Defense Secretary William Cohen in a speech Wednesday, Dec 8, in Tampa, Fla., proudly declared that "we have over 200,000 sorties, all without the loss of a single aircraft." Mr. Cohen was speaking of course about the ceaseless American offensive on Iraq, which intensified in the last year following "Operation Desert Fox." Cohen refereed to the number of sorties as "another astonishing record."
Such an attitude following years of crippling sanctions and deadly attacks certainly makes one wonder if the American administration values the welfare of the Iraqi people at all. While Cohen succeeded in being very precise with his figures, he failed to provide the most important statistic: how many Iraqi lives the American and British assaults claimed? In addition he failed to quantify the number of houses and water pipelines destroyed or the amount of fear struck in the hearts of Iraqi civilians?
Though the U.S. government constantly preaches religious tolerance and sensitivity, its bombardment campaign in Iraq has continued despite the commencement of the Muslims' holiest month, Ramadan. On Sunday, Dec 12, reports from inside Iraq spoke of two new deaths and five injuries as a result of an American/British air attack on northern Iraq. What makes the recent deaths in this one-sided war even more heart wrenching, is the fact that they were all children, another statistic that apparently slipped the minds of American officials.
As the Iraqi sanctions are generating constant debate between United Nations' members, it is evident that "toppling Saddam" is becoming the hot topic in Clinton's administration as well as other presidential candidates' agendas.
Speculations are rising that Clinton hopes to replace Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, with a "democratically elected government." So far, $97 million has been assigned by the Congress to achieve such a mission. Yet, still unsatisfied, Bill Clinton has granted another $10 million to expedite the mission. While the money is aimed at funding the "Iraq Liberation Act," the additional amount is said to support efforts to bring about political transition in Iraq. Perhaps Clinton hopes to end his controversial term as President in what might be perceived as a political triumph, regardless of the consequences of such conduct on the welfare and future of the Iraqi people.
On the other hand, front-running GOP presidential candidate, George W. Bush, is himself jumping in on the act so he can re-generate gulf war enthusiasm, which was introduced by his father. George W. Bush doesn't seem to have gained enough experience yet on how careful he must be when he makes threats and military commitments, a trait cleverly mastered by most American presidents. Bush speaking last week at a Republican debate held in Manchester, NH, declared enthusiastically, "I will take 'em out," referring to Saddam Hussein. "If I found in any way, shape or form that he was developing weapons of mass destruction, I'd take 'em out. I am surprised he's still there," said Bush.
Official U.S. policy, however, prohibits the assassination of foreign leaders, a fact which Mr. Bush evidently remembered later on in the debate when he was asked to clarify whom he wanted to "take out." Bush replied "...Weapons of mass destruction."
The United Nations quarrel over suspending or renewing the Iraqi sanctions have made many believe that an end to Iraq's tragic fate is approaching. Yet the foreseen merger of the sanction topic to the heated presidential candidacy debates is yet another indication that an end to the anti-Iraq American policy, and therefore the sanctions, is nowhere near.
If the danger of weapons of mass destruction is calculated by its killing abilities, we find that the American-led U.N. sanctions have caused more deaths than Iraq's weapons could have ever caused. Despite this, American politicians continue to use Iraq to advance political ambitions and national hegemony. But doing so at the expense of people's lives is an immoral way of achieving fame and glory.