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Jewish World Review Sept. 12, 2002 / 6 Tishrei, 5763

David Limbaugh

David Limbaugh
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Consumer Reports

Opponents of invading Iraq should answer questions


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:

  • Where have you been as we've enforced the no-fly zone against Iraq all these years? What about Iraqi sovereignty over its own airspace?

  • Where were you when Bill Clinton almost exhausted our cruise missile supply on Baghdad targets -- primarily on Saddam's weapons factories -- without, by the way, consulting with Congress?

  • Where were you -- with the exception of objectors on the right -- when Bill Clinton bombed Serbia further into the Stone Age, despite no provocation by Slobo against the United States?

  • Where were you when President Bush first announced his Bush Doctrine, in which he promised to pursue terrorists and those regimes that sponsored or supported them? What part of "sponsor" or "support" do you fail to grasp? Was it Saddam's meetings with Osama bin Laden or Mohammad Atta or his subsidies of the families of Palestinian suicide bombers that cause you to believe he's not covered by the Bush Doctrine? Further, what possible construction of the term "terrorist" could fail to cover Saddam himself and his murderous regime?

  • And speaking of international law, what about Saddam's repeated failure to comply with U.N. resolutions requiring him to destroy his weapons of mass destruction and allow unfettered inspections? That's even enough for Secretary of State Colin Powell, himself no hawk. Isn't it enough for you?

You can say that it's not up to the United States to enforce these resolutions. But what if the United Nations won't or can't? Are you going to entrust our national security to an international body that has contempt for the United States? Would you allow your enemies to baby-sit your children? How about if a serial killer were loose in your neighborhood?

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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David Limbaugh, a columnist and attorney practicing in Cape Girardeau, Mo., is the author of the just-released exposé about corruption in the Clinton-Reno Justice Department, "Absolute Power." Send your comments to him by clicking here.

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