Go to other leaders for support in Iraq


“I think everyone would agree with me if I said the world would be a better place without Saddam Hussein.”–Sen. Tim Johnson at a barbecue in Brookings Aug. 23.

And it would.

Saddam Hussein, the president of Iraq, is an unstable leader of a poor country who is alternately jealous of what the West has and irritated by our smugness. He has cast out his own citizens, committed acts of genocide and invaded neighboring countries.

But is he still a threat?

In 1991, he certainly was. The United States led a number of nations into what became the Persian Gulf War (though war was never officially declared) and secured the area by containing Hussein. Strict restrictions were placed on Iraq and the country languished.

Now, President Bush insists that Iraq is not only aiding terrorists, but building weapons of mass destruction. This may be true. Iraq has not exactly been welcoming of United Nations weapons inspectors. Assuming the nation had the capabilities and the materials, Iraq could be building chemical weapons, biological weapons or nuclear weapons in underground laboratories or even on the backs of trucks.

The problem is that former UN weapons inspectors insist Iraq does not have the capabilities to construct such facilities or weapons. All the while, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld says he knows Iraq is constructing weapons of mass destruction and will soon be a threat to not only neighboring countries, but also to Europe and the United States.

The president is caught in the middle of this war of words. While it is clear that Hussein has Hitler-like aspirations, it is not immediately clear that he has the means to accomplish his goals.

At no time has anyone on Bush’s staff or the president himself made abundantly clear exactly what information they have about how Iraq has aided terrorists or built weapons of mass destruction. The president has no responsibility to provide this information to anyone, but it would be in the best interests of the nation for him to do so.

If Bush keeps this information to himself and continues with plans to invade Iraq, he runs the risk of alienating the international community, members of Congress, members of his own staff and the American public.

The public at large doesn’t need Bush to present the information he has to them. It simply needs to know that Bush has concrete proof that Iraq is a threat to the United States and other friendly nations.

The best way to accomplish this is to convince other world leaders, the UN and Democratic members of Congress that Iraq is a threat. If the president can accomplish this, the American public will trust him and support him in whatever he feels is necessary to remove Hussein from power.

The president has already made inroads in this department. Apparently whatever information he has was enough to convince Tony Blair, prime minister of the United Kingdom.

Now, it is time for the president to take his show on the road and muster support before he heads into another Persian Gulf War that angers the rest of the world.

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