In the present rubric of our “war on terrorism,” very little to no justification is needed to commit acts that used to require a minimum amount of reasoning.

For instance, as the war drums beat louder and more urgently to invade Iraq, very little evidence has been put forth to warrant the sense of inevitability that pervades the current debate.

While plans to attack Iraq have been in place since the end of the Gulf War, it wasn’t until September 11 that it became feasible to present it as a legitimate idea to the American public.

Yet in that time, the U.S. government has dropped all claims of any links between Al-Qaeda and Iraq.

Bush has focused attention on the threat of Hussein using weapons of mass destruction as the justification for what is sure to be a bloody and brutal war.

Bush wrote a letter that was published in the New York Times op-ed section on September 11, 2002, in which he claimed that, “Common interests and values among the great powers are also the basis for promoting peace and security around the globe,” and, “Today, from the Middle East to South Asia, we are gathering broad international coalitions to increase the pressure for peace.”

Even George Orwell would be amazed at what it takes for someone to say war is peace and still be taken seriously.

And while Bush often has trouble speaking, he is an expert at doublespeak, leaving no doubt that it will remain a part of standard political discourse for some time.

There are a number of problems with Bush’s plan. First of all, logistically, whatever weapons Hussein has wouldn’t be able to reach us from Iraq. It’s not an issue of defense when we’re not even being threatened.

Furthermore, the countries that are within Hussein’s reach are cautious at best about going to war with him.

This doesn’t make sense considering they’re more vulnerable to attacks. The one exception to this is Israel, our strongest supporter for war.

Moshe Ya’alon, chief of staff of the Israeli Defense Forces, reported that “In the long term, the threat of Iraq or Hezbollah doesn’t make me lose sleep.”

Where was this concern when we were arming Hussein to fight against Iran in the ’80s, or when he was using chemical weapons against the Kurdish population of northern Iraq in 1988?

It wasn’t as if we were unaware that he was a monster, as if we suddenly realized this when he threatened our oil interests.

Vice President Cheney has already pushed a”preemptive strike” doctrine to remove Hussein.

The notion of preemption runs counter to international law, which only sanctions the use of force in self-defense against actual threats, not potential ones.

The absurdity of preemptive strikes was recognized by Henry Kissinger, of all people, because it violates the Treaty of Westphalia, which was ratified in 1648 and formally institutionalized the system of nation states.

In other words, this policy is so backwards that if Cheney had proposed it 350 years ago it still would have been illegitimate ? the very idea of a “preemptive strike” doctrine is laughable, not to mention dangerous.

There is no shortage of ways that Bush or any future American president can construe nations as “potential threats,” especially since in an open-ended war reason and logic are not required.

At the Nuremberg War Crimes trial of the Nazis, the bulk of the case against them?aside from the Holocaust?was that they planned and waged an aggressive war without provocation. The Nazis claimed the attacks were self-defense.

So now as Hussein invites weapons inspectors back into the country, Bush is left grasping at fewer and fewer straws, attempting to present an atrocious idea as the way forward.

Muhlenberg is a junior and can be reached at dmuhlenberg@campustimes.org.



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