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Volume 68, Issue 53, Thursday, November 7, 2002


Saddam needs to face the music

Craig Byrnes
Opinion Columnist

Threats to veto any U.N. resolution approving war on Iraq dominate the current pool of public opinion on taking preemptive action against the regime of Saddam Hussein. Right or wrong, steps must be taken to ensure the security of American interests.

The idea of Saddam holding weapons of mass destruction and not using them has become something of a popular myth among some leftist lawmakers.

Though, after the public was inundated with rhetoric for and against a war ­ pacifists protesting on every corner and powerful democrats coming out in direct opposition to the president ­ the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate voted overwhelmingly in favor of giving the president the authority he requested to take military action against Iraq.

"Some concede that Saddam is evil, power hungry and a menace, but until he crosses the threshold of actually possessing nuclear weapons, we should rule out any preemptive action," said Vice President Dick Cheney in an August speech drumming up support for military action.

Those holding a point of view not far from isolationism, which caused multiple problems during World War II, in essence seek to stand by and let a ruthless dictator cause many people to live in indefinite fear regarding their personal safety when going to the grocery store or traveling abroad.

Contrary to popular belief, taking military action against Iraq would not be as tough as opponents make it out to be. In any war, the difficulty level is played up so as not to surprise the public if a statistical anomaly occurs during some aspect of the war, this including more casualties or collateral damage than expected.

The War on Terror involves stepping up to war against Saddam just as much as to Afghanistan. Keeping chemical, biological and nuclear weapons out of the hands of terrorists is one of the most important aspects of removing terror from the world.

Those who oppose the war criticize President Bush by saying he politicized the war with the mid-term election just around the corner, when in all actuality any politicization of this war is coming from opposing parties only concerned with achieving political supremacy. It is imperative for the American people to see through the political mess and realize the extreme threat of complacency.

Partisan politics dominate coverage of the topic and do nothing but confuse the people. Given to the public straight, the main American interest, oil, will undoubtedly come up in debate, along with the safety of the citizenry.

Oil is gold to the American economy. Those who oppose American oil interests and flat-out under-educated on the subject and only complicate their stance by refusing to open many areas in the United States to drilling, thus chipping away at the current foreign dependence held by the U.S. government.

The root of debate is loss of innocent American lives for a cause the opposition does not see as pertinent, but what they fail to realize is just under 200 American soldiers were lost in the early 1990s during the Gulf War.

Since that war the Iraqi military has significantly decreased in size and continuous allied air strikes, in response to enemy fire in the no-fly zones set up in Iraq by the 1991 U.N. sanctions, have decreased the amount of anti-aircraft weaponry.

The threat the Iraqi military poses to soldiers is not as great as in the previous war supported by a vast majority of American citizens and policymakers. Removing Saddam from power will greatly reduce the risk of terrorists obtaining easy-access nukes and significantly decrease concern over the imperative American interest, oil.

The world society evolves parallel with the knowledge and maturity levels of human beings. Therefore, it must be realized the U.S. is a world super-power and has every right to protect its people rather than concern themselves at a greater level for everyone else.

When diplomacy fails, call in the reserves.

Byrnes, a junior communication major, 
can be reached at


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