War In Iraq: There Was Another Option

3219 words - 13 pages

War in Iraq: There Was Another Option

1. As our brave men and women in uniform find themselves embroiled again in a conflict in the Middle East, debate surrounding the timeliness and necessity of this second Gulf conflict has ceased in most professional circles. However, before the current conflict began, controversy raged over when and how to best prosecute this situation. Many argued that the United States should have worked through the United Nations to pursue a resolution that had the consensus of the world behind it. That endeavor, however, was doomed to failure from the start. The United States sought to solve this dilemma using military force. France and Germany desired to diffuse it using anything but force. In order to properly evaluate all options in this case, one must ask themselves how immediate a threat did Saddam Hussein pose to the United States and what is the best way to counter that threat? In my estimation, Saddam Hussein poses no immediate threat to the United States. Thus, the US government had the time to cultivate a plan to remove him from power that was agreeable to all involved.

2. One must examine the fine points of each argument that the administration had proposed for the immediacy of war in order to best refute them. The first and often most repeated argument that Saddam Hussein posed a direct threat to the United States is that he possessed weapons of mass destruction. I am willing to concede that the Iraqi military possessed both chemical and biological agents. Saddam Hussein had stockpiles of them that were never accounted for after the first Gulf War. He has even used them on several occasions on Kurdish minorities in Northern Iraq. However, no proof was ever offered that he possessed nuclear weapons or the means to develop them in the near future.

3. Chemical and biological agents can certainly inflict devastating damage on a country's population. However, what is the likelihood the Saddam Hussein would have used them on the United States or even our allies in the region? Recent history demonstrates that it was not very likely. Up until the first Gulf War, Iraq was an ally, in some sense of the word, of the United States. The US government supported Saddam Hussein in his battle with Iran because we opposed the Shi'a fundamentalists in Tehran. We gave Hussein, through American contractors, many of the chemical agents we sought to disarm him of. In fact, Donald Rumsfeld, now Secretary of Defense, arranged some of the deals himself (Mearsheimer 47). American relations with Iraq were cordial until Saddam Hussein initiated an attack against his neighbors in Kuwait in 1991. Many war supporters used this as evidence that Hussein acts irrationally and without contemplating the consequences of his actions. However, this assertion is absurd given the facts surrounding the first Gulf War.

4. Before invading Kuwait, Iraq essentially asked US Ambassador April Glaspie if the United States had any...

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