TCU Daily Skiff Friday, March 26, 2004
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U.S. correct in starting war, staying in Iraq

Tyler Fultz is a freshman history and political science major from Indianapolis, Ind.

One year ago, President Bush addressed the nation and the world saying that Saddam Hussein and his sons had 48 hours to leave Iraq. This anniversary gives all of us the chance to reflect on the United States and Iraq as we enter an important election season.

Many challenges have been brought against the United States and its role in toppling Saddam. Perhaps the foremost of these charges is that President Bush falsified evidence that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. None have yet been found and it is rather unlikely that they will be, but to blame the president for this would be unreasonable. The warnings that Saddam was actively pursuing WMD predated Bush’s administration and therefore could hardly be attributed to political pressure from him, any more than similar assessments by German, French, British, Russian and Chinese intelligence sources could be attributed to their political masters. Let’s not forget our history in this area. We have underestimated the nuclear capabilities of Russia, China, India, North Korea and Pakistan, and all of these countries ended up with the bomb. How could we afford to underestimate Iraq? The simple fact remains that if Saddam didn’t have or wasn’t pursuing WMD then why did he risk his regime, his family and his life by acting like he did? The only conclusion to draw was that Saddam was looking for such weapons, and it was yet another reason to remove him from power.

Another challenge to the conflict was that the United States acted without international support. This is untrue. There are currently 27 nations with troops in Iraq including Britain, Spain, Poland and Japan. Many of the other nations are those in Eastern Europe who know what it is like to be oppressed and value freedom. Others are those like Australia who were victims of horrible terror attacks themselves. This coalition was well within its rights to defend freedom anywhere on the globe, despite the U.N. protests of France and Russia (who were busy selling the Iraqis night vision goggles).

Regardless of the reasons, Iraq is today a free nation. The people of Iraq will be better off without Saddam and working toward a democratic nation. The interim governing council recently signed a temporary constitution that embraces democracy and contains a bill of rights. Democratic ideas are also flourishing with rural tribal leaders, and women can now speak their voices without fear of torture or rape. American servicemen and women are building schools and hospitals and repairing infrastructure. In response to these realizations, groups here in the United States have shifted from stopping the war to withdrawing as soon as possible. This would be a monumental mistake. To withdraw now would be to condemn Iraq to lawlessness and possible civil war; even assembling an Iraqi government too quickly could be a grave mistake. We cannot allow Iraq to resemble Germany after World War I; very stable on paper but ripe for takeover by a man like Hitler.

It is clear that we were justified in our invasion of Iraq and that we must stay the course, in the shade of those Mesopotamian palm trees. We cannot back down now, for to do so would be to admit that oppression and despotism can triumph over freedom and democracy.
 
 
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