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Bush's Gulf Policy Deserves Support



To the Editors of The Crimson:

The editorial "The Lone Ranger" on December 5 accuses President Bush of violating the Constitution by not getting formal Congressional approval for his policies in the Persian Gulf. This accusation both lacks legal grounding and harms the prospect of achieving our goal of a peaceful resolution of this conflict.

The accusation that President Bush violated the Constitution is based on a gross misinterpretation of the Constitution. The Constitution says the Congress has the sole right to declare a war, but does not say the Congress has the right to send troops; in fact, that right is explicitly reserved to the president.

As of today, no war has broken out, and what the president has done so far is perfectly within his Constitutional right as the commander-in-chief of the armed forces. No one, including those active opponents of war, would agree that the deployment of troops by itself means "war" as written in the Constitution. To require that the president have Congressional approval for sending troops would be an outrageous breach of the president's Constitutional prerogative.

This accusation, along with recent antiwar protests and the action of some members of Congress to seek a court order that would require the president to get Congressional approval to attack Iraq have counter effects on the possibility of a peaceful settlement.

Saddam Hussein will surely interpret these anti-war sentiments in the United States as a sign of unwillingness to go to war with Iraq. He will choose not to pull out of Kuwait, but to wait and see. Our president's effort of sending our young men and women to the Saudi desert and getting international support would likely be perceived by the Iraqis as a bluff.

To convince Saddam Hussein that we are willing to use force to kick him out of Kuwait seems to be the only way to persuade him to leave Kuwait peacefully. Therefore, to ensure minimum possibility of an actual war, we should show full support for our present policies and make Saddam believe that we American people are united behind our president.

Many people are arguing that we should allow more time for economic sanctions to work, but the sanctions are highly unlikely to produce a peaceful settlement acceptable to the United States and the rest of the world. Historically, economic sanctions have almost never worked to make an aggressor back down from an aggression, and there is no evidence that this time there will be an exception.

Another problem with sanctions is that it will never hurt Saddam Hussein and his military before it really hurts the innocent civilians. With Kuwait under his control, Hussein will plunder everything from Kuwait and starve every Kuwaiti to death before any of his Iraqi soldiers will be starved.

When the santions really take effect a long time from now, the Kuwaitis under the occupation will be destroyed.

The last reason why we may not be able to afford to wait is Iraq's development of nuclear weapons. Some estimates claim that Iraq may have nuclear weapons within several months. Although there is almost no way of confirming these estimates, there is the possiblity that Iraq may pose a paramount security threat if we wait too long.

Those opponents of the Bush administration's policy have concerns mainly over the justification for a possible war and the human cost of the war. It is true that oil prices should not be a sufficient cause for war, but the sovereignty of a nation should always be respected. If one nation's sovereignty is violated, then it is justified to restore it by all necessary means, including the use of force.

When a small, weak nation is incapable of defending itself, other capable, righteous nations have a legal right under the U.N. charter and a moral obligation to defend it. To say it is not our land that has been invaded and therefore it is not our problem is the attitude of antipathy toward a crime committed against someone else. It is just like saying, "Let's not worry about murders, robberies or drug problems in other neighborhoods as long as my neighborhood is safe."

Casualties are an unavoidable product of a war, and every human life is obviously precious. But sometimes peace can only be achieved through bloodshed; one would not argue that World War II should not have been fought because it killed so many Americans.

If we back down on this crisis, it will send the wrong signal to many ambitious Third World leaders who may be lead to believe that they can take over their weak neighbors and get away with it. If we send the signal that no one will stand up against aggression in the future, then it is possible that a lot more people in other nations will die in regional conflicts.

But if we hold onto our demand for total withdrawal of Iraqis from Kuwait and go into war to enforce that demand, if necessary, then we will send a strong message to those leaders who may contemplate similar acts that we will stand up against any aggression. This message will be a strong deterrent for any future aggression and will help preserve the new world order. Leigh Chao '91

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