The independent news organization of Duke University

No attack against Iraq

Saddam Hussein is a ruthless dictator and a threat to the United States, Israel and his own people. He might have weapons of mass destruction and is willing to use them, and this is precisely why we should not invade Iraq and not provoke this maniac into unleashing his destructive capabilities.

Any invasion of Iraq would need to be a massive and crippling blow, quickly and efficently executed. Unlike Operation Desert Storm, where American troops streamrolled inexperienced Iraq soldiers in the desert, this operation would not be easy. The United States would be fighting against soldiers entrenched in defensive positions and also would be fighting an urban street war in Bagdahad. With this sort of war, there would inevitably be significant American causalities, certain deaths that could be avoided if we do not attack Iraq.

Of course, there is the chance that if the United States does not strike against Iraq that Saddam will strike first and murder Americans. However, this is just a remote possibility, whereas the deaths from an invasion are certain. Moreover, if the United States did invade, such an action would provoke Iraq, making an attack from Saddam or one of the terrorist cells allied with him inevitable, possibly resulting in more civilian deaths.

Currently there is not enough evidence against Saddam to justify an invasion. His ties to Sept. 11 are vague at best and there is no concrete evidence that Saddam currently possesses nuclear, biological or chemical weapons. If clear evidence came out that Saddam did have weapons of mass destruction and was preparing to use them or if clear ties between Saddam and the Sept. 11 attacks became known, then the United States would have the duty to invade Iraq, but presently there is not enough information or evidence to justify an attack.

Part of the fault for this lack of proof lies with President George W. Bush, who has failed to adequately articulate how he will destroy Saddam and has failed to lay out and explain the reasons behind the attack to the American people. Additionally, before any attack, the United States should gain the support of Congress and the international community, for which more solid and indisputable evidence of Saddam's guilt is required.

In the meantime, however, the United States should continue its effort to oppose and overthrow Saddam by supporting opposition forces and the current sanctions against Iraq. Although sanctions are admittedly injurious to the Iraqi people, there is no other option to reduce Saddam's access to money and materials used in building weapons of mass destruction. Therefore, the United States should redouble its effort in providing humanitarian aid and food assistance programs to ensure the health of the Iraqi people.

The United States should also continue to work toward getting weapons inspectors back into Iraq, a possible diplomatic solution that could help neutralize Saddam's threat. Additionally, the United States must be prepared to provide support to Iraq in the event Saddam is deposed. If that happens, the United States should support the country's new leader and ensure that steps are taken to make Iraq more democratic and place it on the road towards becoming a self-governing republic.


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