Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Reasons for War-----If They Are True

It has been more than seven years since President Bush declared war on
Iraq. Few days ago, President Obama finally declared the end of all
combat operations by American troops in Iraq as last of the combat
troops departed for Kuwait. Of course, American involvement in Iraq
does not end here. The State Department hires thousands of armed
contractors to protect American officials in Iraq, in the process
assuming many of the same roles as the American soldiers before the
soldiers' withdrawal.

But the move by President Obama is clear. He, as promised in his
presidential campaign platform, wants America to walk out of the War's
damages on its economy, reputation, and international image as quickly
as possible, shifting focus on Afghanistan and domestic developments.
However, as I will show in the next couple of posts, the influence of
this particular war on the global perception of America and its
unilateral actions will be lasting, especially considering the slogans
of "freedom" and "justice" that American politicians consistently use
to justify coercive actions outside its national boundaries.

The hypocrisy of such slogans have not been anymore obvious than as
displayed in the Iraq War. One year after the War began, facing
committees consisting largely of his partisans, President Bush
received the news that after investigation, two of his main reasons
for war have been proved wrong, namely the beliefs that Saddam Hussein
has weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and has ties with Osama bin
Laden and his al-Qaeda terrorist network. Still, President Bush and
Vice President Cheney continue to justify the war on Iraq based on
these reasons, stating that if Saddam wasn't removed, he would have
posed a serious threat to peace of the U.S. and its allies. But even
if these reasons for war are true, analysis can show that Mr. Bush and
Mr. Cheney's statements are not true and the war in Iraq is not worth
lives of more than 800 American soldiers and billions of the money of
American taxpayers.

Now, let's examine why both reasons cannot logically be true under the
known circumstances. The first reason is that "Saddam possesses
weapons of mass destruction and will use them against America and/or
its allies." Let us assume that this belief Bush Administration hold
is true. To understand this statement, first, we must first understand
who Saddam wants and have the ability to attack from Iraq.

Although the U.S. has many allies and anti-terrorist partners in the
Middle East, the only likely target will be Israel, since it is the
only non-Muslim nation in the immediate region and is the most loyal
and important American ally in the world. Besides, to destroy other
American allies in the region, such as Turkey, he can succeed by
merely providing weapons to Islamic extremists in those nations and
inciting revolts and/or coup d'etat against the pro-American
governments. The use of WMD on Muslim nations, even if they are
pro-American, will only decrease his popularity within his fellow
Muslim communities of the Middle East.

Next, we also need to understand what kind of WMD Saddam want to
produce in his factories. If Saddam is to attack Israel, the only
feasible kind of WMD would be nuclear weapons. Biological weapons,
even used en masse, do not pose enough of a serious threat to the
lives of the victims to be effective (shown by the anthrax-in-the-mail
crisis in Washington D.C.) and if not careful, can be spread easily to
others not targeted for attack. Chemical weapons, is quite inadequate
in using against foreign countries. The reason concerns the method of
which chemical weapons destroy their victims.

Chemical weapons cause internal suffering of their victims before
finally killing them. Even the most savage warmonger will consider
such act "anti-humanitarian" (which is why they are strictly banned
after World War I). With their use, Saddam would have lost the little
international support he had. However, the main reason for not using
chemical weapons is that although its effectiveness shown by their
usage in the massacre of Kurds in northern Iraq, chemical weapons
cannot be as powerful as the nuclear weapons, even if a greater
quantity is used.

Thirdly, we need to know how much nuclear weapons Saddam can produce
in his factories. First of all, the U.S. and U.N. confirmed the
destruction of many factories in Iraq believed to have the capability
of producing WMD. The only way Saddam can continue producing WMD is
through use of so-called "underground factories" not discovered by the
U.N. or the U.S. If they exist at all, these "underground factories"
will be designed to be small and discrete to avoid capture of large
quantities of important materials. How efficient can these
"underground factories" be?

We can answer this question by comparing Saddam's suspected nuclear
projects to some of his other ambitious military projects. For
example, years ago, Saddam attempted in the Iraqi desert to build the
world's largest artillery gun aimed at Israel. All parts of this
monstrous machinery were shipping in from Western nations. As the
economic sanction against Saddam was set, the project was abandoned
because of lack of necessary parts to complete the gun. Nobody should
expect a country that cannot even produce an artillery gun to produce
more than a few nuclear warheads at most. (And this, again, confirm
why Saddam would have attacked Israel: because he does not have the
ability to attack more than one nation)

Finally, we should all understand that it is not enough for a nuclear
weapon to be a threat unless Saddam has a launching vehicle to send
the nuclear weapon to its destination. The U.S. have proved that
Saddam possess several short-range ballistic missiles (SRBM) made the
former Soviet Union known to the West as the Scud. It is known that
Saddam possesses these weapons from use during the Persian Gulf War of
1991.

Facts show that the Scuds are not only obsolete (made in the 60's) and
erratic (constant error in upper atmosphere after launch), inaccurate
(ironically, the missiles have a much better chance of hitting a
Muslim country than Israel) and short in range (the missiles can
barely reach Israel from deserts in western Iraq), but most of
Saddam's stockpile of the Scud missile is used or destroyed in 1991.
Furthermore, even if Saddam can prepare missiles for launch, it is
impossible that the highly-developed Israeli and American intelligence
and military cannot find and destroy Saddam's missile bases before
they are ready.

The second reason for America to invade is that "Saddam has ties with
al-Qaeda as well as other terrorist organizations." We will also
assume this is true. There is only two ways that Saddam can have ties
with terrorism. The first way is supplying of weapons to terrorists.
The only weapon worthwhile for the terrorists to obtain is WMD (the
terrorists can easily obtain plethora of conventional weapons such as
Kalashnikov rifles and RPG launchers from black markets around the
world). It is quite logical why Saddam will offer terrorist his
nuclear weapons.

Since his missiles cannot help him achieve the goal, Saddam will use
suicide bombers as an alternative launching vehicle to send nuclear
weapons to U.S. and American allies. But how will the terrorists look
at such an offer? Of course, destroying the Americans is their
passion, but Saddam's nuclear weapons will not help them achieve any
success. Saddam's primitive nuclear industry just doesn't have the
necessary technology to make nuclear weapon so portable that the
suicide bombers can easily smuggle into Israel, the U.S, or any other
Western nation without being detected.

The second way for Saddam to have ties with terrorism is the financial
support Saddam provides to terrorist organizations. Even as Saddam's
financial support to terrorist organizations is cut off with the
overthrow of his regime, there are many other methods terrorists can
obtain funding for carrying out their missions. Few of methods include
international (if not intercontinental) drug smuggling, donations from
Muslims overseas, and interests from Osama bin Laden's huge family
inheritance.

In fact, the source of money is so numerous, so extensive, and so
hidden, that it is almost impossible to destroy funding to terrorism
without obliterating the entire Arab race. Also, many have argued that
Saddam have provided financial support for Palestinian families whose
family members killed Israelis and became the martyrs of Muslim faith.
It will be absurd if this is a reason for war, because for many
Palestinians, becoming suicide bombers is not for their families to
have a future financial security but to simply kill their enemy, the
Israelis and the Americans. Stopping Saddam's flow of money into
Palestine cannot stop suicide bombing, but can intensify it.

Both points mentioned above lead to a single fact, the fact that even
if Saddam had WMD and ties with al-Qaeda or any other terrorist
organization, it was not worthwhile for the Bush administration to
declare war on Saddam at such huge cost. Not only did the government
waste billions of dollars and lives of hundreds of soldiers, it has to
take responsibility for destabilizing the political environment and
the balance of power in the Middle East as well as create a haven for
breeding and flourishing of Muslim extremism. But most importantly,
unlike what the Bush Administration stated, U.S. or any of its allies
were not under serious threat from Saddam.

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