September 23, 2002
By James Partridge
This month, as our nation mourns the one-year anniversary
of the terrorist attacks, our armed forces' men and women
in Afghanistan appear to be fighting a war with no definite
end in sight. However, President Bush and the Pentagon already
seem to be hammering out new details and lobbying Congress
on a new war - well, sort of new. Due to the current circumstances
in the Middle East, the war in Afghanistan and the proposed
war with Iraq, most Americans should be familiar with the
course of events that took place in that region a decade ago
with drastic similarity to what might take place this time.
Iraq has long been an area sodden with a war-like attitude.
First occupied by the constantly fighting cultures of Sumer,
Babylon and Assyria, Iraq was also at times ruled by the empires
of Medes, Persia, Greece, and Rome. Iraq is now under the
command of President Saddam Hussein, a man with virtually
absolute power who has been involved in many military campaigns,
including a successful war against Iran. In 1990, in reaction
to the relatively unprovoked hostility and occupation by Iraq
with respect to its smaller southern neighbor, Kuwait, the
UN Security Council passed 12 resolutions detailing demands
for Iraq's withdrawal. The deadline for complete retraction
of Iraqi forces fell on January 15th, 1991. Dependent on petroleum
supplies from its subjugated ally Kuwait, The United States,
under command of the elder President Bush, allowed the deadline
to lapse one day before launching a massive strike against
Saddam's armies. The Persian Gulf War, fought from January
16th to February 28th of that year was a strike aimed at expelling
Iraq and returning the rightful government to Kuwait.
Today, the younger President Bush seems to feel that the
interests of the United States are again at stake. According
to a report in the Boston Globe, Bush stated, " - we will
not allow one of the world's most dangerous leaders to have
the world's most dangerous weapons and hold the United States
and our friends and allies hostage." Bush refers to the
possibility of an Iraqi stockpile of dangerous nuclear, biological
and chemical weapons and to CIA director George Tenet's feelings
that Baghdad has a " - long history of supporting terrorism,
altering its targets to reflect changing priorities and goals.
It has also had contacts with Al Qaeda."
However, Former UN Weapons Inspector Scott Ritter, who spent
five years examining Iraq's weapons program, feels differently.
In an interview with CNN, Ritter stated, "As of December 1998
we had accounted for 90 to 95 percent of Iraq's weapons of
mass destruction capability - We destroyed all the factories,
all of the means of production."' When considering the
other 5 to 10 percent of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction,
Ritter acknowledges, "we couldn't account for some of the
weaponry, but chemical weapons have a shelf-life of five years.
Biological weapons have a shelf-life of three years." Therefore,
he feels positive that Iraq possesses none of the dangerous
capabilities that the Administration proposes and has no further
methods of manufacturing more. "If I were an American, uninformed
on Iraq as we all are," said Ritter, "I would be concerned
- if an unquestionable case could be made that such weapons
and terrorist connections existed, I would be all for a war
in Iraq. It would be just, smart, and in the interest of national
Nevertheless, President Bush, Director Tenet and Secretary
of Defense Rumsfeld continue to fail to illustrate such a
case to the American public and to the world. "The Bush administration
has provided the American public with little more than rhetorically
laced speculation," said Ritter. "There has been nothing in
the way of substantive fact presented that makes the case
that Iraq possesses these weapons or has links to international
terror, that Iraq poses a threat to the United States of America
worthy of war." Ritter isn't alone in his beliefs; IHS senior
Colleen Foley shares the former weapons inspector's dissatisfaction
with the lack of evidence against Iraq. " - Bush hasn't made
any attempt to research possible weapons in Iraq and present
the findings to the American public," Foley states, "he just
wants to emphasize his power to show himself as not afraid."
However, launching any sort of military attack on as volatile
a region as Iraq requires more justification than the personal
pride of a nation's Commander-in-Chief. "There is nothing
that President Bush can say to excuse such an action as bombing,"
declares Sophomore Thomas Reece, "that would only be sinking
to the terrorist's level."
In spite of this, Bush continues to believe very strongly
in his anti-Iraq sentiment, " - what I said about the axis
of evil is what I mean. And I can't be any more plain about
it." Although the American public has questions that remain
to be answered, and a majority of the allies continue to be
skeptical, Bush continues to gain support for his war in Iraq
from his one of his closest allies, British Prime Minister
Tony Blair. In the March 6th Daily Express, Blair expressed
alarm for his belief that Hussein is a threat "to British
lives, to British security, to British prosperity - if we
fail to continue to restrain Saddam Hussein, what is already
a volatile situation could easily become a world crisis."
Whether or not Iraq has the potential to cause yet another
"world crisis" is anyone's guess, especially as Bush continues
to fail to present any tangible evidence explaining the need
for a war with the Iraqi nation.
Americans rely on their President to keep them informed,
protect their interests and promote the general welfare, so
why as 6% of Americans are unemployed, consumer confidence
is at its lowest rate since November of last year, the economy
is troublingly shaky and older Americans struggle to fill
a prescription, does our leader bail out and focus on attacking
a nation which has proven that it is no threat to the US,
our allies and interests, or even its immediate neighbors?
This is a difficult yet important question, ensuring that
Iraq will surely continue to be at the center of heated debate
in the near future, especially as America prepares to send
her fighting men and women into battle yet again, and Bush
is forced to explain the inevitably nasty effects of such