Don't Attack Iraq
President Bush has promised the American people that he will root out terrorists “wherever they may be” and destroy what he deemed the “axis of evil.” In making such a sweeping goal, and with his successes in Afghanistan, Bush’s favorability ratings have skyrocketed. With a re-election campaign fast approaching, one can only wonder if his hawkish behavior is motivated by politics or practicality.
The president has tried to make the argument that the presence and development of chemical and biological weapons in Iraq makes America’s next military actions imminent. While this should serve as a concern to our military and should be monitored, the mere presence of such weapons should not be reason enough to prompt, justify a military strike. In July 2001, Bush refused to sign an international agreement designed to enforce a ban on biological weapons that had been in existence since 1972. This action alone makes any claims of concern over biological weapons by the president appear hypocritical and foolish. American citizens cannot let Bush’s double standard act as a call to battle.
The ultimate victory that America—and the world—could enjoy in this presently war-torn region is a solid and lasting peace. We should strive for diplomacy, as well as caution, in order to protect the world from a trigger-happy president and a debatable imperative that will only cost more lives—both American and Arab.
Entering into armed conflict with Iraq is not an effective way to stop terrorism and attacks on American civilians. Indeed, it may only prove to make the current situation more volatile by rousing terrorists to action in defense of America’s military presence. The United States is already perceived as a violent and aggressive nation by many countries, both Muslim and not. An attack on Iraq without a clear-cut reason at the present time would only serve to exacerbate America’s reputation as an international bully.
Since the end of 1991, the United States has repeatedly looked for ways to overthrow the regime of Saddam Hussein. The U.S. has occupied military bases in Saudi Arabia and other neighboring states for “protection.” It has given the nod to special forces seeking to assassinate Hussein. It has imposed and enforced sanctions—both food and economic—on Iraq, which have only hurt the Iraqi civilian population and not its government. If the United States attacks Iraq under the guise of terrorism, it is a misuse of our power, an abuse of our foreign policies, and an insult to the intelligence of Americans and Iraqis alike. America’s impetus for a full-on assault on Iraq ended with the Gulf War; it cannot use a decade-old grudge to push America into more combat.
Unless the political and military climates change in Iraq, the United States should use diplomacy, rather than destruction, to deal with the uneasy relationship with Saddam Hussein and his government.