February 13, 2003

What if?

by Chris Feeney

What if we go to war this week? That's not a question we really want to ask or answer, yet it seems very likely we will have a reply. One cannot hide from the fact that our soldiers appear poised to remove Saddam Hussein and his regime, whether it be because his country might be trying to build weapons of mass destruction, or more likely simply because there is undeniable proof that the leader of Iraq has aided and abetted the same terrorists that attacked the United States on 9-11. Of course those two things ultimately go hand-in-hand, as we obviously don't want a nation that supports terrorist to have the capability to arm these murderers with chemical, biological or even nuclear weapons that could prove even more deadly than the high-jacked airliners that were crashed into our nation's heart.

Yet while I seem determined that this course is the correct road for our nation to travel, there seems to be at least a few that would favor more efforts at a peaceful resolution. We can argue this until we are blue in the face, but it boils down into your personal beliefs. I for one agree with the idea, that if you spare the rod, you spoil the child, and if there is anyone out there that truly deserves a flogged derrière it's Saddam. If there are no consequences for your actions, then we're simply going to continue to be a target. I understand that there are hopes that continued efforts by the surrounding Arab nations will lead to a relatively peaceful end to the problem via a revolt within Iraq to remove Saddam. This type of coup housecleaning would obviously save lives and is a worthy hope, but the people of Iraq have had more than ample time to dethrone the villain since 1991 and he's still king.

Granted, if we go to war against Iraq (I use the term we only to symbolize the idea that we are a nation, not that I am taking on any of the joint risk of actually fighting in the war like our brave soldiers will be asked to do) things may get worse before they get better. The orange terror level has been issued and warnings are going out to all citizens to keep extra food and fuel supplies. At least those of us that live in old houses are one step ahead of the game as we already have plastic and duct tape covering the windows to keep the cold out. Emergency management agencies are also teaching this as a tool to keep out possible chemical terrorist attacks.

It seems logical to assume that the recent increase in "chatter" among terrorist groups being heard by the intelligence community likely is a direct result of the war talk. However I truly believe that nothing we can do will ever change the minds of those that are set against this nation, and who are determined to strike out against the U.S. They are going to strike regardless of whether we attack Iraq or not. So it makes no sense to allow them to use Saddam and his country to raise money, provide equipment and to hide and protect the training camps and recruiting sites all the while trying to build bigger and deadlier weapons for them to use against us.

While I am resolved in my mindset toward Iraq, I'm not quite sure how to take the actions of our would-be allies in France, Germany and Belgium? Sure, they likely will throw in behind us once the ball gets rolling, but what possible good did it do to hold out and give the appearance of a divided NATO? I would think if I were a terrorist I would strike at a country that showed no resolve to fight. If they will not support a justified effort such as ours, even when it truly does not mean much to their homeland (they all have virtually weak militaries that wouldn't have been of much assistance) it tends to question one's motives. Does it have anything to do with the oil money that Iraq still owes France and Germany? Are they simply conscientious objectors? I just don't get how they can vote against a request by a fellow nation member (Turkey) asking for aid in defending itself in case of a possible invasion from Iraq. Still one would have to believe that these folks may regret their decisions. Politics is politics and if you don't scratch the back of the United States you better get used to that itch cause we sure aren't going to be taking care of it for you. It was sort of funny timing when the news broke that the U.S. had been planning for nearly a year to relocate its major military bases out of Germany. I suspect that will be a much bigger economic blow than any lost money from Iraq oil.

Who knows, maybe we are being to hard on them. Maybe all they want is a peaceful end to the situation. Then again, there are about 5,000 U.S. citizens that are now resting in peace, partly because of men like Saddam Hussein, which were allowed to go living in "peace" for too long.

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