correct in starting war, staying in Iraq
Fultz is a freshman history and political science
major from Indianapolis, Ind.
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
Bushs 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. Lets 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 didnt have or wasnt 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.