Are UN or are you out?

Posted in politics by Nathan Creitz on May 9, 2007

Originally written December 18, 2005 and I still agree with myself…somewhat. Enjoy.

Did the US wage a legitimate war in Iraq when we invaded in 2003? Were we right to invade when later we discovered Iraq did not, in fact, have any weapons of mass destruction? Have the 2,154 to-date American deaths in Iraq been in vain? Were they reckless and irresponsible or were they righteous and necessary?

These are questions that America has been asking since the first American casualty in Iraq. The questions we should be asking might go more like this:

Were there UN sanctions imposed on Saddam Hussein for nearly 12 years? Did he systematically reject them? Did Hussein reject the UN’s Oil for Food offer? Did he expel UN weapon’s inspectors in 1998? Was he trying to resupply his military with smuggled weapons from Russia and France? Had he ever used weapons of mass destruction?

On December 16th, 1998, in a speech to the American people, President Clinton explained his use of force against Iraq:
“Other countries possess weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles. With Saddam, there is one big difference: He has used them. Not once, but repeatedly. Unleashing chemical weapons against Iranian troops during a decade-long war. Not only against soldiers, but against civilians, firing Scud missiles at the citizens of Israel, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Iran. And not only against a foreign enemy, but even against his own people, gassing Kurdish civilians in Northern Iraq. The international community had little doubt then, and I have no doubt today, that left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will use these terrible weapons again.”

He also said, “Iraq repeatedly blocked UNSCOM from inspecting suspect sites … If Saddam can cripple the weapons inspection system and get away with it, he would conclude that the international community — led by the United States — has simply lost its will. He will surmise that he has free rein to rebuild his arsenal of destruction, and someday — make no mistake — he will use it again as he has in the past.”

“In halting our air strikes in November, I gave Saddam a chance, not a license. If we turn our backs on his defiance, the credibility of U.S. power as a check against Saddam will be destroyed. We will not only have allowed Saddam to shatter the inspection system that controls his weapons of mass destruction program; we also will have fatally undercut the fear of force that stops Saddam from acting to gain domination in the region.”

By 2002, the situation in Iraq had deteriorated further. The United States was conducting a war on terror and operating at a heightened threat level. Iraq was blocking all inspections that would allow the UN to conclude that there were, or were not, any WMD’s. Our President took an oath that he would defend the American people from all threats both foreign and domestic and in a post 9/11 world he thought it imperative to address a very real, a very clear, a very present danger in Iraq.

Saddam was given 12 years to comply with UN sanctions. Resolution 1441, adopted by the UN in November 2002, revealed that “the Council has repeatedly warned Iraq that it will face serious consequences as a result of its continued violations of its obligations.” What serious consequences was the UN talking about? After 12 years of telling Iraq that they better comply, the threat of force was the only serious consequence that was available to them. The UN wasn’t willing to enforce its own sanctions. The President even went before the UN to plead with them to take a more aggressive stance on the situation in Iraq especially in a post 9/11 world.

Since the UN was unwilling to back President Bush in the War on Terror, Bush decided to do the hard, but the right thing. He declared war on Iraq. He couldn’t wait 12 more years for conclusive proof to come in that there weren’t any weapons of mass destruction. He couldn’t wait 12 more years for the UN to see the light that Saddam viewed the UN inspectors as spies and he didn’t want them in his country and would never comply even when his country was falling apart. With a small coalition of countries backing the US, President Bush declared war on Saddam.

Saddam was literally holding his own people ransom with the demand that we revoke all sanctions on his country. He was letting them starve when there had never been any sanctions on food. He was letting them die of diseases when there had never been any sanctions on medical supplies. He was crying foul to the UN because “1.5 million have died because of the sanctions” and when the UN started to weaken, President Bush and the American people punished the despotic dictator. We called him to task for what he was doing. When no one else would do what was right, we did and we should be proud of doing the right thing. The families of the soldiers who have lost their lives should be praised for their noble sacrifice.

Were we justified? Well, we brought down a ruthless dictator. We brought democracy to the Iraqi people. 70% of the Iraqi people voted in the national elections. Iraqi forces are slowly becoming an efficient fighting force. There have been no terrorist attacks on American soil since 9.11.2001. No weapons of mass destruction were ever found, but graves of mass destruction were. So do we stay the course and honor those who gave their lives in the pursuit of freedom and democracy and the war on terror? Or should we withdraw our troops because it’s harder than we thought it would be, thereby effectively disparaging the sacrifices that have been made thus far?

The President’s answer is final. We are fighting this war and we are winning. The UN can’t share in the victory because they pulled out when it came to decisive action. What about you? Are you in or are you out? I think it’s time we showed some unity in our country and get behind the effort to end terror and, as a bonus, bring freedom and democracy to a formerly oppressed people in the Middle East.


One Response

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  1. Dean said, on May 15, 2007 at 3.08 pm

    I’m still rather suspicious Iraq had WMD’s somewhere and got rid of them. I hope we’re not going to eventually discover what happened to them in an…unpleasant way.

    I’m not extremely sure about the history behind the sanctions, etc., as I was sort of still in the process of growing up the first time around over there.

    I do think that all the security agencies in the western world believed Saddam had chemical weapons and was trying to develop nukes. Even if it turned out to be wrong, you can’t judge actions based on the information that was available at the time based on hindsight. If the president has intelligence that says this madman’s building a bomb to blow us up…then OF COURSE we should go in and stop him.

    If he DIDNT order the troops to go in and stop him, just because he didn’t have an eyewitness account of Saddam creepily caressing the “launch” control-panel, while impatiently demanding “how much longer”, he’d be seriously derelict in his duties.

    When I was overseas, I met a lot of people who just didn’t understand the concept of a nationalized system of priorities. Yes the President should be concerned about the casualties, all the Iraqis who got killed when we bombed Baghdad, etc. BUT his first priority is to protect us. And if it comes down to bombing Baghdad versus even the small risk of Saddam nuking NYC…guess what…the babies in Baghdad are humans too, but it’s the American ones he’s sworn an oath to protect.

    As for the troop casualties…again…that’s their job description. It’s their job to take bullets for the rest of us. That is their function. If we send them into the line of fire, in some way that is calculated to draw fire from here (did you notice…since we went over there…all the terrorism is going on OVER THERE, rather than OVER HERE).

    Oh yeah. The oil. I do suspect the oil played a part in deciding to go over there. I mean, we aren’t going to be the world’s only superpower indefinitely. I’m not so worried about the EU, but China’s growing, and young, and tends to be quite belligerent. I suspect we’ll be counterbalancing again soon enough. And we’ll need oil to do that. And a strong foothold (i.e., something like 60% of all of our military forces?) in the part of the world where most of it comes from is a VERY important piece of the strategic puzzle.

    So yeah, sure, oil was part of the reason, I’ll buy that. Not the entire reason, as I mentioned above the WMD thing was pressing at the time. But still a very good reason. The problem with the “No Blood for Oil” campaigners is that they haven’t realized that OIL IS BLOOD.

    Blood is going to be shed for oil. It’s a vital resource. Better we sacrifice a few thousand troops to secure it now, than to have people freezing to death in the winter ten years from now, or our tanks not being there to backup our troops in a tight spot because they ran out of gas.

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