How great a threat is Iraq?

Jamie DeLoma

As President Bush continues to beat the drums of war with Iraq, one must ask: is Iraq really everything that President Bush claims it to be?

President Bush first mentioned the idea of attacking Iraq just weeks following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks against the United States. Ever since that initial point, he has taken his call for war to the people in a greater and more aggressive manner. As he brought his message to America more and more strongly, America began to speak out against war more and more – the declining polls speak as evidence of such.

The President insists that Iraq is not only a threat to its region but a threat to the entire world. He claims that because Iraq invaded a neighboring Kuwait more than a decade ago, Iraq is not only willing but also capable of doing it again today. The reality, however, is very different from what Bush would like you to believe. Since the 1991 Gulf War, Iraqi forces have been greatly diminished and have become very weak.

Additionally, British and American fighter jets, along with spy planes, monitor the Iraqi landscape daily and would quickly spot and destroy any mobilizing Iraqi forces. Further, the United Nations has put many handicaps on the Iraqi nation, making it difficult to accumulate or produce any threatening amount of military equipment. Currently, UN weapons inspectors are on the ground scouring the nation for any outlawed materials or weapons. As of yet, very little has been found.

President Bush argues that the Iraqi President, Saddam Hussein, possesses weapons of mass destruction and is feverishly attempting to build even stronger and more powerful weapons. No such weapons have been found in the latest round of inspections.

Bush has been insisting for months that Iraq does hold weapons of mass destruction and must be disarmed immediately. Even as allies ask to examine the evidence, Bush refuses. If Bush refuses to present the metaphorical “smoking gun” on Iraq to the very nations that he would like to lead a military coalition of, how can anyone believe such evidence even exists?

If for whatever reason, Iraq manages to find a way to attack a neighboring nation with its meek military, the US and British would crush the invasion in even fewer days than in 1991 for two reasons: One, troops and equipment are already in the region to administer the many UN resolutions against Iraq. Two, the strength of the two immense militaries versus the one very weak military.

Even if Iraq somehow finds a way to begin producing weapons of mass destruction without any other nation realizing it, there are ways to destroy the weapons. Prior to the Gulf War, Iraq established a nuclear weapons program. The program made Israel feel insecure, and it responded to the potential threat. Several bombers flew over and attacked the facilities that housed the program, which was destroyed in a matter of minutes.

The same could be true today in an even easier and more effective manner. After all, American and British jets fly regularly across Iraq and could easily drop a few bombs and destroy any program in the works.

If President Bush holds the evidence to maintain that Iraq has a weapon of mass destruction program, the world deserves to know. As thousands upon thousands of young men and women converge in the Persian Gulf region, we must know why, and if they should be there. As college students, and with a reinstitution of the draft being discussed in Congress, any one of us could potentially find ourselves in a military situation. Wouldn’t you want to know why you are fighting?