The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

SMU professor Susanne Scholz in the West Bank in 2018.
SMU professor to return to campus after being trapped in Gaza for 12 years
Sara Hummadi, Video Editor • May 18, 2024
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Sympathy for Saddam

Too many Americans today want to rewrite history and tell us that the Bush Administration conjured up a war with Iraq. They also try to make the case that there was no justification for the use of force to remove Saddam from power. These attempts to obscure the facts and advance an anti-war agenda are detrimental to America. I offer you my proof that the Bush Administration acted in accordance with the law while the rest of the world played the fiddle of appeasement.

A good start is with the issue of pre-war intelligence. While it’s fairly obvious that not all of the intelligence gathered prior to the U.S. invasion was solid intelligence, nearly every major intelligence agency worldwide came to the same conclusion that Iraq possessed or was attempting to acquire weapons of mass destruction. President Clinton detailed his own case in February 1998. All presidents have a mandate to protect this nation. Feeling reasonably sure Saddam had a weapons program and taking no action would be an abdication of President Bush’s responsibilities as our Commander in Chief.

Congress saw the same intelligence that President Bush saw, and both houses of Congress voted to authorize the use of military force in October 2002. The House of Representatives passed the resolution 296-133, and the Senate passed it 77-23 (CNN.com, Oct. 11, 2002). Notice that both votes included a significant number of Democrats.

The Robb-Silberman Report details how NO pressure or influence applied by any administration official altered the intelligence. This confirms what every other report has found: The Bush Administration did not pressure the intelligence community to fit a preconceived Iraq attack plan.

You could have easily justified an invasion of Iraq in March 2003 without taking into account WMDs. The United Nations failed miserably in its enforcement of Iraq’s compliance with the cease-fire agreement signed after the 1991 Gulf War. U.N. resolution 1441 was one of the last attempts by the international community to get Saddam to act responsible. Resolution 1441 names 10 other resolutions demanding that Saddam let inspectors verify his weapons capabilities. Iraq was in material breach of all of them. Saddam kicked weapons inspectors out of his country from 1998 to 2002. It was only the threat of U.S. force that forced him to return to inspections. Even then, the International Atomic Energy Agency was never able to verify that Saddam complied with regulations. Twelve years was plenty of time to allow Saddam to comply with the requirements.Wonder why the U.N. was ineffective? Much of the world was in Saddam’s pocket through the Oil-for-Food Program. According to the Wall Street Journal, the Volcker Commission found that 139 of 248 oil purchasers paid illegal surcharges, and 2,253 of 3,614 providers of humanitarian goods paid kickbacks. The Presidential Office of Russia was given an allocation of 21.3 million barrels of oil; British MP George Galloway and French Senator Charles Pasqua each received 11 million barrels. Is it any wonder that France and Russia, as well as Mr. Galloway, were opposed to the use of force? This illicit activity provided $173 million in fees for BNP Paribas, a French bank. BNP Paribas became “an instrument for the payment of millions of dollars in illegal surcharges while doing little to detect or prevent such payments.” Even the director of the program, Benon Sevan, was involved in the corruption. Keep in mind that this kept millions of dollars from going to humanitarian aid for Iraq’s poverty-stricken population.

This brings me to my final point. Saddam was an evil man. He attacked Kuwait without any reasonable justification; there’s a real “War for Oil” if I have ever seen one. He gassed his own citizens, the Kurds. Conservative estimates placed the number of people killed under the Baathist regime at 300,000. Last time I heard, 262 mass graves had been found in Iraq, each containing hundreds or even thousands of bodies. Saddam controlled Iraq for 24 years. If 300,000 dead is correct, that is 12,500 people dead every year because of his ruthless regime. That amounts to a Sept. 11-style event every three months in a country with less than 10 percent of the U.S. population. Would we accept that here? Of course not. We had better not accept it just because it doesn’t happen in our own backyard. There are plenty of people who are outspoken in their support of aid to Africa. Where were they when the people of Iraq needed them?

Reed Hanson is a sophomore mechanical engineering major. He may be contacted at [email protected].

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