Under the terms of the Gulf War cease-fire, Iraq was supposed to destroy all its weapons of mass destruction. It has refused to do so.
Saddam Hussain is known to possess biological and chemical weapons and almost certainly hiding large stockpiles -- apart from American and British intelligence sources, this has been confirmed by neutral observers
He has tried to develop nuclear weapons before and will be in a position to do so some time in future if not stopped. There is evidence to support the this fact as he has bought and attempted to buy equipment used in development of nuclear weapons as well as weapons grade uranium
He has also acquired ballistic missiles that enables delivery of these weapons and is trying to upgrade their capability and range
He has consistently refused, obstructed and hindered inspection of his weapons development facilities to UN observers
He has only acceded to unconditional inspection by UN under threat of war
Some opponents of action against Saddam Hussain have pointed out that there are other countries and regimes that have developed and are pursuing programs of weapons of mass destruction. Why single out Saddam?
Reason is obvious -- his is the only regime that has used biological and chemical weapons against Iranian forces during the Iran-Iraq war (a war that was started by Saddam)
He used such weapons against his own people -- the Kurds and the Shias killing thousands. There is no reason to believe that he would hesitate to use them again, given the opportunity
The key word is 'preemption:' Striking potential enemies before they attack. The policy shift of the U.S. administration towards pre-emptive strikes having become necessary because of the 9/11 attacks
Another objection to attacking Saddam Hussain is that it would create a massive backlash in the Muslim and Arab world. This is a misleading assumption. Muslims and Arabs have no love lost for Saddam Hussain and his brutal regime. He has threatened his own people, Muslims, Arabs and his neighbors more than anyone else
The long suffering people of Iraq itself will be the biggest beneficiaries of a forced regime change in Iraq
Is the cost of invading Iraq too high? Will there be an unacceptable number of causalities?
Previous experience suggests otherwise. In the last Gulf War the Iraqi army folded up in a matter of few days. Since then the fighting capabilities of the Iraqi Army hs certainly diminished considerably. So has its morale. At the same time the high-tech capabilities of U.S. military including precision guided bombs has increased manifold as demonstrated in the Afghanistan war.
Some loss of life has to accepted as the cost of pre-empting the loss of a lot more lives.
Saddam Hussain (as most other brutal dictators) would interpret inaction in the face of his intransigence as a signal of weakness which will embolden him further. Remember Hitler and the futile attempts of talking peace with him?
There is no alternative to firm, decisive action against Saddam including invasion of Iraq if the present UN attempt to disarm him is thwarted.
Why We Should Invade Iraq?
One of the most important debates that has emerged in the United States and indeed most of the world in the wake of the 9/11 attacks and their aftermath is whether the United States and its allies should invade Iraq to remove the brutal regime of Saddam Hussain. Both the supporters and the opponents of the policy of going to war have supposedly convincing reasons for their points-of-view. The debate has taken place in the congress, the print and electronic media, on the streets and has even entered the classrooms of our nation. This is how it should be in a free democracy since before taking such a vital decision as going into war, all its aspects must be thoroughly weighed by the nation. In my opinion, although going to war is very serious business that is not to be tken lightly, there are times when inaction is more damaging in the long run and a nation has to "bite the bullet." In my opinion putting off the invasion of Iraq at this point in time would be a mistake that we would regret later. Taking no action is analogous to not removing cancer from the body when the disease sure to spread. In this paper I will give arguments in support of the necessity of invading Iraq. While doing so, some of the main arguments of the opponents of such a move shall also be discussed to see why it is not a viable option.
When Iraq accepted the terms of the cease-fire that ended the 1991 Gulf War, it agreed to destroy, or render harmless all its weapons of mass destruction (Tyrangiel, 2002). This included stockpiles of chemical, and biological weapons and the infrastructure for its nuclear development program. Compliance to the terms of agreement was to be overseen by unrestricted weapons inspection by the United Nations. The weapons inspectors in Iraq faced countless deception and hindrances by the Saddam regime and they finally left Iraq in December 1998, considering the task to be pointless. Since then reports by intelligence gathering agencies from the U.S. And UK and other neutral agencies have revealed that Saddam Hussain has gone ahead with his program of developing weapons of mass destruction and he now has significant hidden stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons. These include lethal chemical and biological concoctions that result in excruciatingly painful death such as sarin nerve gas, anthrax and perhaps botulinum toxin. ("Does Saddam Have.." 2002). While some of these weapons are the unaccounted for stockpiles from the pre-Gulf War days, Iraq is known to have produced fresh quantities since the UN weapons inspection program was halted in 1998 as well. In addition to having large quantities of chemical and biological weapons the UN inspection teams had discovered that Iraq was trying to acquire mobile biological weapons facilities which make concealment of such weapons, easier. British intelligence sources confirm that it has now developed such facilities. ("Blair's Speech.." 2002)
As for nuclear weapons, Saddam's nuke plans had suffered significant set-backs by an Israeli pre-emptive strike in 1981 and the dismantling of as many as 40 secret nuclear-research facilities by the International Atomic Energy Agency before the UN weapons inspectors left Iraq in December, 1998. It is, therefore, almost certain that Saddam does not have a nuclear bomb as yet, but it is equally certain that his atomic bomb program has been revived. This is reflected in signs of re-location of Iraq's nuclear scientists towards the country's five nuclear research sites (Tyrangiel, 2002) and the intelligence reports of Saddam trying to buy large quantities of uranium from African countries (Blair's Speech....," 2002). Experts believe that Saddam has the sophisticted triggers, weapon housings, and other paraphernalia needed to build a nuclear device but may not have been successful in acquiring the necessary quantity of weapons-grade uranium yet; hence he is also trying to enrich his own uranium. Since this is a formidable task, it may take Iraq between three to six years to do so. (Tyrangiel, 2002)
Iraq's ballistic missile development that could be used to deliver his weapons of mass destruction is also a matter of concern. It has already tested a new line of ballistic missiles with a range of 150 km, which it is not supposed to exceed according to a UN ban. But some reports suggest that it may have secretly violated the UN ban by developing long-range missiles with a range of 1000 km. (Street, 2002)
Some people argue that there are many other countries such as India, Pakistan, and Israel who have developed nuclear bombs as well so what is so special about Iraq? The crucial difference is that the diabolical regime of Saddam Hussain has used weapons of mass detruction on more than one occasion. It did so during the Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s, a war that was started by Saddam Hussain. It is believed that more than 45000 Iranians died as a result of the chemical weapons attack and the Iranian government claims that thousands are still suffering from their after-effects. Saddam also used his chemical weapons on his own people -- the Kurds in 1988 -- killing between 3000 to 5000 people including women and children. (Falkenrath, 1998) There is no reason to believe that he would not do so again, given half the opportunity.
It has been argued that invading Iraq is illegal and a violation of international law. (Rothschild, 2002)
The answer to this objection is that Saddam Hussain has repeatedly violated the UN resolutions calling for destruction of his lethal weapons and does not follow any moral or legal law unless he is forced to. Have we forgotten his flagrant violation of international law when he invaded and occupied Kuwait in 1990? Was he prepared to listen to reason until he was forced out by military action? Did he allow the UN inspectors back…