War reasoning: specious

By on February 13, 2003

Tom Hyde’s essential argument in his article “United States’ obligation in Iraq” seems to imply this: “We are the super power, we think we should attack, so we will. Who cares whether we have evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, or the war is being internationally scorned. We’ll do what we want to do.”

One of the primary reasons advocated by the Bush administration and the pro-war crowd for a war in Iraq is the unfounded accusation that Saddam Hussein’s existence is threatening “to all Jews, all Americans…[and this] warrants military intervention.”

United Nations inspectors have not found enough evidence proving the above allegation.

Even Powell’s case to the UN remains dubious. He presented us with satellite pictures of mobile labs that might exist; UN inspector Hans Blix said that the UN MOVIC inspectors have seen no evidence of mobile biological weapon labs.

The evidence from Al-Qaeda prisoners is also not concrete, for they have been psychologically and physically tortured to the effect that any statements from them should not be considered reliable.

In fact, Powell’s whole speech was focused on what Iraq might do after it develops nuclear weapons, not on what it has the ability to do.

Others like Tom Hyde believe that the U.S doesn’t need a “smoking gun” to attack Iraq. Saddam’s atrocities should be enough.

One cannot compare Saddam to Hitler. Saddam does not have a strong army like Hitler, no air force and virtually no usable ballistic missiles.

Saddam is a dictator, and his authoritarian regime has been ruling for more than a decade. But for 12 of those years, the U.S had supported the regime.

During these 12 years (prior to the sanctions), the Iraqi population’s lifestyle was among the best in the Middle East. Iraqis enjoyed free medical care, free education and the only thing Iraqi children suffered from was obesity.

If we look at Iraq’s current state now, it is in shambles mostly due to U.S led economic sanctions over a span of eleven years.

Several United States Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) documents clearly state that the United States knew what the sanctions have been costing Iraqi civilians, how they have degraded the water supply and resulted in the deaths of about 5000 children every month, but the U.S went ahead with the plan anyway. There are even documents monitoring the devastation these sanctions caused.

The notion that a democratic government will be “installed” in Iraq after military intervention and the Iraqi people will be liberated seems highly improbable.

Hyde gives the example of the “coalition troops [that] moved into Afghanistan and liberated its people.” Let’s review Afghanistan’s condition after the war.

The Northern Alliance (the primary ruling party) is headed by “moderate Talibans” who have been known to lead sex-slave camps and have participated enthusiastically in looting and killing. RAWA, an organization fighting for rights of women in Afghanistan, reported that “…thousands of people who fled Kabul during the past two months were saying that they feared coming to power of the NA in Kabul much more than being scared by the US bombing.”

The increased murders and drug-trafficking – the grenades thrown at American and International Troops, increased burning and raping of females – even Powell had enough presence of mind not to mention the “success” story in Afghanistan. This seems to be the most plausible path Iraq will follow after the war.

I think the only question we should ask right now is whether all peaceful means to disarm and control Saddam’s regime have been truly exhausted.

As of now, I don’t think so. Neither do France, China, Russia and Germany. To ensure that unnecessary civilian casualties do not occur, the U.S must rely on stricter UN inspections to control Saddam Hussein.


About Elham Shabahat