The news has been recently saturated with soundbites and transcriptions of President Bush’s inflammatory speeches regarding Iraq’s refusal to cooperate with United Nations weapons inspectors under the assumption that Iraq has have been manufacturing and stockpiling weapons of mass destruction (WOMD), and he has stated that he will seek Congress’ approval to take military action against Iraq, and, more specifically, to pursue a “regime change”.
I find it very likely that Iraq has continued the manufacture of WOMD, and was involved with the attacks last September 11. President Bush stated that Saddam “has sidestepped, crawfished, wheedled out of any agreement that he had made not to develop weapons of mass destruction.” The current regime has also violated multiple UN directives, including cooperation with the weapons inspections, and in doing so has increased the hardship of the lives of Iraqi citizens. The country’s military is spread thin, busy defending the North against indigenous Kurdish rebels and the border with Syria, the East against Iran-backed Shiite militants, and the South against Kuwait — leaving Baghdad defended by a mediocre force of 25,000 troops.
Externally, the Iraqi government is rallying for political support not only from Arab and Muslim countries, but from other countries. But internally, the government-controlled media states that the United States will be militarily defeated. Strongholds in both the North and South no-fly zones have electronically targeted coalition planes 34 times since the creation of the zones, resulting in multiple missile strikes and the destruction of radar facilities. Iraq claims that only civilians had been targeted and killed. Iraq is a dictatorship, a pox on world governments, a poison to its people, a threat to freedom.
On the other hand, North Korea faces a similar fate to Iraq. They hold the technologies of all three major types of WOMD: biological, chemical, and nuclear. Undersecretary of State John Bolton accuses them of being “the world’s foremost peddler of ballistic missile-related equipment, components, materials, and technical expertise” and they have “one of the most robust offensive bioweapons programs on Earth.” North Korea also has rejected proposed visits by international weapons inspectors until the United States complies with a 1994 agreement to build two new reactors incapable of producing weapons-grade material, a project dismally behind schedule. Like Iraq, North Korea puts its own leadership ahead of the populace, John Bolton stating that its “people can starve as long as the leadership is well fed.” I see little in Iraq that could be considered more of a threat than that which is in North Korea. Yet, we do not appear to be imminently at war with North Korea.
Saddam may not be stupid enough to blatantly strike first. Doing so would pre-ordain his death sentence and a massive Western military incursion demolishing Baghdad and much of Iraq, despite their apocryphal insistence of eventual military domination. However, if the United States strikes first, he may deploy internally developed WOMD in retaliation. Anywhere. Both are reason enough for each side to take pause before taking any action — which is the entire reason to have such weaponry. Time will tell whether or not irrefutable evidence surfaces that the Iraqi government was involved in the deadly attack on our homeland. If it is satisfactorily proven to me that the current regime supported the al-Qaeda terrorists in any way, then Iraq has already struck first, and I vote for an immediate invasion.
Cost be dåmnëd.
Author’s Note: The question of whether or not to attack Iraq is long since moot, and any sense of Iraq’s military domination was erased in about a week after the initial invasion. Saddam Hussein was pulled from a hole in the ground in Tikrit in December 2003, and executed three years later in Baghdad.