The Challenge of Iraq
I was recently in Iraq as part of a delegation of members of Congress who traveled there to observe the humanitarian conditions, press upon the Iraqis the need for weapons inspections and gain insight into the dangerous implications a unilateral, preemptive strike would have on U.S. national interest. These are subject areas generally ignored in our current discourse.
President George W. Bush has offered a litany of reasons for why Saddam Hussein is a "homicidal dictator." The president did not have to convince many on that point, as there is no question of the brutality of Saddam Hussein's regime. His past actions demonstrate the need for disarmament and a strict weapons inspections program with unfettered access to all sites, including the presidential compounds. We made that point with unrelenting consistency in every meeting in Iraq. And after our meetings with United Nations officials, I am more confident that weapons inspectors can disarm Saddam Hussein. One need only look at the Gulf War example, where far more chemical and biological weapons were destroyed by inspections than war. In a seven-year period, we had hundreds of inspectors conducting thousands of inspections and destroying tons of weapons.
The only reason not to seek a diplomatic solution to this crisis is if one can make the case that Saddam Hussein posses an imminent threat. With all of the white papers, dossiers, speeches and hearings, that case has not been made.
We are indeed facing an imminent threat. The imminent threat to the safety of the American people, our diplomatic core serving overseas and our brave men and women in the military comes from the scourge of terrorism. President Bush assembled a formidable coalition of world nations in our fight against al-Qaeda. A unilateral attack against Iraq will destroy that coalition and harm our foreign, military and intelligence objectives. It will harm our national security by altering the world stage for our war on terror and its broader global implications will be far reaching.
In thirty years of service to my country - four years in the Air Force and twenty-six in the House of Representatives - this is the most fragile, dangerous state I have ever seen the world in. I liken it to a tinderbox where any one incident can set off a grave sequence of events.
How will the nuclear powers of India and Pakistan interpret our unilateral action as they continue their battle over Kashmir? What if China and Taiwan heed our new preemptive strike doctrine? How long can we continue to overlook the unrelenting violence of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict while we launch a war presumably to enforce UN resolutions?
Upon my return, I began to think about the severe divide between Americans and Arabs on this issue. For an Iraqi audience, I stressed disarmament and compliance with inspections. For Americans, we need to understand the nature of Iraqi suffering.
President Bush said, "America is a friend to the people of Iraq." After visiting hospitals, teaching a high school class and simply walking around the streets of Baghdad talking to ordinary citizens, I learned they do not have that same impression.
Whether the blame lies at Saddam Hussein's footsteps or not, the devastation of the most comprehensive sanctions regime imposed in modern history makes it clear why we are not viewed as a friend. Ordinary people talked about how sanctions have destroyed their lives. A humanitarian panel commissioned by the United Nations Security Council in 1999 concurred stating "the gravity of the humanitarian situation is indisputable and cannot be overstated . . . Iraq has experienced a shift from relative affluence to massive poverty."
It follows a deadly cycle. Food rations are leading to a lack of protein resulting in low birth weights - 4% before the war, now at 25%. Whether it is diarrhea, dehydration, respiratory problems, or malnutrition - the result is the death of 50,000 children prematurely a year, half-a-million over ten years. For those lucky enough to survive, we have an entire generation of Iraqi children whose growth is stunted.
On a tour of a hospital in the southern town of Basra, a doctor told us that before the war, the first question asked in their hospital when a new baby is born is "is it a boy or girl?" After the war and the use of depleted uranium shells, the question became "is it normal or not?" People fear getting pregnant because of the rates of birth defects and the rate of some cancers has increased by 120%.
The challenge of Iraq is not just disarming a dictator. It is not just averting an unnecessary war. It is understanding the nature of suffering inflicted upon innocent Iraqis in the aftermath of the Gulf War and the potential for further harm with a new military engagement. It is understanding how the Arab and Muslim world view the United States in relation to that suffering.
That challenge is now President Bush's alone since Congress has given him the option of war - a war that will ultimately show our power, but not our strength.
U.S. Congressman David Bonior, D-Michigan
Topics: Conflicts And War, George W. Bush, Iraq, Saddam Hussein
So much for that "love thy enemy jazz" !
I am a Senior Airman in the United States Air Force and I am also a Christian. Its is not my duty as an Airman or a Christian to question the President's deceision nor do I feel it is yours. I do beleive in freedom of speech which entitles you to your opinion but I think standing behind our president should be our most important goal as Americans. I am insulted that you politicians declare that the president is a loose cannon ready to attack Saddam. I beleive what is to happen in the United States and oversees will be determined by GOD not you or any president. If politicians do not realize this then keep preaching about what America should be doing and in the mean time remember me after revelations. Hope to see you in heaven.
I address my comments initally to nofobanana and yahyah and to anyone else interested in the truth about the effect the sanctions have had on the Iraqi people. visit the following site http://www.globalpolicy.org/security/sanction/iraq1/2002/paper.htm#4 sposored by Anglican Observer Office at the UN
Arab Commission for Human Rights
Center for Development of International Law
Center for Economic and Social Rights
Fellowship of Reconciliation Global Policy Forum
New Internationalism Project, Institute for Policy Studies
Mennonite Central Committee
Middle East and Europe Office of Global Ministries of the United
Church of Christ and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Quaker UN Office-New York United Church of Christ UN Office
World Economy, Ecology and Development Association (WEED)
in association with
Save the Children UK
This is a UN site that did a study of the effects of sanctions as the Prophet said "seek knowledge even if you must go to China" It is obvious that you brothers have not followed this advice. Now if we Muslims were Muslims in anything but name we would have settled this and many of the other problems plaguing the Ummah. The war we lost in six days in 1967 would have been won and 2/3s of the worlds refugee population would not be Muslim, nor would we have Muslims killing other Muslims or trying to create Islamic states through force and terror. Until we aguire true faith until La Illaha IllAllah becomes something we believe and not just something we say we will continue to be the worlds stepchildren.Finally Sadaam only claims Islam when in trouble for the most part he a secular socialist who visits the Mosque only for photo opps but he took the shaddah and rather we like it or not he deserves rights afforded to all Muslims and he deserves to be corrected and chastised by Muslims. When are we going to wake up
As Salaamu Alaikum
American people need to rally and lobby its leaders to concentrate our efforts to end the dehumanization of Iraqi people.
Our government needs to send medical supplies, food and clothing to the people of Iraq.
It appears Uncle Sam has already made up his mind to go to war regardless of what others say. He is pretty sure of victory since today nobody can match his military and scientific strenghts. His real motive(s) for the war? May be Saddam, oil, Islam, Israel...or perhaps "peace".
Whatever may be his real motive, its pros and cons must have been discussed by now and I believe he must have heard it (assuming he has the ears that hear). So, Uncle Sam you may go out for war and use your FULL strength just like Pharaoh did when chasing the Israelites and...no, I may be using a wrong example. I'm sorry.
"They plan and Allah plans.And Allah is the best planner"
David Bonior regarding the people of Iraq. It
would be useful to put it in Islamic perspective.
Pen is mightier than sword. A war with Iraq and/
or unseating Saddam Hussein is not the best answer
I am suggesting that a small group of concerned
brothers should visit Saddam Hussein with the purpose of giving him sincere advice- regarding
Akhira, Allah's Commandments and his personal gain
in the Hereafter. Allah SWT has forbidden Zulm
(injustice) upon Himself and therefore will punish
severely anyone who practices Zulm (tyranny).
A tyrant ruler will be brought bound in chains on Judgment Day while waiting for Allah's Judgment.
Prophet Mohammed SAS said -a person may come with
lots of good deeds, but having done Zulm(injustice
to a number of persons. So his good deeds are given to those whom he wronged. Finally, when all
his good deeds are exhausted, their evils are
put in his account as compensation for Zu;m he did
Prophet Mohammed SAS said: Give your support to
the oppressed as well as to the oppressor. His (S)
Companions replied: How we should support the
oppressor? He SAS replied to make him stop Zulm.
Saddam Hussein is our muslim brother and we shd
help him by means of sincere advice. i.e. Amr
bil Ma'aroof and Nahee A'nil Munkar.
Secondly, Iraqi people themselves should obey
Allah SWT and His Rasul SAS. Then Allah SWT will
give them a good & just ruler. It is an art to
turn enemies into friends-and this can only be
done by few who practice patience & perseverence,
and are sincere in their endeavour.
War only creates enemies whereas this approach
will, InshaAllah, give excellent results.
Saddam will spend few years of his life in peace
with Allah SWT and so will his people.
Greed about oil is compelling foreigners to commit Zulm. Iraqi oil belongs to Iraqi people.
the foramlity was good and level of critism was just right.
Brother Sajjad, did you read the article? The article stated facts. Just because the FACTS show that the U.S. is doing bad things doesn't mean that everyone hates America. The author didn't even mention that the US supplied Saddam with chemical and biological weapons, as well as other weapons. To say that the U.S. has nothing to do with Saddam, or the state of the Iraqi people is absolute garbage. No one in the whole world thinks Saddam is good. But does that mean that it's good for the US to attack Iraq to "remove Saddam?"
When we Muslims start looking to the kuffar for the solutions to our problems, then we are REALLY in trouble, and misguided.
The official newspaper even played a cruel April Fool's Day joke on hungry people by falsely promising that rations would be increased. And you think America is at fault?
Rather than being concerned about pandering to liberal interests and ignorant American voters, tell the truth next time or do your homework, whichever applies.
iN THE ARTICLE YOU SAID SHOW YOUR POWER BUT NOT YOUR STRENGTH. i THINK YOU SHOULD SHOW BOTH BECAUSE YOUR POWER MIGHT DIE DOWN.BUT YOU WILL ALWAYS HAVE YOUR STRENGH TO KEEP YOU IN THE FIGHT. TRY TO BE FREINDS WITH YOUR ENEMYS YOU KNOW THE SAYING:
KEEP YOUR FRIENDS CLOSE BUT YOUR ENEMIES CLOSER.