Weapons not needed to justify war

Published 12:31 pm Thursday, April 10, 2003

By By ROBERT BLANKENSHIP - Managing Editor
In the months leading up to the current military action taking place within Iraq, much was made of that government's production and stockpiling of weapons of mass destruction. Those were the words on the tips of everybody's tongue. Months of debate on whether Saddam Hussein's regime had weapons of mass destruction preceded what was ultimately an invasion by the "Coalition of the Willing." The American and British governments were unable to convince some nations that the threat was too real to avoid. Now that the coalition has attacked, much of the world, including many here at home, seem very curious to see if these weapons of mass destruction turn up. Many of these people seem to feel that if these weapons do not show up, then the coalition cause was unjust. This type of reasoning simply isn't realistic.
I do not know if those representing our government in the months leading up to the war - George Bush, Colin Powell, Donald Rumsfield and others - knew for sure that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction. Perhaps it was a ploy to increase world-wide support for an attack they knew was coming anyway. The truth is our leaders recognized our responsibility to overthrow Saddam - with or without his weapons. Finding these weapons - if they do exist - is extremely important. But, having to display them to the world to justify our cause is ludicrous.
There were plenty of reasons for the U.S. - and all the free countries of the world - to unite against Saddam Hussein. He calls himself a president, elected by the majority of his people. That is true as he won the last election by 99 percent of the vote. Of course, there was no true opposition in that election.
Saddam is not a leader of the Iraqi people; he exploits them and uses the nation's wealth to support his own conquests and desires. He murders those who speak out against him or threaten him in any way.
The world community knows for a fact that Saddam's goal is the expansion of his territory and wealth. During his 25-plus years as leader in Iraq, he has ordered his military to attack four other countries - including Kuwait which ignited Desert Storm 12 years ago.
It is also well-documented how Saddam deals with those who threaten him. He and his partners in murder have killed thousands of Iraqis and Kurds in chemical attacks and executions. Saddam even ordered the murder of his own son-in-law who questioned him. Even now, with allied troops marching into Iraqi cities, we can see the affect from this type of government. People seem confused and scared, not knowing whether to welcome or jeer the liberating troops.
A strong reason for this war is Saddam's hatred for America and the West. That hatred, combined with his open policies toward terrorism, make him extremely dangerous. How can we allow a man to remain in power who pays $25,000 to the families of suicide bombers against Israel?
Many who did not want this war - Jacques Chirac, Vladimir Putin, and many of our own citizens - have said that Saddam is evil. Some do not understand this reasoning. If the world is in agreement that Saddam is evil, then overthrowing him is a responsibility that we must accept.
While possession of weapons of mass destruction is a powerful reasoning for war, it is not the only reason. President Bush was cheered after Sept. 11 for his declaration of war against terrorism. We cannot win that war without a victory in the battle against Saddam. While finding his weapons of mass destruction will be important for the protection of the world, it is not important in justifying the coalition's actions.