President Bush feels the United States should launch a preemptive strike on Iraq, rather than waiting for sanctions by the United Nations.
He has received support from some political groups while facing opposition from others. Each side presents valid arguments on why they believe the U.S. should or should not go to war with Iraq.
In 1990, the United Nations imposed sanctions on Iraq after it invaded Kuwait. The invasion eventually lead to the Gulf War in 1991.
The U.N. agreed to lift the sanctions if Iraq would allow international inspectors to certify it had removed its weapons.
However, since 1998, Baghdad has refused to allow inspectors into the country until the sanctions are lifted, claiming the weapons no longer exist (Yacoub, 2002).
In May 2002, a new Security Council resolution dealing with U.N. sanctions was accepted by Iraq for a period of 6 months. Iraq was unhappy with the oil-for-food deal stating "these new measures exposed America's tendency toward harming Iraq (Yacoub, 2002)."
The Arab League felt Iraq made a positive step toward having the sanctions lifted.
Some critics feel the terrorist attacks on September 11 were in response to the United States involvement in the sanctions. The death rate among children in Iraq has gone up since the end of the Gulf War due to starvation, and many people blame the sanctions.
Others say the deaths are not caused sanctions, but by Saddam Hussein, who'd rather purchase weapons and indulge in luxuries for himself and top ranking officials, then buy food and medicine for the Iraqi people (Sanctions, 2001).
President George W. Bush has suggested Iraq may be the next target in the war on terror, after accusing the Arab country of financing terrorism (International Conference, 2002).
Bush has placed Iraq on the Axis of Evil and declared Hussein "a threat to peace in the Persian Gulf (4 Questions, 2002)."
Some groups say a war with Iraq would overshadow any military actions since the Vietnam War, while others say this "could be and would be -the right war (4 Questions, 2002)." There are four questions that should be answered before the United States commits to invading Iraq.
All groups agree that Iraq represents a serious threat. However, Bush must decide how big a threat Iraq actually is and when actions should be taken to eliminate this threat. There is a debate concerning how soon the United States should invade Iraq. Some "high-level Iraqi defectors say Hussein could have a crude nuclear device in hand within two years and the missile capable of delivering it at long-range within three (4 Questions, 2002)." This group is pushing for immediate intervention, while other groups are recommending patience until international inspections are allowed in Iraq to confirm the presence of these weapons.
The Arab Community
Bush must consider how the a war with Iraq would effect relationships with other Arab countries.
Most Americans feel that al-Qaida is more of a threat than Hussein, and worry that the U.S. would lose Arab cooperation if Iraq is invaded before the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians is settled. However, those in favor of immediate action against Iraq point out that, despite worries about the Arab community, the U.S. will have to invade Iraq if Hussein does have nuclear weapons (4 Questions, 2002).
All experts agreed the U.S. will win a war with Iraq, but they are concerned about the cost. Some warn a war could mean higher oil prices, sending a weakened U.S. economy into a recession, similar to the one after the Gulf War. Others are concerned about casualties due to the 400,000 well-trained soldiers of the Iraqi army (4 Questions, 2002).
In August 2002, hearings were opened by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to debate whether or not to remove Hussein from power. Experts in favor of this action testified that Iraq has recovered from the Gulf War and is in process of developing weapons of mass destruction (4 Questions, 2002). Other experts disagreed, stating it could be between one and five years before these weapons are deployed. They were concerned that if the U.S. invaded Iraq there would be higher oil prices and terrorist retaliation. These experts also debated whether the U.S. should attack before al-Qaida is neutralized and the Mideast crisis is resolved (4 Questions, 2002).
The Bush Administration needs to address the question of what would happen after a war with Iraq.
Some say the United States military would have to stay in Iraq indefinitely until a democratic government can be established in Baghdad. Others argue it would be quite difficult to create a democratic society in Iraq and worry about future Arab relations (4 Questions, 2002). Those against immediate action point out that President Bush has not informed Congress or U.S. allies his plans for ridding Iraq of Hussein or what he feels Iraq will be like after Hussein is removed.
Addressing the Issues
President Bush must address the questions that were raised in the Senate hearings. If he feels it is in the best interest of the United States to removed Saddam Hussein, he must commit to his decision and convince the country he can do it right.
Once Bush makes the final decision to invade Iraq, military and tactical issues will need to be addressed.
Keeping the Public in the Dark
In an attempt to oust Saddam Hussein, the Bush administration has been quietly taking measures to prepare for a war with Iraq. The public is unprepared for this war, only being given the information this administration wants it to know concerning the increasing threat of Hussein (4 questions, 2002). Those who oppose a war with Iraq are extremely concerned about this and worry Americans will suffer due to the possible recession.
Opposition from Other Countries
U.S. officials announced in April they had no present plans to attack Iraq after facing strong opposition by the Arab summit in Beirut, Lebanon (International Conference, 2002).
The United States is pressuring Jordan, who is one of its allies, to support it's plan to remove Saddam Hussein. Jordan, however, is facing stiff opposition by Iraq and the public.
Iraq is Jordan's main trade partner and over 350, 000 Iraqis live in Jordan (Williams A18).
College students in the capital city of Amman are opposing an invasion of Iraq, believing the U.S. doesn't want to stop Hussien from acquiring nuclear weapons, but instead wants to control Iraq's oil supplies (Williams A18).
In April, the United Nations was asked by Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri Ahmed to supervise an international conference. The purpose of this conference was to "identify what is terror and to root out its causes (International Conference, 2002)." The Foreign Minister referred to the United States when he commented on the fact that countries shouldn't use anti-terrorism as an excuse to attack one another. In May, al-Thawra, a Baath party newspaper stated "Iraq has no intention of threatening neighboring countries or world security (Yacoub, 2002)."
On November 17th, 2002, President Bush gave Saddam Hussein three weeks to either provide proof there are no longer weapons in Iraq or reveal to U.N. weapons inspectors the locations of "weapons of mass destruction (Jahn, 2002)." If Hussein fails to comply, the United States has warned of military action against Iraq. Chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix said it's up to Saddam Hussein to answer the "question of war and peace (Jahn, 2002)."
The Taliban is viewed as an easy target, while in contrast, no one is quite sure what weapons Iraq has, making it a greater threat.
Many feel the United States should concentrate on eliminating al Qaeda, instead of planning an invasion on Iraq. They agree if Iraq had been involved in the anthrax mailings, then the U.S. would have a valid reason for the invasion.
However, despite intense efforts, the Pentagon has been unable to link Hussein to the terrorism.
This group of Americans also points out there is no hurry to attack and is putting pressure on Washington to work with Baghdad, instead of invading it.
They concede Hussein "is a very dangerous individual (The Iraqi question, 2002)," but this alone isn't a reason to go to war, since there are other dictators who are just as dangerous.
This opposition force also believes the war would cause other countries to seek nuclear weapons and "should be a last-resort means to advance a vital interest (The Iraqi question, 2002)."
They admit those in Baghdad are brutal and minorities are persecuted, but feel Syria and Turkey are just as evil.
The United States faces other obstacles in a war with Iraq including lacking allies, since European nations have made it clear they oppose an invasion of Iraq.
Muslims would look on the invasion as a war on Islam. The United States has been working diligently to ease these sentiments, but an unprovoked war on Baghdad would renew these issues (The Iraqi…