Bush’s War vs. Bush’s War (Patrick Dameron)

Patrick Dameron

Recently, the United States, under the leadership of George Bush, has engaged in a conflict with Saddam Hussein and Iraq. If you think that you are experiencing a case of de-ja-vous, do not worry. It was a mere twelve years ago in which our current President’s father, George Bush “Senior”, sent American forces into Iraq to stop a dictator. It is the views of many that our current president is just finishing his father’s war. This may be correct, but the stated reasons for these two wars are different.

In order to understand the circumstances involving the Persian Gulf War, one must first understand the politics of the 1980’s. Ronald Reagan was the President, with George Bush as his Vice President. Iraq and Iran had engaged in border clashes for many years and had revived the dormant dispute in 1979. Iraq claimed the 200-kilometer channel up to the Iranian shore as its territory, while Iran insisted that the thalweg–a line running down the middle of the waterway–negotiated last in 1975, was the official border. The two sides clashed, and a war was instantiated. Hussein invaded Iran over this dispute. This battle lasted until 1988, when a cease fire was implemented. During the war, President Reagan’s administration secretly shipped arms and intelligence to both sides. The Vice President at the time, Bush “Sr.”, was deeply involved with this matter.

When he became elected President in 1988, Bush was eager to put the entire Iran-Iraq affair behind him. However, the presence of Saddam Hussein, who Bush secretly helped place in power under the guidance of President Reagan, was just too much to ignore. President Bush felt that it was necessary to send in American ground forces to stop Hussein. Bush viewed Saddam Hussein as a dictator comparable to Hitler and Mussolini. In his speeches, Bush “Sr.” refers to Hussein’s “blitzkrieg,” and speaks of how Hussein has deceived the world much like Hitler deceived Europe. These are blatant comparisons to the notorious dictator, and are an attempt to make the dictator appear more dangerous than in fact he was. Bush was comparing Hitler’s military successes of controlling almost the entire continent of Europe, to Hussein’s invasion of Iran, and after eight years of fighting between Iran and Iraq, no clear victor was found. There was nothing in Hussein’s past which would convey a “blitzkrieg,” in even the loosest sense of the word. However, Hussein did possess chemical and biological weapons, the President was sure of this, and that made Hussein a threat. President Bush’s speeches about Hussein did their job though, for the American people became fearful of the dictator. This gave Bush the fuel that he needed to initiate the Persian Gulf War in the spring of 1991. President Bush saw himself as the Winston Churchill of his time. He was attempting to follow in Churchill’s path of eradicating dictatorships. Churchill played a key role in stopping Hitler’s regime, and George Bush looked to him for inspiration. This is a major reason why the Americans entered the Persian Gulf War, because our leader felt like a cowboy.

After the Persian Gulf War ended, President Bush and the United Nations gave Saddam a few simple directives. One of these was that Iraq was to disarm and destroy its chemical and biological weapons. Another of these directives was to cease making new weapons of mass destruction. Iraq’s dictator followed neither of these orders. Instead, he created more weapons and built up a terrible record of human rights violations. This, however, slipped under the radar for many years. Iraq was simply not a priority. All of that changed however on September the eleventh. When that first plane flew into the tower, the world changed, as did our views of it. The policies of American Presidents changed from riding the wave of tech stocks to finding every last reminisce of al-Queda. Terrorism in all of its ugly forms became George Bush’s ultimate priority. When he hunted further, the President discovered that Saddam Hussein and Iraq were harboring terrorists, along with selling arms to terrorists. These actions, along with Saddam’s history of injustices and weapons, became unacceptable to the Bush administration. The President announced to the world on Monday, March 19, that Saddam had 48 hours to evacuate from Iraq. If not, then Bush announced that he will send in troops to Iraq to overthrow the dictator. The President claimed that Iraq was a threat to the American people, not only because Iraq harbored terrorists, but also because of the chemical and biological weapons that Iraq possessed.

The reasons that Bush gave for this deployment were to dissuade other nations from harboring terrorists and also to stop the Iraqi dictator from attacking our nation with his weapons of mass destruction. However, some imply from his actions and decisions that our current President Bush is simply trying to finish what his daddy started a decade earlier. There may be different stated reasons for the two engagements, but at the core, the motives for both are the same. Both of the President Bush’s are from Texas, and they are both cowboys at heart. They want to “rid the town of all them varmint.” These two Presidents are very ambitious politically, but have no ability to negotiate any foreign policy. They see themselves as the policemen of the world. Even though their stated motives were different, both of the Bush’s were out to accomplish the same feat, policing the world, and getting rid of Saddam Hussein.