March 2003 was a turning point in modern American and world history; it marked a change in foreign policy of America, moving from a defensive military policy, to one of pre-emptive war. President Bush sent our armed forces overseas to overthrow Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq. In the weeks leading up to, and after the deployment of our troops, there were many anti-war protests, questioning the legitimacy of the reasons for war. Given the intelligence President Bush had, and the audacious crimes committed by the regime, President Bush was correct in sending our troops to Iraq.
Saddam Hussein has been viewed as an international threat since the end of the first Gulf War. As a condition of Iraq’s surrender, Saddam Hussein was forced to destroy all biological, chemical, and nuclear programs, and allow UN inspectors to investigate the weapons sites, however he has persistently denied weapons inspectors into places that seemed to be “concealing key information and material”(Spotlight on Iraq) about his weapons programs. He had finally refused the inspectors in 1998, a direct violation of the United Nations demands. The UN than placed Iraq under sanctions, while successful at first, the sanctions were “killing about 36,000 Iraqis a year, 24,000 of them children under the age of 5.” (Friedman) This killed more Iraqis in a month than one week of war did. As a result of Saddam’s defiantness President Clinton identified Saddam as a threat to both American and world security, an official in the Clinton administration said, “Washington already believes it has all the authority it needs to launch military action in Iraq.”(Strobel) When discussing the military options in Iraq, President Clinton said, “Military bombing could remove Saddam’s chemical, biological and nuclear weapons”, which hints that he had strong intelligence that Iraq had a cache of banned weapons.
This supports the claim by the Bush administration’s claims that Iraq has, or has the capability to produce chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons. We have now been in Iraq for a year, and there are many people in Washington, and across the nation upset that we have yet to find any banned weapons. The bush administration should be surprised that we have not found anything yet, given the pictures, information, and satellite images shown by Colin Powell at his United Nations presentation. One of the reasons the administration is not discouraged is that the weapons, “Could have been destroyerd during the war, Saddam and his henchman could have destroyed them when we entered Iraq. They could be hidden. They could have been transported to another country,” as stated by President Bush in his interview on Meet The Press. President Bush also stated that even if Iraq did not have nuclear capabilities at the time, “He could have developed a nuclear weapon over time we would have been in a position of blackmail.” This illustrates Saddam as a direct threat to American security, and why wait for a threat to become a reality? Thomas Friedman also advocates the removal of Saddam Hussein, saying “He is a potential threat, particularly if he manages to acquire nuclear weapons. Given leaky sanctions, at some point the world will have to deal with Saddam, nuclear armed and dangerous. Why not now, when he is weak?”
The greatest argument for the war against Saddam is the human rights violations. Saddam’s government operated using a secret police that would execute anyone suspected of challenging him. Saddam had also “denied water, electricity, water and medical care” to people for decades, as recorded by Craig Trebilcock, a colonel who fought in the second Gulf War. His people were living in a Bronze Age level, while possessing one of the most lucrative natural resources on the planet. Colonel Trebilcock said that the most upsetting thing he came across in his time in Iraq was a mass grave filled with some 5,000 bodies of men, women and children, all of whom were systematically executed in retaliation for the Shi”ite uprising in 1991. An amnesty international report stated, “In his attempts to deter popular opposition, Hussein had resorted to arresting and killing members of his opponents” families. He had inflicted mass punishments on Kurdish communities” for supposedly harboring members of the opposition.(Spotlight on Iraq)
Saddam has presented a threat to American security for more than a decade. His defiant and at times hostile actions identify him as a threat. While weapons of mass destruction may or may not be found, the threat he represented, and his inhumane treatment of his people justify the war. By the time Iraq is fully reconstructed, people will not be asking, “Why did we do this?”, but “Why didn’t we do this sooner?”
Friedman, Thomas “Why The War Was Right” New York Times 10/20/2003
Meet The Press. NBC. New York. 8 February, 2004
“Spotlight On Iraq” Social Education Vol. 66 2002
Strobel, Warren P. “Clinton and Blair “stand together” on Iraq” Washington Times 2/7/1998
Trebilcockl, Craig “Why War in Iraq? An Officer’s Perspective” Washington Times 10/21/2003