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Joe Mariani

The Meaning of Right - Why I Supported the Iraq War
Aug 10, 2003

One of the most common attacks aimed at President Bush is "he didn't tell us the reason for war in Iraq". Besides the fact that at least a dozen reasons were painstakingly enumerated time and time again, most notably in the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq voted into law by Congress, what kind of sheep just sit and wait to be told the reasons for something so important? When Iraq was mentioned as a possible threat soon after 9/11, I wanted to know for myself what was going on there that would bring it to America's attention, rather than wait to be told. "Is there a reason to remove Saddam now?" I asked myself, and did some research to answer my own question... something these Liberals infesting our educational system seem incapable of doing on their own initiative. (Actually, it seems those who were capable of self-motivation learned. The laziest, remaining determinedly ignorant, deride them as "neo-cons".) When President Bush told us we couldn't sit back and ignore Saddam Hussein any longer, it didn't take long at all to find out why.

The last time an American President attacked Iraq (without even asking the UN to adjudicate the matter first) was for having nuclear, biological and chemical weapons in 1998. Clinton said, "Their mission is to attack Iraq's nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs and its military capacity to threaten its neighbors... Saddam Hussein must not be allowed to threaten his neighbors or the world with nuclear arms, poison gas or biological weapons." It's interesting to note that while stating the same case as President Bush, Clinton did not back it up with facts... and this seemed to satisfy the Democrats and Liberals better. No one protested attacking Saddam in 1998. I guess it just "felt" right. The result of that attack was, as Clinton recently told Larry King, "We might have gotten it all; we might have gotten half of it; we might have gotten none of it. But we didn't know." According to the best information available in 1998, Saddam Hussein had stockpiles of WMD and production facilities to make more, and some of it might have been destroyed. He knew where we thought it had been, so he knew which of his concealment activities worked and which didn't. Then he was given five more years without inspectors to rebuild and hide, and prepare.

In previous articles (Whining of Mass Distraction and Double Standard: Blindly Blame Bush), I've already provided the information about Saddam's weapons of mass destruction declared by the United Nations in October 1997, though the CAVE people (Citizens Against Virtually Everything) continue to claim George W. Bush invented the idea that Saddam had WMD. Saddam's possession of weapons of mass destruction violated the 1991 cease-fire agreement Iraq signed with the United States. Under that agreement, Iraq had agreed to abide by UNSC resolution #687, which states:

8. Decides that Iraq shall unconditionally accept the destruction, removal, or rendering harmless, under international supervision, of:
(a) All chemical and biological weapons and all stocks of agents and all related subsystems and components and all research, development, support and manufacturing facilities;
(b) All ballistic missiles with a range greater than 150 kilometres and related major parts, and repair and production facilities;
Section 9 of the same resolution set a time limit of 90 days for the completion of all the disclosure and destruction. The cease-fire was an agreement signed between sovereign nations, over which the United Nations has no power not granted it by the signatories. It devolved upon the United States to enforce its violation (declared by President Clinton in 1998), just as a violation of the 1953 cease-fire agreement with North Korea will be up to the United States to enforce after a violation is declared. The moment that 90-day time limit ran out, the United States was obligated to enforce its terms. The fact that we did nothing about it but impose sanctions for over a decade "proved" to the Arab world how weak we were. The fact that we stationed troops in Saudi Arabia to protect them and enforce the sanctions angered Osama bin Laden enough to attack us. In a May 1998 interview, Osama stated, "The call to wage war against America was made because America has spear-headed the crusade against the Islamic nation, sending tens of thousands of its troops to the land of the two Holy Mosques" [Mecca and Medina]. Keeping all those troops in Saudi Arabia was causing us problems, but we could not simply remove them without causing even more.

Records of the humanitarian crimes committed by Saddam's regime were kept for decades by Amnesty International, whose 2002 Iraq report begins:

Scores of people, including possible prisoners of conscience and armed forces officers suspected of planning to overthrow the government, were executed. Scores of suspected anti-government opponents, including people suspected of having contacts with opposition groups in exile, were arrested. The fate and whereabouts of most of those arrested, including those detained in previous years, remained unknown. Several people were given lengthy prison terms after grossly unfair trials before special courts. Torture and ill-treatment of political prisoners and detainees were systematic.
The report goes on to list instances of assassination, disappearances, and torture. This report only covered the year 2001! "Torture," the report states, "is used systematically against political detainees in Iraqi prisons and detention centres. The scale and severity of torture in Iraq can only result from the acceptance of its use at the highest level." It was also easy to find a 1993 report from Human Rights Watch about Saddam's attempted genocide in Anfal using chemical weapons, which was the beginning of the UN's demands that he destroy his biochemical weapons and the means to make more. Saddam proved he was willing to use these terrible weapons, unlike any other nation since the Japanese attacked China in WWII with bubonic plague, typhoid, cholera and anthrax.

The Iraqi people lived under terrible oppression. Despite the obvious difficulty of speaking privately to Iraqi citizens, the International Crisis Group managed to put together a report called Voices From the Iraqi Street after interviewing Iraqis in Baghdad during September and October 2002. Some of their conclusions included:

- The Iraqi regime's repression has devastated civil society and any autonomous form of political organisation. The result is a largely depoliticised and apathetic population.
- A significant number of those Iraqis interviewed, with surprising candour, expressed their view that, if such a change required an American-led attack, they would support it.
- The notion of leaving the country's destiny in the hands of an omnipotent foreign party has more appeal than might be expected - and the desire for a long-term U.S. involvement is higher than anticipated.
I was fully satisfied that Saddam Hussein needed to be removed for humanitarian reasons if nothing else. His ties to terrorism and refusal to destroy his WMD stores and facilities made the matter more urgent in light of the terrible attacks against us on 9/11. I didn't wait to be told why Saddam had to come clean or be removed. Yet the Liberals were already asking "Why Iraq? What has Saddam done to us lately?" I once thought Liberals stood FOR human rights, but I began to realise they seemed more interested in standing AGAINST George W. Bush. I wish they could turn the hate and suspicion they harbor for our President against the enemies of this country, instead of supporting them and urging us not to confront them.

Surely the Liberals were able to research Saddam's ties to terrorism without waiting to be told every detail, right? If they had no access to the same sort of documents the government used for information, all they had to do was read the papers -- at least the more reputable ones. Before the coalition forces even entered Iraq, it was discovered that Saddam had been giving money to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers. Were Liberals incapable of understanding that funding attacks against Israel destabilises the entire Middle East? That if war with Israel broke out, we'd be obligated to help them by treaty -- and that the entire Arab world would then fight against us? Enemies of the United States greatly desired this. Liberals seemed content to do nothing, and wait for it to happen.

By the end of 2002, it was simple enough to find connections between Saddam and Al-Qaeda itself. For instance, on 4 December 2002 Abu `Abd Allah al-Shami, a known Al-Qaeda operative, was killed in northern Iraq while participating in an Ansar al-Islam attack on Kurdish forces. Before that happened, newspapers -- not secret government documents, but newspapers -- were already uncovering evidence and testimony that Saddam supported Ansar al-Islam, and that they had ties to Al-Qaeda. One such informant was Qassem Hussein Mohamed, a twenty-year veteran of Iraq's Mukhabarat intelligence service. "My information is that the Iraqi government was directly supporting [Al Qaeda] with weapons and explosives," he said. "[Ansar] was part of Al Qaeda, and given support with training and money." Liberals apparently decided to ignore all the reports and evidence simply on the basis that such things didn't fit their predetermined viewpoint.

In addition to these legal obligations to remove Saddam from power, regime change in Iraq became the aim of US foreign policy by law in 1998. Clinton signed Public Law 105-235, which declared Iraq "in material and unacceptable breach of its international obligations", followed by the Iraq Liberation Act, which stated in Section 3:

SEC. 3. POLICY OF THE UNITED STATES.
It should be the policy of the United States to seek to remove the regime headed by Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq and to promote the emergence of a democratic government to replace that regime.
On the basis of JUST the evidence and proof mentioned above (there was plenty more, but I restricted myself to using information that was available online before March 2003, ignoring information that has become available since), I was able to decide long before a single US soldier stepped over the Iraq border that Saddam needed to fulfill the terms of the agreements and resolutions he had signed, or be removed from power as US and international law allowed. I was (and still am) constantly amazed at Liberals' insistence that they needed to be told "the reason" for the war, or that they had come up with "the real reason". The truth is this: ANY reason anyone had for supporting the removal of Saddam from power was a good and valid one. No reason anyone voiced for opposing the liberation of Iraq after hearing all the evidence is valid except to people working against the best interests of this country. By opposing President Bush as he sought (and still seeks) to follow the law of the United States, the Liberals were obstructing justice, weren't they? Are justice and the right thing to do less important to Liberals than finding excuses to attack President Bush?

I don't think they know the meaning of "justice" and "right" anymore.

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