The independent news organization of Duke University

Column: Reanalyze Iraq

I see it on walkways and I see it on bookbags. "No blood for oil." Are you kidding me? No blood for oil? Just who, exactly, is advocating such an exchange? I'm sorry, but the logic behind the antiwar movement on this campus escapes me.

Let me be clear. I am in no way saying that anyone who opposes war with Iraq is an idiot. There are many people, even at Duke, who have legitimate problems with attack. Some think that we need more international support, some think that attacking will give Saddam Hussein a "nothing to lose" mentality that could lead him to cause harm more severe than he would cause now and some think that the time just isn't right. I respectfully disagree with these people and do not question their patriotism.

My problem is instead with those who lay on the bus stop benches in body bags and make chants insinuating that the president and vice president are killing children daily. Or how about the letter to The Chronicle last month saying that I shouldn't ignore the lives of Iraqis just because they are cloaked in "dark skin?" As far as intentions go, everything is so black and white to these people. Because they believe that those who disagree with them are mean spirited, they refuse to analyze or consider their positions. And that's the biggest problem.

First and foremost, those in the "no blood for oil" movement seem to be under the impression that the United States views war as the first option in eliminating the threat it believes Iraq poses to the United States This is quite inaccurate. Though the United States has definitely threatened attack, it has shown itself to, in conjunction with the United Nations, to first favor inspection. So I would suggest that you hold off on that not-so-original chant, "Bush and Cheney what to do you say, how many kids did you kill today?", for at least a little while because right now the answer is zero.

And couldn't an argument be made that a regime change would be the best way to protect Iraq's children? This is a government that has made cuts in baby milk rations contracted by the United Nations and withheld medicine from children. It also runs military training courses for 10 to 15-year-olds that include 14-hour days. Families whose children don't attend are often denied food ration cards.

And the adult population isn't exactly treated very well either. Aside from raping women for political purposes, the Iraqi government, according to Amnesty International, also decapitates people in front of their family members and displays the victims' heads "in front of their homes for several days." Also, the Human Rights Alliance reported in 2001 that Hussein has "killed more than 500 journalists and other intellectuals in the past decade." For some reason, I have a hard time sympathizing with arguments taped to body bags that say things like "Iraq's military is only one-third the size of the United States's. How is this fair?" I know it's fun to think that your opposition is mean spirited, but in this case it's not very realistic. Nearly all of us who support the United States' policy do so for one simple reason. We don't want there to be another Sept 11. That's it. And before a productive debate about the United States's policy can take place, those who oppose it need to grasp this. The question is not whether or not we should hurt people. The question is what the best way to protect them is.

The current "no blood for oil" movement on our campus is just the latest demonstration of what's wrong with the knee-jerk liberalism that runs rampant on college campuses, both with students and administrators. According to its tenants, all one has to do to appear noble and intelligent is care. Consequences don't matter. Alternatives need not be offered. Rationality takes a backseat to emotion. And there is no room for disagreement or discussion on how to do what's right. According to this brand of liberalism, those who are not pacifists selfishly want to achieve their goals by hurting others.

I propose that we stop the shouting, stop the tired and inaccurate slogans and intellectually discuss the best way to deal with the one person who actually does hurt people--Saddam Hussein.


Share and discuss “Column: Reanalyze Iraq” on social media.