foreign Minister. We saw him tapping his fingers during a recent Security Council meeting. Fischer, the left-wing militant, beat up a German policeman in 1973 during a street battle in Frankfurt. He was friends with terrorists from the German New Left, the Red Army Faction (Baader-Meinhof Gang) and participated in a conference with the Palestinian Liberation Organization in 1969 where the destruction of Israel was discussed. Should more be said?

And then there's Russia. Russia's interest is also largely about oil — and obtaining the $8 billion Iraq owes them. But Russia also wants the U.S. to turn a blind eye to its military abuses in Chechnya and Georgia. And there is the French offer to supply Russia with further economic trade should it follow France's leadership.

A precondition for China's vote is tacit American approval of a Chinese crackdown on the separatist Muslim Uighurs.

Oh yes, the United Nations and their concern for the world of nations.

Iraq: A martyred people. Iraq: A martyred people.

If war is waged against Iraq, it will only enrage the Arab world and increase further terrorist attacks
After September 11, some people in the Arab world — not counting the people in the streets who danced with joy at the deaths of so many Americans and other nationals at the World Trade Center — worried very much about a violent American reaction. Further terrorist attacks are expected should the U.S. and its allies attack Iraq. But terrorist attacks will continue to be planned and executed if possible whether or not Saddam is attacked. Numerous plans for attack have been averted over the past months. Terrorism experts agree that the only way to put an end to terrorism is to root them out and neutralize them. Terrorists thrive on weakness and the creation of fear in their victims. No terrorist groups have ever been appeased.

President George Bush is responsible for the lives of 280 million Americans. Defensive actions and pre-emptive actions are now a declared American policy. Throughout the 1990s terrorists attacked Americans and American interests both within the United States and abroad. There was a show of weakness then, and that only led the terrorists to plan and execute more vicious attacks.

With Saddam deposed, 20 million Iraqis have a chance for a better life and at least the guarantee of restoring their basic human rights. This could be an example for other Arab states. On the one hand, liberalization, and perhaps even democracy, would be a result. It will definitely be a clear warning to regimes that seek weapons of mass destruction and for those regimes that sponsor or otherwise support terrorism.

Is it really an evil, arrogant and imperialistic American government that attempts to neutralize the most dangerous and inhuman group of terrorists and rogue states the world has seen since World War Two?

And the overthrow of Taliban and al Qaeda in Afghanistan? And the overthrow of Taliban and al Qaeda in Afghanistan?

If war is waged against Iraq innocent civilians will die
Yes, innocent people die in wars. But also, why not protest the loss of innocent lives of those who were and are being killed by Saddam Hussein and his regime of vicious henchmen? Why haven’t we seen even one “Human Rights” demonstration condemning Saddam’s systematic and intentional murder of men, women and children in Iraq? At least if the coalition forces have to attack Iraq, they will not intentionally target civilians as Saddam Hussein is known to do.

If other armed conflicts are examined, one often observes that it is military force that saves lives. In the case of Kosovo, it was the military that finally brought peace to that long-suffering country. Although a number of European countries, including France and Germany, tried to “give peace a chance” it was only the allied bombing that put an end to Milosevic’s Serb ethnic cleansing and genocide of the Kosovar population. Following the bombs, Kosovo and Serbia are today well on their way in creating democratic institutions.

War against Iraq causes a lack of focus on the war against terrorism
Following the horrible tragedy on September 11, 2001 the United States declared war on terrorism. Several states that sponsor terrorism and engage in the illegal proliferation of arms of mass destruction were singled out – including North Korea, Iran and Iraq.Terrorists and terrorist networks are still a priority and hundreds have been arrested.

In the case of North Korea, there are 12 million people in Seoul who risk being disintegrated in mere minutes. North Korea’s border is a mere 30 miles from Seoul and 11,000 North Korean artillery pieces and rocket launchers are focused upon Seoul. One can hope that those with vital national interests near North Korea – Japan, China, Russia and South Korea – will help in defusing this latest crisis with North Korea. But this is not the case in the Middle East where only the U.S. can lead a credible coalition against Iraq.

There is no connection between Saddam and terrorism
The United States did indeed present evidence that is disturbing in its accusations that Saddam is connected with international terrorism. The footage of an Iraqi jet fighter testing chemical dispersal systems is disturbing enough. The proof of terrorism focused upon the Iraqi population and against neighbors is proved beyond a doubt. One can imagine that further proof will be given once the safety of intelligence operatives are guaranteed. There is also the proof given by Iraqi defectors and scientists. There is a past history of Saddam giving aid to terrorists, including evidence that he has aided and comforted members of Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda terrorist network. A smoking gun is needed? That would mean that Saddam has already launched or supplied chemical, biological or nuclear weapons. The nations of the world do not need such a smoking gun.

Saddam Hussein is known to be delusional and has made numerous horrific mistakes in the past that has led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people. According to President Bush, “This is a man who, in my judgment, would like to use al Qaeda as a forward army.” Can the U.S. afford to wait until Saddam has armed al Qaeda with weapons of mass destruction? If Paris was the focus of a massive terror attack, as it almost was in 1998, would it once again declare an "Open City" and make arrangements with the terrorists?

Saddam is known to be delusional. Saddam is known to be delusional..
The Israel-Palestine problem must be solved first
Following the defeat of Iraq in the Gulf War, the United States forced Palestine and Israel to the negotiating table once again. With the encouragement of countries such as Iraq, Iran and Syria, Mr. Arafat continued his war of terrorism against Israel. Another chance for peace was lost. Numerous other chances were also lost over the past years. As it is, Saddam’s threat to international peace has once again put the Israeli-Palestinian issue on the back burner. And other international issues, such as Afghanistan, Africa, Aids -- all are on a back burner until Saddam Hussein either accepts the United Nations resolutions to disarm -- or is simply forced to disarm, with or without assistance of certain "allies." France's Foreign Minister, Dominique de Villepin had a point when he told a group of French politicians that France's latest diplomatic efforts against the United States and its allies is like "shooting the U.S. in the back." Honesty is often rare in politics.
Harry Hayes

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