Today is the first anniversary of the beginning of the war in Iraq, which in reality was an extension on the war on terrorism. I started out being very cynical of this. I wrote this first piece called “Rant” below because of my initial feelings about the war. Here it is:
I don’t mean to go on a rant here, (who does that sound like), but I need to say something about this “War on Terrorism.” What happened to our country on September 11, 2001 was horrible and despicable. Our subsequent war on terrorism in Afghanistan was not only justified, it was just plain right. However, with our current situation in Iraq, I have doubts.
Let me clear something up first. I am a Republican. I voted for Bush. I think Al Gore as a socialist idiot who was no better than Clinton. I supported Bush when he led us in the war on terrorism. However, I’m beginning to have doubts about this almost inevitable war with Iraq. I have yet to see clear and convincing evidence that this war is so crucial to have now. Saddam is nothing new. However, I have supported this impending war thus far. This issue to me has become much more about whether or not Hussein has weapons of mass destruction. Common sense tells you that he probably does. However, we have still not seen the evidence of a “smoking gun” as the media like to call it. Yes, Hussein may have ties to Al-Quaeda. So it seems do many other countries in the Middle East. But what makes this so important to do now? We are in a recession. Our unemployment rate is high. We can’t afford all the government programs we have now. Our deficit is growing by the second, especially since Bush has begun deploying troops to the Gulf.
In the first Persian Gulf War, we had a more immediate need to step in and take action. Iraq had clearly (at least by American standards) invaded a smaller country and it had directly affected our oil supply, which despite government rantings about how this was about the principle of the issue, we all know was more about oil and, I may add, still is. We also had most of the world on our side. Fast forward to 2003 and look at what has changed. Half the world is against us (if not more) and we have no clear reason to invade Iraq that we haven’t had in the past 6 years since the inspectors were kicked out.
Why are we so intent that war is the only answer? War should always be a last resort, never a first one, or even a second one. A last one. Always. The inspectors have not had enough time inside Iraq to conclude that Iraq has intentionally violated U.N. resolutions. They simply haven’t.
I am not saying that I would not support a war with Iraq…in the future. But we have not given enough time to watch this scenario play out. We need to keep placing pressure on the Iraqi regime, give the inspectors more time, and then, if all that does not work, forcibly disarming Saddam should be considered an option…an option. Not inevitable.
A friend of mine responded with this:
I don’t have too much time, just read your email and wanted to give you a
few bits o info. These are only facts, I’m not spinning them w/ my own
take. All of the following can be verified through public record:
– UN weapons inspectors have been looking around the country for over 7
– As early as the first month they were doing it, they found hard evidence
of medium range ICBM testing.
– In the past ~24 months, the head UN inspector has gone repeatedly to the
Security Council telling them that Iraq is not cooperating and that they
are being jerked around.
-They are not allowed into facilities they request access to.
-They are driven around for hours to go a few miles to a location.
-Despite the fact that Saddam personally issued a promise to the Security Council that the inspectors could interview the scientists 1-on-1, a state representative, similar to a lawyer, has been present for all meetings in order for them to take place.
-The head inspector has issued multiple reports to the Secretary General, as well as the security council, that his job is useless. He admits that
he is getting no where and also concludes that he believes that he has
obtained enough information over the years to show a detailed picture of
Iraq’s weapons program(s).
– There are less than 200 UN weapons inspectors in the entire country, a
captured Iraq military official revealed that over 20,000 of the Iraq-
equivalent of the FBI/CIA have been watching them.
-Rooms are bugged. Suitcases full of listening devices are routinely
thrown out by UN inspectors upon return to HQ.
-Even their modes of transportation are monitored and bugged.
-The head inspector last year found that his pen, a special gift from a
family member back home, had been replaced with a replica that had a
listening device implanted in it.
– You mentioned that there was no “smoking gun”. All of the information
that Sec. State Powell has been presenting to the UN is public record now
and is very, very compelling.
– You mentioned the recession, debt thing. As an upside, every past war,
including Vietnam, has caused a positive move in the economy and created
new jobs. Most wars, upon their conclusion (excluding Vietnam), have caused
large increases in national growth and prosperity.
-As a side note, since the day that Bush sent the first portions of the
task force towards the Middle East, the market has held it’s own. If you
were to take the performance from that day till yesterday, that time
segment outperforms the past 2 years.
– You mentioned that in the first war, we had most of the world on our
side. Actually we didn’t.
-It took over a year just to get Britain to join us. Much longer for the
-At the time the war began, most of the countries in the Middle East were
opposed to us doing it. Even the countries we used as staging points.
(Including Saudi Arabia)
– You mentioned that half the world is against us. Not so, when the US
floated a “test water” resolution in the UN, only 7 out of ~220 countries
voted no or abstained.
-The only major nations among the 7 were France, Germany and Iraq.
Germany has since waffled and is starting to support us. Their people overwhelmingly support a US-led activity but their leader
doesn’t. That’s why their state senate has passed multiple resolutions
supporting us but their leader and ambassador to the UN say they oppose.
– You didn’t see a reason to act now, since the inspectors have had
problems for the past few years.
-Since the crumbling of Biopreparat, Russia’s CDC/USAMRID many chemical
and biological agents have made their way onto the black market.
-One of the bits of information produced to the UN showed that a few
Years ago, multiple pathogen samples were sold to a representative from Iraq.
Supposedly representing Saddam himself.
-Last year, weapons inspectors found what they believed to be a de-
commissioned Stage 2 laboratory. Their conclusion, outlined in their
report to the UN, was that if they had de-commissioned a Stage 2 facility, they
must have already built and moved into their underground Stage 3 facility. Pathogens produced at a Stage 3 facility is the point at which you
consider them “weapon” ready.
– We have given Saddam many opportunities over the years to change his
ways. Not even to comply with US laws, merely to comply with international
-He had routinely violated the Geneva convention regarding:
-Usage of non-combatants as “shields”
-Manipulation of Russian-developed ammunition to bypass the UN/NATO requirements for non-lethal rounds.
-Violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NNPT), which they signed.
-Just this week, he offered to “debate” the coming war with President
Bush on national television. This is a very desperate attempt to stall.
– You suggested placing more pressure on the regime. What else can we do?
-We’ve placed an embargo on most goods going into the country.
-We’ve placed an embargo on the sale of oil to the world market.
-We’ve detained multiple of his family members while they were in the
-We’ve passed multiple resolutions against they in the UN.
– Iraq is one of only a few countries to ever use chemical or biological
weapons against an enemy. (They used chemical against Iran during the
Iran- Iraq war.)
-That makes them a higher risk because they have shown their willingness
to use them.
– Iraq is developing weapons in secret. Throughout history, groups that
develop weapons in secret do so for only one reason. So that it’s a
surprise when they use them.
– Just this week US satellite and naval reconnaissance was able to locate
multiple floating tanker-style craft out in the ocean off of Iraq’s coast. Iraq denies that they are theirs, despite the ships flying Iraq colors and having registrations matching vessels know to be operated by Saddam’s personal intelligence division.
-Hypothesis: Maybe we haven’t found more evidence over the years because
the labs are floating out at sea?
– I know this is a far reach but consider the following: I was unable to find a reference in history when the US and Britain ever agreed on an enemy and it turned out to be a bad decision.
-I’m willing to bet that, despite what they have produced, the government has additional evidence that it is not prudent to reveal.
-Consider the following scenario from our past: Lets say that we were able to learn WHY the fleet left Japan when they sailed to Pearl Harbor. The US now knows of an imminent attack against us. They might not be sure what day, but they know it’s coming. If the government were to make moves to declare war on Japan before the attack, it would have been met with the same resistance that we are giving the gulf situation now. This is a tricky situation. What if the government knows about another 911-scale attack and they are trying to prevent it. They’re already distributing single use gas masks to certain Washington
Wow, that took a lot longer than I expected. Let me know what you think
about all this.
My friend and I talked pretty extensively about this issue and I have made a flip-flop to supporting the war. My biggest reason is that I have realized that we did not invade Iraq because they had weapons of mass destruction; we invaded because we thought they may have weapons of mass destruction. If Iraq wanted to prove to us that they did not, they could have let the UN inspectors in, but they did not. They defied us and we put our money where our mouth is. The chances of September 11th repeating itself were just too great.