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War with Iraq: the right thing to do.
Since President Bush went before the U.N. Security Council on September 12 to challenge them to confront the "grave and gathering danger" posed by Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq, I have had reservations about going to war with the Middle Eastern nation. I am not a pacifist, but I believe the use of military force should be the last resort to a problem, and should only be used in response to a direct threat to national security. I questioned the logic the Bush Administration used to move us toward war with Iraq. When U.S. Representative John Hostettler (one of the most conservative members of Congress) spoke on the House floor against the authorization to use force in Iraq, my doubts increased.
We were faced with a very serious question. Were we going to invade a sovereign nation, remove the government there and replace it with a more friendly government? We did that in Afghanistan a year earlier, when we invaded to remove the Taliban regime that was harboring the monsters that crashed fuel-loaded jetliners into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, destroying the Twin Towers, severely damaging our nation's military headquarters, and murdering over 3000 people, mostly civilians. The invasion of Afghanistan was clearly a justifiable war of self-defense.
But was an invasion of Iraq justifiable? I believe that, absent a direct threat to our national security, an attack on us, or an alliance with those who have attacked us, that an invasion of Iraq was (and is) not justified. That Iraq has weapons of mass destruction was not a good enough reason to invade. Many other hostile regimes have weapons of mass destruction, and we cannot set out a policy where we will invade any hostile regime because they have the capability of doing us harm. To do so would lead us into many wars all over the world.
The United States should not be business of empire building. Our economic, cultural, and military influence is vast, but we must be careful to not use military force to invade enemies and change their government if we do not like it except in rare circumstances.
One of those circumstances was World War II. We occupied Germany and Japan after defeating them, and both are now allies. It was necessary to set up a new system of government in both countries after the massive bloodshed of the war, to ensure they would not be a threat in the future. Few people would argue that transforming those two countries was inadvisable after the aggression they exhibited.
For 45 years, we held the Soviet Union at bay with the knowledge that aggression against us would result in a war no one would win. While Communism, with the aid of the USSR, advanced in the Far East and in Latin America, the Soviets knew better than to engage the U.S. in anything other than a proxy war.
Absent open hostility, deterrence is the best policy to use against nations like Iraq, Iran, China or North Korea. As former President Teddy Roosevelt said, "Speak softly and carry a big stick." Containment worked with the USSR. Ronald Reagan and other Cold Warriors stared down the "Evil Empire", the Soviet Union collapsed under its own weight, and Communism is now on its last legs. While it is true that, had we not invaded, Iraq might have given terrorists weapons of mass destruction to use against us, any number of other countries might do the same thing.
Since the war began, I have become more comfortable with the concept of invading Iraq to establish "regime change". Allied forces have discovered a terrorist training camp in Iraq, and Osama bin Laden called on Muslims worldwide to wage war against the United States in defense of Iraq. In addition, U.S. forces recently captured Abu Abbas, the leader of a group of terrorists that hijacked the Achille Lauro in 1985. These monsters murdered an American passenger and threw him and his wheelchair overboard. These facts, coupled with evidence put forth by the Bush administration linking Iraq to Al Qaeda, has made it clear in my mind that this is not a pre-emptive war to prevent Iraq from doing harm, but a war of self-defense against a regime that is collaborating with terrorists that have declared war on the United States.
Iraq's military may be significantly weaker than it was in 1991, but Iraq's alliance with terrorists represents a serious threat. The 9-11 terrorists entered their mission with only box cutters and knowledge of how to fly a passenger jet, and caused immense havoc, property destruction, and loss of life. President Bush was right to stand firm in the need to remove Saddam from power.
We did not ask for this war. We did not ask for the Twin Towers to fall. This war has been forced upon us by the events of September 11, and now it is time to eradicate terrorism and punish those who harbor terrorists. The war with Iraq is the right step to do this.