Position on War in Iraq
The war in Iraq has drawn firm lines between supporters and those who oppose military action. While no war could be declared “good” by nature, the war against a sadistic dictator is justified. To prove this justification it is important to clarify the real issues behind the war. It is not a war for oil, or a war against religion. It is a war against a regime that has no regard for human life, dignity, or freedom. Additionally, it is a war aimed at removing a dictator who poses a real and ongoing threat to Middle East and world peace.
In a speech given to an audience at Berkley, Thomas Barnes stated that he would be taking the unpopular position, that of supporting President Bush’s decision to go to war. Before clarifying his position Barnes makes it clear that while he believes the war is necessary, it would not be as short as many Americans hoped (Barnes).
Barnes justified the decision to support the war based on the historical actions and inaction of Saddam Hussein. For example, he noted that twelve years of sanctions and inspections did not persuade Saddam to disarm, or to refrain from making new illegal weapons (Barnes).
Barnes also noted another diplomatic failure, that of U.N. Resolution 1441. Although the terminology of this Resolution made it clear in no uncertain terms that Saddam was to disarm, Barnes states that the intentions of one country in particular made the Resolution virtually ineffective. With all diplomatic efforts blocked, the U.S. had no other choice but to take a military route in order to ensure the safety of Americans and other peoples of the world (Barnes).
Barnes touched on several other topics in his speech, including the difficulties and complexities of war, the inevitable causalities, and the likelihood that there would be other wars in the future. However, one statement in particular stood out in his speech. According to Barnes, the world would not know the extent of Saddam’s crimes until after the end of war, at which time, international support for President Bush would grow (Barnes).
That it will take some time to uncover the depth and extent of Saddam’s crimes is a fact widely accepted by political experts. The known actions of Saddam Hussein during his thirty-year plus reign demanded the attention of the world. During his time as the leader of Iraq he slaughtered thousands, imprisoned many more, and systematically prevented Iraqi citizens from enjoying any measure of freedom. He has threatened neighboring countries, refused to comply with U.N. mandates, and decorated his palaces at the expense of food and water for his people.
Saddam’s crimes against humanity are recorded in recent history. In 1988, he ordered the genocide of thousands of Kurds. His soldiers carried out the order using both conventional and chemical weapons. His ideas of “just” punishment include feeding those who oppose him to packs of hungry dogs, forcing individuals to watch the execution of family members, killing members of his own cabinet who fail to give him the “correct” answer, and torturing and imprisoning those who speak out against the regime (Dickey et al. 48-50).
To ensure continuation of his legacy, Saddam exposed his two sons to cruelty at a very young age. Today, Uday and Qusay Hussein are known for surpassing their father in human rights abuses. For example, Uday is widely known for picking women off of the street and raping, torturing, and finally killing them. He built his reputation by torturing members of his Olympic committee when they failed to win a soccer game and by executing thousands of Shiites in Basra in 1991. Qusay Hussein helped his brother curb the Basra uprising with mass executions and torture. Additionally Qusay devised a “cleansing program” whereby prisoners were arbitrarily executed in order to make room for new prisoners (Dickey et al. 50). The above atrocities are those known by the world. It must be assumed that Saddam and his sons” committed many more crimes that will be revealed as people in Iraq become more secure in their freedom.
As proven in history books, peace on earth cannot be obtained as long as ruthless dictators suppress human freedoms and trample upon human rights. Dictators who commit inhumane acts against their own people are far more likely to commit crimes against their neighboring countries as proven by such tyrants as Hitler and Stalin. The misery and suffering of the Iraqi people therefore becomes a world concern in that a man willing to turn against his own will be even more willing to turn against those with whom he has no connection (Beinart 6). Therefore, Saddam poses a threat to every individual in the United States and the world today and in the future unless he is effectively and permanently removed from power.
Removing Saddam from power is essential for any hope of world peace. In the past, Saddam has proven his capability for aggression by invading neighboring Kuwait. By replacing Saddam’s regime with one founded on democratic ideals, the chance for Middle East and world peace moves much closer to becoming a reality. As noted by Weigel, “Classic “just war” thinking begins with moral obligations: the obligation of rightly constituted public authorities to defend the security of those for whom they have assumed responsibility, and the obligation to defend the peace of order in world affairs” (8). In his speech, Barnes also notes that the war in Iraq must be proven as “just” in order to gain support in both national and international arenas (Barnes).
As stated by the Bush administration, one of the main reasons for removing Saddam is to rid Iraq of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons. Although there is disagreement as to whether or not such weapons exist, Saddam has already proven his willingness to use them. During U.N. debates, the U.S. attempted to prove that Saddam was in possession of such weapons. While some countries were willing to ignore this evidence, others were not. Because the U.S. is not alone in efforts to remove Saddam from power, it is only logical to assume world leaders are in possession of evidence ordinary citizens are not privy too. Additionally, the support of other countries proves unsupportive of the idea that the United States entered the war for oil alone.
The war in Iraq is justified in that it is necessary for the progression of world safety and democratic ideals. World leaders who are unwilling to work within the framework established by a majority of the world’s countries threaten the safety of people everywhere. For the safety of Iraqi’s, Americans, and other people of the world, the war in Iraq is a necessary evil needed to prevent an even greater evil from continuing or spiraling further out of control.
Barnes, Thomas G. “Campus forum: Implications of war in Iraq.” Webcast Speech from Berkley University. (2003). 22 Apr. 2003. Available http://webcast.berkeley.edu/events/search.php’search_value=Barnes&submitButtonName=Go
Beinart, Peter. “Counting Heads.” New Republic 228.13 Apr. 2003: 6.
Dickey, Christopher, Donatella Lorch, Debra Rosenberg, and Daniel Klaidman. “Iraq’s Most Wanted.” Newsweek 141 31 Mar. 2003: 48-53.
Weigel, George. “The Just War Case for the War.” America 88.11 31 Mar. 2003: 7-10.