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Volume 71, Issue 147, Thursday, June 29, 2006

Opinion

U.S. citizens should unite in support

Ashley Tse
Guest Columnist 

During a press conference June 21, Republican Sen. Rick Santorum said the U.S. had found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq -- specifically, chemical weapons. He also said that since 2003, coalition forces have recovered approximately 500 weapons that contain degraded mustard or sarin nerve agent. Santorum added that, despite many efforts to locate and destroy Iraq's pre-Gulf War chemical munitions, filled and unfilled munitions are believed to still exist.

If the government has known about these weapons all this time, why did it keep the information quiet for so long? As the press found out, the weapons were old, many of them unable to cause severe damage. White House officials didn't consider those older weapons a threat and therefore did not claim them as WMDs, which is why officials continually deny senators' claims.

So why would senators boldly declare that Bush was right about Iraq having WMDs when White House officials wouldn't? They were taking advantage of a good soundbite. Congressmen hope that, if word spreads about the discovery of WMDs, the perception that the president's rationale for the war will be validated. Hey, it might have even raise Bush's approval ratings, too.

After the whole story was revealed, Republicans shied away from their previous claim and Democrats used it as more fuel for the fire. And while America remains divided over the war in Iraq, everyone forgets that Saddam Hussein did, in fact, lie about the existence of WMDs. A chemical weapon is a chemical weapon, regardless of its age, and Hussein knew they were there, which means he lied. Who cares if they weren't the WMDs that Bush was seeking in 2003? The fact is that they are there, and they were unearthed.

America is not pulling out of the war any time soon, and no amount of presidential criticism is going to change that. If the United States suddenly pulled out of the war, we would look weak, and throngs of people would still condemn Bush. If the United States abandons Iraq now, there will be mass chaos and havoc in Iraq. 

Despite what people who oppose the war are shouting, there are people in Iraq who appreciate the efforts of our country. Too bad nobody hears their voices because they are muffled by extremists.

Throughout the war in Iraq, the country has been divided. But WMDs were present -- who cares how the story was spun?

Instead of turning every discovery related to Iraq into a justification or condemnation of the war, we need to unite and support our troops. It's possible to be unified while holding different views. 

We need to stop trying to create leverage for why one side is right by spinning tall tales and start focusing on the facts.

Tse, a guest columnist for The Daily Cougar, 
can be reached at dccampus@mail.uh.edu.

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