Why war with Iraq? (It's really about Saudi Arabia)
The United States is preparing to go to war against Iraq in order to bring about a "regime change" through the forced removal of Saddam Hussein. The question is, "Why?"
Several answers have been given by the Bush Administration. (1) Saddam is an evil man who used poison gas on his own people, has killed political rivals, and violates the human rights of his people, especially the Kurds. The Iraqi people deserve to be liberated from him. (2) Saddam has ignored and violated resolutions of the United Nations Security Council relative to inspections and disarmament and must be removed to protect the credibility and integrity of the United Nations. (3) Saddam has weapons of mass destruction (chemical and biological weapons) in violation of UN demands. These weapons pose a threat to Iraq's neighbors and to US interests in the region. (4) Saddam has ties to Al Qaida and therefore bears some responsibility for 9/11 and must be removed as part of the War on Terrorism. (5) Saddam's ties to Al Qaida and his possession of chemical and biological agents which he could transfer to them pose a threat to the US homeland and to our people. (6) Saddam has been trying to buy aluminum tubes useful in a uranium separation plant. Such a plant could produce the highly-enriched U-235 required for making an atomic bomb. If Saddam succeeded in building such a bomb, he could transfer it to Al Qaida who could use it in the US. If we wait for a smoking gun, it could be a mushroom cloud. (7) UN weapons inspectors won't do any good. They failed to disarm Saddam before, and would fail again. Iraq only agrees to inspections as a stalling tactic.
Let's take a look at each of these reasons for going to war.
(1) Saddam is an evil man who used poison gas on his own people, has killed political rivals, and violates the human rights of his people, especially the Kurds. The Iraqi people deserve to be liberated from him. Well, certainly Saddam is an evil man. He used poison gas against Iraqis collaborating with Iran in their decade-long war. And after he did it, the US continued to support him, giving him intelligence information and military equipment. A principle emissary from the Reagan Administration to Saddam at that time was Donald Rumsfeld. And yes, he has killed political rivals - some of them for the CIA, who used Saddam to get rid of the previous ruler of Iraq (who wanted Kuwait returned to Iraq). And yes, Saddam has been guilty of human rights violations - although not nearly to the extent of US allies like Turkey and Saudi Arabia. As a matter of fact, until 1990 Saddam was hailed by the United States as the most enlightened leader in the Middle East. Official US documents used to educate diplomats and military generals praised Saddam for how he had raised the educational and health care standards of his people, as well as their standard of living. Would the Iraqis be better off under someone else? Possibly, although they might very well be much worse off. If the Bush Administration is so concerned about the welfare of the Iraqi people, it could end the sanctions. It could rebuild the water supplies and electrical power systems his father's administration destroyed. With or without Saddam, those things would help a lot. But does anyone really think the Bush administration cares about the welfare of the Iraqi people? Of course not! If they were concerned about the plight of poor Arabs, they would be calling for regime change in Saudi Arabia.
(2) Saddam has ignored and violated resolutions of the United Nations Security Council relative to inspections and disarmament and must be removed to protect the credibility and integrity of the United Nations. This one is a doozy! The fact is that Saddam has complied pretty well with those resolutions. Sometimes he had to be dragged kicking and screaming by the inspectors, but the job got done. Is Saddam in technical violation of some of those resolutions? Probably. When all his missiles were destroyed, he kept plans and molds so that his arsenal could be rebuilt in the future. But does anyone really think that George W. Bush and his conservative supporters care one whit about the "credibility and integrity of the United Nations"?? You've got to be kidding. If we were the least bit interested in that, the US government would not have spent the last several decades protecting Israel from punishment for their flagrant and continuing violation of UN Resolution 242.
(3) Saddam has weapons of mass destruction (chemical and biological weapons) in violation of UN demands. These weapons pose a threat to Iraq's neighbors and to US interests in the region. We really don't know if Saddam still (or again) has such weapons. That's what the inspectors need to find out. But even if he does, his neighbors don't seem worried. Not one of them supports us going to war against Iraq. Saddam has been deterred from using these weapons beyond his borders. This deterrence has worked very well. Saddam may be a dictator, even a tyrant. So was Joe Stalin and Kruschev and Brezhnev. But they weren't suicidal, and neither is Saddam. Saddam didn't even use his chemical and biological weapons in the first Gulf War, and we know he had them then. He was deterred because "regime change" was not an objective of that war. There is only one circumstance in which Saddam would be likely to use such weapons, if he had them. That is if the US attacks him with the clear intention of taking him out. If our government is really concerned about the use of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East, then we won't start a war there.
(4) Saddam has ties to Al Qaida and therefore bears some responsibility for 9/11 and must be removed as part of the War on Terrorism. First, there has never been any evidence that Saddam has any ties to Al Qaida or any other terrorist network. Saddam, as the head of a secular state, has always been extremely unpopular with fanatical Muslim fundamentalists. Iraq is one of the few Arab states where fundamentalists have no influence, and Saddam keeps it that way. Much as they would like to find some, the Bush administration has found no evidence tying Saddam to 9/11. The most likely explanation for this is that there is no connection. Whatever else Saddam is guilty of, he is not responsible for 9/11. Even if he were, making war on his country would not be the way to handle it. In a similar way, of course, bombing Afghanistan into rubble was not the way to handle Osama bin Laden and his Al Qaida lieutenants. They should have been indicted and tried by the International Court of Justice for crimes against humanity. That's what the Court is for. In the case of Saddam, there's no cause for indictment (and even less cause for war).
(5) Saddam's ties to Al Qaida and his possession of chemical and biological agents which he could transfer to them pose a threat to the US homeland and to our people. As noted above, Saddam has no ties with Al Qaida. However, if he really does possess chemical and biological agents, the best way to end the deterrence which has kept them from being used on us until now is to threaten him with imminent warfare and either death or exile.
(6) Saddam has been trying to buy aluminum tubes useful in a uranium separation plant. Such a plant could produce the highly-enriched U-235 required for making an atomic bomb. If Saddam succeeded in building such a bomb, he could transfer it to Al Qaida who could use it in the US. If we wait for a smoking gun, it could be a mushroom cloud. If there is any argument that could panic the American people into supporting a pre-emptive war against Iraq, this is it. The thought of a major American city becoming another Hiroshima should strike fear into the hearts of any of us. It is a possibility I have been warning about for over a decade. The terrorist nuclear threat is a real one. If Al Qaida ever gets a bomb, it will smuggle it into the country and use it. Deterrence doesn't work against religious fanatics who have been subjected to lives of misery and desperation by American foreign policy. That's why I have for so long pleaded with Congress to find ways to detect nuclear materials in aircraft, ships, cargo containers, and rental trucks instead of squandering the defense budget on "Star Wars" weapons supposedly designed against a non-existent ballistic missile threat. That's also why I have called for new enlightened policies which will make friends for us around the globe instead of enemies. It's also one reason why in my failed 2000 presidential campaign I promised to remove all US troops from Saudi Arabia. (Their presence is the reason why 15 of the 19 hijackers on 9/11 were Saudis. It's stupid to invite hatred.) So yes, the terrorist nuclear threat is real. But Saddam Hussein is among the least likely sources for a terrorist bomb. First, because he's unlikely to ever have an atomic bomb (especially if we let the inspectors go back in), and secondly because if he had one he would be very unlikely to give it to Al Qaida. I'm sure he could think of better things to do with it. President Bush has been claiming that a 1998 Atomic Energy Commission report said that Saddam was six months from building a nuclear weapon. What the report actually said was, "The IAEA has found no indication of Iraq having achieved its program goal of producing nuclear weapons or of Iraq having retained a physical capability for the production of weapon-useable nuclear material or having clandestinely obtained such material." The UNSCOM weapons inspectors destroyed Saddam's facilities for manufacturing nuclear materials. If he in fact is trying to buy these aluminum tubes, that confirms that he as yet has not rebuilt those facilities and therefore has no refined U-235. If we get the inspectors back in, he probably never will.
(7) UN weapons inspectors won't do any good. They failed to disarm Saddam before, and would fail again. Iraq only agrees to inspections as a stalling tactic. Dick Cheney has been blatantly lying about this. He has claimed that the US got more information from defectors than from inspectors. He said that the ineffectiveness of UNSCOM inspectors was highlighted by evidence gathered at a "chicken farm" whose existence they learned about from Saddam's son-in-law, Hussein Kamal. That's really interesting, because what Kamal actually told US debriefers after his defection was, "I ordered destruction of all chemical weapons. All weapons - biological, chemical, missile, nuclear - were destroyed. There is not a single missile left. ...they [Iraq] had kept blueprints and molds for production, but all the missiles were destroyed." This was independently verified by UNSCOM analysis of documentation found at the very "chicken farm" Cheney referred to. Kamal said weapons inspectors were "very effective." But, of course, searching for weapons of mass destruction wasn't all the inspectors were doing in the 1990s. Former weapons inspector Scott Ritter spent 11 years in Iraq - four as a US marine in and after Desert Storm, and seven as a member of the inspection team. He says that the inspection team he worked for spied on Iraq in violation of its charter. He says that Richard Butler (then head of the team) gave the UN inaccurate and misleading reports in order to justify the December 1998 bombing of Iraq. Ritter says, "The vast majority of the more than 100 targets bombed by the US and Great Britain during Desert Fox had nothing to do with weapons production capability, but rather the leadership and security establishments of the government of Iraq, and the precision with which these targets were bombed was due in large part to the information gathered by weapons inspectors." No, the reason Bush doesn't want inspectors in Iraq is the same reason Clinton wanted them out in 1998: you can't bomb where there are UN inspectors.
So not a single one of Bush's excuses for going to war against Iraq is valid. The question remains, "Then why is he so set on this war?"
Some people point to the near-term political advantage it gives to Bush and to Republican Congressional candidates. It is, to these folks, mainly a "wag the dog" ploy to take people's minds off the struggling economy, the dreadful stock market, and all the corporate horrors coming out of the likes of Enron, Worldcom, Bush's old company Harken, and Cheney's Halliburton. It is true that such political considerations have affected the timing. Bush is demanding a Congressional vote on support for his war before the November elections. But there's more to it than that. Bush and his people have been planning this "regime change" war on Iraq since well before the 2000 elections. Why? Why Iraq?
The answer can be found in a September 2000 document authored by Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, and one or two other members of the "axis of greed." This document sets "regime change" in Iraq as a primary objective of US foreign policy should Bush be elected. It makes clear that the purpose of moving against Saddam is to set the stage for occupying the entire Middle East. The document says that "even should
Saddam pass from the scene, bases in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait will remain permanently." The same document, by the way, also calls for regime change in China and for US Space Forces to dominate space. The general consensus of those in the know is that the primary purpose of the war on Iraq is to set the stage for permanent military occupation of Saudi Arabia. US multinational oil companies are getting by without Iraqi oil, but are unwilling to do without Saudi oil. It is only the Saudi royal family (well compensated by the oil giants) that manipulates OPEC oil production to maintain a global market profitable for the oil companies (and, of course, for them). As years have gone by, the Saudi royal family has become more and more hated by ordinary Saudis and by Islamic fundamentalists in particular. Bush and his global robber baron oil buddies have become increasingly concerned that the house of Saud could fall, leaving all that oil in hostile hands. George I in 1990 used Saddam's invasion of Kuwait as an excuse to get a military foothold in Saudi Arabia. He lied to King Saud (and to the rest of the world) by showing doctored satellite photos which (he said) showed that Saddam had massed 250,000 troops and 1,500 tanks on the Saudi border. Russian satellite photos taken at the same time, however, showed that there were no troops or tanks - only empty desert. Now his son, George II, is using a phantom Iraqi nuclear threat to justify starting a war which will only end with the US occupying not only Iraq, but Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Iran as well! This is the master plan. Iraq is only a staging ground.
The pre-emptive war against Iraq is not only unconstitutional and in violation of international law, it is also as phony as a three-dollar bill. If Congress won't put a stop to this homicidal madness, the American people must.