The war in Iraq began almost a year ago and support for it is split among individuals in America. There are many relevant issues supporting the war for Iraq, the most prominent being its terrible leadership. Saddam was a brutal dictator who slaughtered his own people for decades and caused senseless wars, beginning with Iran and then the invasion of Kuwait, which started the Gulf War.Yes, the United States aided Iraq with weapons during their war with Iran supporting Saddam: a mistake which American leaders rarely discuss. It is a fact that Saddam used mustard gas against innocent people of Iraq and systematically had his Ba’ath party officials track those Iraqi’s who did not support him. They were brutally tortured and murdered. The most notorious torturers were Saddam’s own sons, Uday and Qusay. These incidents occurred after the Gulf War.
American intelligence, such as the CIA, had no hard evidence that Saddam obtained weapons of mass destruction, but there was a strong belief he had the capabilities to make them. However, no weapons were found by U.N. officials before we invaded Iraq, nor U.S. intelligence since we have occupied Iraq. These are all valid points to oppose the war on the grounds that Saddam did not present any real danger to America. But what about the mass murder of his people? What about the brutality against his non-supporters, which were current issues before we invaded Iraq? Saddam, since his dictatorship, has killed more than a million people. This is an atrocity that could have been prevented if the United Nations had taken action and removed Saddam decades earlier.
The world leaders should have been aware of Saddam’s capabilities. For example, a similar but far worse dictator came to power in 1933. The genocide of more than six million Jews could have been prevented by British and French intervention. I am by no means blaming the Holocaust on these countries. My point is that the United States had reasons other than possible weapons of mass destruction to invade Iraq. The United States of America is a democratic society and our leaders chose to go to war against Iraq. They believed Saddam posed a threat to America through his actions since the Persian Gulf War. We should have completely eliminated Saddam when we had the chance in 1991, but we did not.
Furthermore, people may say that America exerted too much power by side-stepping the United Nations, invading Iraq without its permission. This point is valid, but if America did not take action against Saddam and the Ba’ath party, he would still be killing his people with chemical weapons and brutally torturing those who opposed his leadership. Saddam is an unstable man, who, if not properly brought to justice, could have caused future wars and mass murders. He was a man who could have rivaled the likes of Lenin, Stalin, or even Hitler. Why not side step the U.N.? America acted in the best interest of our country and provided the people of Iraq with the support and liberation they so desperately needed.
Where’s the support around the world? More than 25 different countries have sent troops to Iraq in an attempt to rebuild and provide the Iraqis with the democratic life they deserve. The coalition forces are under U.S. command, but that’s because America is a country of leaders and we understand how to build a true democratic system. We did it more than two hundred years ago with the help of the French. Although the French do not necessarily support the war in Iraq, they have the right to choose what is in the best interest of their country.
For the people who don’t believe the war is justified and that Bush is a poor leader, study the history of Iraq. Understand that we started the whole concept of weapons of mass destruction in Japan almost 60 years ago. Now America must defend against those countries and leaders who pose a threat to human beings. Americans are losing their lives in Iraq, but they are fighting for a good cause. Individuals may believe the United States is imperialistically too aggressive with its power, but why not save the lives of innocent people who cannot defend themselves, have no say in their government, and are persecuted for their beliefs?
America’s only goal is to provide the people of Iraq with the ability to one day rule themselves democratically. The Muslims in Iraq may feel that America is a threat to their religion and way of life, but let’s see what happens. The goal is to provide Iraq with a democratic government and to rule without U.S. assistance. This is a new concept and way of life the people of Iraq will gradually obtain. I wish the best for the Iraqi people and hope they will one day fully enjoy all the liberties and happiness that we Americans take for granted.
Michael Fenton is a junior majoring in liberal studies with a double minor in political science and film criticism.