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Iraq and War - A Comparison of Views
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Nations and groups of nations, including the United Nations and NATO, agreed that Iraq must not be allowed to have weapons of mass destruction. However, the U.S. and Britain disagreed with the United Nations about what steps should be taken to ensure that Iraq has no such weapons.

President Bush declared in the summer of 2002 that the U.S. was going to disarm Iraq through warfare. Most nations of the world, the United Nations, most of the American people, and the U.S. Congress disagreed with President Bush at that time that a U.S. invasion into Iraq should be the first step in solving the problem. In fact, most agreed that war should be the last step rather than the first step. They insisted that U.N. inspections, which had succeeded in getting rid of most of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction in the early 1990's, should be attempted before starting a war. If inspections fail, then warfare would be an option. Not all of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction were found during the inspections of the 1990's and many believed that Iraq was still hiding some.

The U.S. Congress pressured President Bush into trying diplomacy (U.N. inspections) before starting a war. Besides, according to the
U.S. Constitution (Article 1, Section 8, Paragraph 11), only Congress has the authority to declare war, not the president.

After months of looking, U.N. inspectors did not find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. President Bush then ordered the U.S. military to attack Iraq because Iraq had failed to prove that it did not have weapons of mass destruction. Britain was the only other major world power joining in the attack. Other nations opposed the attack on the grounds that the U.N. inspectors had not had time to complete their work under the agreement established by the United Nations. After several weeks, the leadership of Iraq was removed by the U.S., with help from Britain. Iraq did not use weapons of mass destruction against the invading troops from the U.S. and Britain. No weapons of mass destruction have been found in Iraq (as of October 27th of 2003). The reason President Bush gave for the attack of Iraq, that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and was close to using them against the U.S., has not been supported by what has happened so far.

Comparison of Views
Reasons for and against the U.S. going to war without approval of the United Nations are listed below. President Bush went to war without United Nations approval. (The United Nations is the international body responsible for enforcing international law.)

Reasons FOR War
(Without U.N. Approval)
Reasons AGAINST War
(Without U.N. Approval)
Waiting for Inspections War - Yes:
It was not up to U.N. inspectors to find the weapons; it was up to Iraq to lead the inspectors to the weapons. We had to go to war without U.N. support because Iraq did not intend to disarm. Waiting for the U.N. inspectors to finish looking would have been a waste of time. It would also have allowed Iraq to build more weapons of mass destruction (WMD).
War - No:
Inspectors did not find evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. War could have been an option later. We had more options than just "war" or "no war."

For example, we could have started using
coercive inspections and other methods of investigation. We could have put more effort into strengthening Iraqi forces that opposed Saddam Hussein. We could have enforced private interviews with Iraqi WMD scientists. We still had more steps before resorting to warfare. We did not need to skip steps and rush into warfare.
Finding Weapons War - Yes:
We had to attack Iraq because it was the only way to find weapons of mass destruction.
War - No:
Saddam escaped so we may never find the weapons--if he even still had them. We attacked, we looked, and we did not find weapons of mass destruction.
World Opinion War - Yes:
World opinion does not matter. A U.S. president should be concerned about U.S. security rather than the popularity of his actions. (Bush)
War - No:
Starting a war before it is necessary, with a pre-emptive strike, contrary to international law, and without strong international support, will damage the security of U.S. citizens. The U.S. has lost credibility in the world and has been financially crippled in rebuilding Iraq because of its haste to war.
Oil War - Yes:
By going into Iraq without waiting for the U.N., the U.S. was able to
take control of Iraq and thereby control the second largest source of oil in the world. The U.S. can sell Iraq's oil to help pay for the war and occupation of Iraq. Iraq's oil will be "spoils of war "
War - No:
We are not thieves. Do we want a leader who attacks other countries in order to control their oil reserves? In May, the U.S. demanded and gained from the United Nations control of the profits from the sale of Iraqi oil. (The United Nations held control of oil profits on behalf of the people of Iraq before the U.S. made this demand.) How does taking control of oil profits help make the world safe from weapons of mass destruction? How does it help liberate Iraq? How is this different from theft by an occupying power?
Terrorism in the U.S. War - Yes:
Attacking Iraq will help stop terrorists from attacking the U.S.
War - No:
Attacking Iraq will cause more terrorists to be created. President Bush recently admitted that
no credible connection has been found between the September 11 attack on the U.S. and Saddam Hussein.
Global Terrorism War - Yes:
If we had waited for U.N. approval, Iraq would have worked with terrorists to attack the U.S. (President Bush)
War - No:
Iraq would not have worked with terrorists unless we attacked. Saddam wanted to keep his weapons. (CIA Director Tenet).
Stopping Al Qaeda War - Yes:
We attacked Iraq because it will help control Al Qaeda. It will keep Al Qaeda from gaining Iraq's weapons of mass destruction (WMD).
War - No:
We know that Al Qaeda is a much greater risk to U.S. security than Iraq was. Attacking Iraq has not helped in our war with Al Qaeda. The link between Iraq and Al Qaeda has not been credibly made. War with Iraq was not necessary yet and war diverted our resources from stopping Al Qaeda. President Bush has had his priorities confused.
Pre-Emptive Attack - Wise and Courageous War - Yes:
Attacking Iraq before it became a real and present danger to the U.S. showed wisdom and courage.
War - No:
No, it didn't. The alternative to war was changing Iraq through wise and courageous international cooperation. The Bush administration misled the American people on the level of threat from Iraq.
Democracy for the Middle East War - Yes:
War will result in a democratic government in Iraq as a model for the Middle East. This effort is part of building a new world order, a world dominated by
American military and American values.
War - No:
War left a power vacuum and the Shiite Muslim majority quickly took some of the control of southern Iraq after the war. Iraq is likely to vote for a theocracy, modeled after Iran, rather than create a democracy like the United States. One alternative to a theocracy is for U.S. administrators to select leaders to rule Iraq and for Iraq to serve as a model for colonialism, not democracy. Another alternative is for the U.S. to share its power with other nations in rebuilding Iraq so that Iraqi's view the period of rebuilding as a transition to democracy rather than as a U.S. military occupation over civilians.
Liberation War - Yes:
War will "liberate" the people of Iraq and the U.S. will rebuild the economy of Iraq. (Bush)
War - No:
War has liberated Iraq from Saddam, but in the south of Iraq he has been replaced with Shiite leaders who are against the presence of U.S. military. Iraqi's
are divided in how they view the U.S. role as "liberator" after the fall of Saddam and after months of U.S. military occupation.
Only Option War - Yes:
War was the only option. If we did not attack, it would have been like letting Hitler get away with his aggression before WWII.
War - No:
Iraq was
not a major military power. Iraq was not attacking other countries. Iraq was a very poor and weak nation. This time, we definitely had time to try other steps.
Removing Saddam War - Yes:
We had to attack Iraq because our only two choices were war or "let Saddam fool us."
War - No:
We worked with the people of Kosovo and nations in that region to
remove Milosevic from power. We had similar options to try with Saddam Hussein.
Support the President War - Yes:
We elect presidents to lead and to formulate foreign policy for us. Presidents can also recommend that Congress declare war on another nation. Once Congress decides on war, patriotic Americans must support the effort, even if they have personal reservations.
War - No:
One of the main reasons for forming a nation is for self-defense. If we are being attacked, we should not be arguing about how to respond--leaders should make decisions. However, if we are attacking another nation that does not serve as an immediate threat to us, Congress has not declared war, and we propose to violate international law regarding justifiable war, we are setting a very dangerous example for other nations. (Under international law, the United Nations Security Council decides when warfare is justifiable.)
Violations of U.N. Resolutions War - Yes:
War was the only option because Iraq repeatedly violated U.N. demands to disarm. If we did not attack, the U.N. would have had no credibility.
War - No:
North Korea and Israel both have weapons of mass destruction. The U.N. has passed many resolutions demanding that North Korea and Israel destroy their WMD. North Korea and Israel have defied the U.N.'s demands to disarm. If violation of U.N. resolutions were really the reason for the U.S. to attack Iraq now, then the U.S. would also have threatened to invade North Korea and Israel to force them to disarm. Instead, the U.S. has not threatened to invade either country. Protecting the reputation of the U.N. was not a real reason for the U.S. to rush into Iraq.
Pre-emptive Attack - Safer War - Yes:
We must not wait until we actually find weapons to attack--it is safer to attack first. Saddam could not have been deterred; he even used weapons of mass destruction (WMD) on his own people.
War - No:
By attacking without evidence of weapons or U.N. support, we defied international law and made the world more dangerous. Besides,
Saddam had been deterred from using weapons of mass destruction against the U.S., even without a second war. Further, the Bush administration misled the American people about the level of danger and the need for a pre-emptive strike.
Pre-Emptive Attack - Morally Right War - Yes:
Saddam is bad; it is our moral duty to attack him, even without finding weapons of mass destruction. It is immoral to leave a brutal tyrant in power. (Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld)
War - No:
Pre-emptive attacks are
morally wrong.
Iraq Must Prove It Has No Weapons War - Yes:
We had a right to attack because Iraq failed to prove it had no weapons. We did not need U.N. approval
War - No:
Our system of justice takes a very basic stand: It is "guilt" that must be proven, not "innocence." By taking the position that Iraq had to prove it did not have weapons, we violated our own values. The Bush administration set a very poor example for other nations to follow.
This is about the U.N. War - Yes:
Because the U.N. did not support a war against Iraq, it proves that the U.N. is ineffective and irrelevant to world peace.
War - No:
The U.N. did not support a war with Iraq because most nations, hearing the U.S. arguments, did not find the arguments credible. After winning the war, the U.S. has insisted on controlling Iraqi oil and political processes. It therefore appears to many in the world that the war was about the U.S. gaining control over Iraq's oil and political processes rather than about liberating the people of Iraq.

The Bush administration gave two primary arguments for attacking Iraq without U.N. support. The first argument was that waiting for U.N. support would make Iraq more dangerous for the U.S. and the world. The second argument was that waiting for U.N. approval would allow Saddam to continue to abuse the people of Iraq.

Anti-war advocates gave two primary arguments for working through the U.N. instead of acting alone. The first reason was that a war without broad support of other nations will make the world--including the U.S.--less secure. The second argument was that morally, the U.S. should not attack another country without proof of an imminent threat.

We have learned the consequences of President Bush's decisions:

The people of Iraq are rid of Saddam and the people of Iraq, and most people of the world, find that to be a very good outcome. However, other outcomes have not been so good:

The people of Iraq are under U.S. and British control and occupation.

The international community has been unenthusiastic in helping rebuild or secure Iraq under U.S. rules. This leaves the people of Iraq with growing hostility against the U.S. and U.S. citizens with gigantic bills of $4 billion per month, with no end in sight, just to secure Iraq. Because the U.S. invaded before gaining U.N. approval, acting illegally under international law, the U.S. and Britain are left with the majority of the bill for rebuilding Iraq for the forseeable future.

The U.S. has taken control Iraq's oil (both directly or through appointing leaders of Iraq).

No weapons of mass destruction have been found in Iraq or are likely to be found. They either did not exist or are so well hidden as to be unlikely to ever be found. For example, the amount of anthrax believed to have been saved by Iraq could fit in a typical suitcase. We found that no active nuclear weapons program was in place because the critical ingredients were found to have still been buried since the first Gulf War. The central reason given for the haste of the invasion, imminent threat against the U.S., was therefore unfounded.

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