War on Iraq is humane

WSteven Snyder War is stupid.”

The childish, immature sign seemed to say it all.

At recent protests in Minneapolis, Milwaukee and Chicago, signs like this have appeared, demonstrating the outright idiocy of many opposed to the United States’ current incursion into Iraq. They are not interested in discussing the issues surrounding this conflict, not concerned with the brutal and disgusting actions of Iraq’s leader. No, they want to protest the general concept of war. Guns, deaths, bombing Ö it’s all just too scary! Rocker Sheryl Crow recently repeated the mantra of this vocal minority, saying that war is never the answer.

Wake up, people. There is evil in this world. Germany’s Nazis, the United States’ Ku Klux Klan, China’s suppression of expression and, yes, Iraq’s Saddam Hussein. And these fascists, racists, communists and predators do not respond kindly to “please” and “thank you.”

Although it might seem like a contradiction, we are engaged in a humane war.

I see the statement “stop the racism” on anti-American propaganda around town. Exactly what racism are these people referring to? Hussein tortures his own citizens. He has killed them with biological weapons. There are reports he has sent those from his inner circle out to the battlefields to ensure, with force, that his troops do not surrender. He has upheld a regime that violates U.N. resolutions, resulting in embargoes that starve his population.

Who is the racist here?

In contrast, the United States has entered this conflict with a shockingly humane policy. It attempted a pre-emptive strike against Hussein – targeting the leader, not the people. It has dropped leaflets instructing Iraqi soldiers how to avoid harm and surrender easily. It has committed itself toward keeping Iraqi oil as a source of income for a free Iraq. It has left the electricity on in Baghdad. It is employing the use of sophisticated bombs that can target a single pane of glass to avoid collateral damage.

George W. Bush did not rush in. He offered the Iraqi leader an ultimatum, and Hussein’s selfishness persisted. If Hussein had left, would the United States have entered a conflict? I seriously doubt it.

Hundreds, if not thousands, of Iraqi troops have already surrendered, eagerly welcoming U.S. and allied troops. The soldiers, the Kurds and Iraq’s neighbors are all embracing the possibility of a peaceful and stable future.

Sometimes I wonder if these protesters know anything about Iraq, its torture chambers or its history. Hussein came to power and killed those in the government who opposed him. Iraqi citizens are given no options in the voting booth besides him. Those who speak out against the leader feel immediate retribution.

What would these hecklers say, I wonder, if I informed them that Iraqis protesting in a similar fashion would be tortured? That their protests, demanding U.S. withdrawal, encourage Hussein’s practices to continue?

Actually, I’d pay money to hear the responses from those robotic, mind-numbed individuals parading around with the “War is stupid” signs. I can hear them now: “Well, uh, he didn’t, um, they could, za, whatever. War is STUPID!”

Time will be the final judge. The United States, once again, is guiding the world towards a better future.

The end of the U.N.

Some are claiming Bush failed at diplomacy. How exactly, may I ask, did he fail at the United Nations? He went in, presented evidence, formed a coalition and approached other U.N. Security Council nations about a resolution. He was one vote short of passing that resolution when, inexplicably, France sabotaged the process, promising to veto any resolution authorizing action.

It is the same as telling a ballplayer, “OK Johnny, go out there and play shortstop. I just want you to know that your team is definitely going to lose.” Why would young Johnny go out to play? Similarly, why would any country vote for a resolution that is guaranteed to publicly fail?

What happened in the United Nations was a vote on U.S. popularity, nothing more. Some countries don’t like that we have power, perhaps appropriately. We are arrogant. We have made mistakes in the past. We wield our supremacy, sometimes, far too easily.

But, what about Iraq?

Give the inspectors more time, France said. More time? For what? For almost a decade, they have been given the runaround by the Iraqi government. Secretary of State Colin Powell provided pictures of the biological trucks that drive from site to site, evading inspectors. Iraqi scientists have been threatened by the government into silence. When banned materials are found in Iraq, the country’s response seems to be “Oops! We’ll destroy ’em now, we promise.”

Is this kindergarten? They are violating international law.

To make matters worse, chief weapons inspector Hans Blix withheld information. Buried in a 100-page report, news emerged of automated planes designed by Iraq to drop chemical weapons on targets. But did he mention this to the Security Council? No! And with this bickering, voting became an impossibility. The United States, Britain and a dozen other countries had to go it alone.

To shame, protesters said.

But now look at what has happened. The use of chemical weapons is all but assumed by the world. Hussein has already used Scud missiles and other weapons it claimed it no longer possessed. Iraq’s neighbors, including Jordan, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, are embracing the U.S. mission. Jordan has accepted thousands of refugees. Turkey has even sent in troops to help with the refugee issue.

Countries from Spain to Japan, which were hesitant to support the United States, have offered their complete support since.

Yet we are still left with the fractured United Nations. What is to become of it? I believe its days are done.

It is a forum for countries to yell at one another, and nothing more. The Security Council, in particular, has shown a recurring failure to act. Rawanda, Iraq Ö the council is the epitome of bureaucracy without action.

And little can support my argument better than France’s response to the U.S. war. Lined in their U.N. veto, France noted: “If Saddam Hussein were to use chemical or biological weapons, this would change the situation completely and immediately for the French government.”

Think about that statement.

They believe he has weapons. They always have. They just wanted to flex their muscle against the United States. France is like a bratty child, with an attitude and flawed logic. It wants to bully and play power struggles, without regard for the Iraqi people, for the security of Europe or for the legitimate security concerns of another U.N. member, the United States.

This is why Bush should no longer resort to this ridiculous forum of global diplomacy. This is why, as Baghdad begins to rebuild, the United Nations will begin to crumble into irrelevance.

Steve Snyder’s biweekly column appears alternate Wednesdays. Send letters to the editor to [email protected]