Why Hussein and not Idi Amin, Pol Pot and Kim Jong Il?

The ignorance contained in Nolan Soltvedt’s Wednesday letter is truly cataclysmic. Soltvedt said the day U.S. forces captured Saddam Hussein was “a day of sadness” for those who oppose the Iraq war and, for those who had loved ones killed by Hussein, “the happiest day of their lives.” He ultimately comes to the asinine conclusion that what is good for the security of the world is in direct contrast to the desires of the political left (obviously they must be soulless monsters that want people to live under brutal tyranny and slaughter). Soltvedt uses a classic propaganda tactic of creating a “straw man,” intentionally misrepresenting the beliefs of his opposition to make them seem foolish and then refuting and demonizing the misrepresentation in an attempt to sway opinion in his favor.

I oppose the Iraq war. Coincidentally, my family is from Iran, a country that lost about 300,000 people during a senseless eight-year border war started by Hussein. So it would be safe to say we had “loved ones” killed by Hussein. I am happy to see him captured and, I hope, brought to justice. However, I am wary of the way in which this came about (unilaterally and without diplomacy) and the strangely literary saga of Hussein being captured by the same country that put him in power and backed him for years.

If this sincerely is a war against a dangerous and murderous tyrant, how come the United States never sought Idi Amin, Pol Pot and Kim Jong Il? These despots also destroyed the lives of people in their respective and surrounding countries for years but it seems there is more vested interest in Iraq, an interesting note since the president, vice president and national security adviser of the United States all have intimate ties to oil companies.

If Soltvedt is sincerely concerned with the security of Americans and the world, perhaps he should read the Aug. 18, 2002, New York Times article that outlines how U.S. officials in the Reagan administration gave Iraq battle assistance, including satellite photos of the deployment of Iranian troops, even though it was speculated that Hussein would use chemical weapons against the Iranians on a nearly daily basis. The Kurds in Iraq sided with the Iranians, and we all know their ultimate fate.

Right-wing administrations like Ronald Reagan’s were not only completely tolerant of the fact that Hussein had chemical weapons in the 1980s, they were also complicit in the use of these weapons. These are facts that the political left would like to disclose and uncover, but the political right, because of self-preservation, would like to conceal.

Also, as Soltvedt claims, is the United States safer now? Last I heard there are no weapons of mass destruction; Iraq had no ties to al-Qaida (Osama bin Laden has actually referred to Hussein as a Muslim apostate and infidel); 500 U.S. soldiers are dead; anti-American resentment is ballooning not only in the Middle East but also with European allies; and the cost of this war is approaching $100 billion.

Contrary to what Soltvedt wants you to believe, it is obvious that stabilization and security of the United States and goodwill for the world are not the real reasons for this war.

Amirali Raissnia is a communications assistant for the University of Minnesota Foundation and a University alumnus. Send comments to [email protected]