Jewish World Review Sept. 12, 2002 / 6 Tishrei, 5763
http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | Those most loudly objecting to an American military action to remove Iraq's Saddam Hussein and his weapons of mass destruction have been on the offensive. Isn't it time they answered some questions themselves?
The primary objection to the military option is that the United States has no legal or moral right to attack Iraq, especially not unilaterally: without the blessing of the international community. The objectors are painting those advocating intervention as jingoistic cowboys who harbor a disregard for international law, the sovereignty of other nations and world opinion.
I wonder how you objectors would respond to some questions. If you believe we would be violating international law by attacking Iraq, then:
Aren't some of you objectors the same ones who have mercilessly ridiculed our intelligence agencies and others for their failure to prevent the 9/11 attacks? When you know that Saddam Hussein is feverishly developing weapons of mass destruction, that he's willing to use them on people he hates -- even his own people -- and that he hates the United States, why do you prefer now that we not take preemptive action?
Let me ask you to consider something else. The Bush administration takes the position that a strike against Iraq is justified under international law as a matter of self-defense. If we had 100 percent proof that Saddam had or would soon have nuclear weapons and was going to use them against the United States, through terrorists or otherwise, would we be justified in attacking him? In other words, is it the level of proof that bothers you, international law or world opinion?
Regardless, on the matter of proof, shouldn't we err on the side of preventing another 9/11, especially when we do have strong proof, including that if Saddam had nothing to hide, he wouldn't have continually expelled the weapons inspectors? And, if you were reasonably certain that Saddam was going to unleash weapons of mass destruction on our people or our soil, would you be quibbling over the fine points of international law, much less world opinion?
It would be one thing for people to object to our invasion of Iraq if we had imperialistic designs -- if we wanted to absorb the Iraqi nation or even steal her oil. But no one believes that. This is about self-defense, pure and simple. If we are correct that Saddam will unleash these catastrophic weapons against our allies or us, we have not only the legal right but the moral obligation to act before he does it.
As Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld so cogently observed, America's task is to "… behave in a way that there won't be books written about why we slept."
Some of you objectors are presently napping.
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