Brandon Wales’ op-ed (“Save the Iraqi people, not Clinton’s presidency,” Jan. 25, p. 5) is full of misrepresentations of facts and fallacies in logic in terms of the current Iraqi situation.
In terms of misrepresenting facts, saying Clinton “barely tolerates the continued presence of America’s armed forces” is ridiculous. Just last week Clinton called for an increase in defense spending in his State of the Union address. Plus, Clinton has sent U.S. troops to places during his presidency (i.e. Bosnia) that were seen by many as unnecessary and dangerous to American lives. This is not the record of one with a “deep-rooted counter-culture hatred for the military.”
Secondly, Mr. Wales seems to forget the stated reason for the U.S. attack in December was not simply, as he insisted, some ambiguous attack on Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction. Instead, it was a specific reaction to the UN weapons inspectors’ report that nothing had changed since the crisis a few weeks earlier when Iraqi barred the inspectors from suspected sites. While the inspectors were allowed back in, they reported they still were denied access by the Iraqi government to conduct a real search for weapons.
Since the United States stated that if inspectors were once more denied access Iraq would be attacked without warning, the attack in December had a real history and justification behind it. It was even joined by the United Kingdom, a fact completely ignored by Mr. Wales. While one could still argue that the timing was very suspicious, there were reasons beyond diverting attention from impeachment to explain why the attack happened when it did.
In terms of fallacies in logic, Mr. Wales’s views on what the United States needs to do to neutralize Iraqi as a threat would never work because they ignore the true nature of the situation.
First of all, the U.S. government already attempted to support a coup in Iraq. In the end, we did not support those we pledged to support, and the Iraqi military completely destroyed the opposition. Why would the people of Iraq believe the Americans again? Besides that, the last time the United States directly supported militant factions in foreign countries – such as anti-communist forces in Latin America – we helped start bloody and destructive civil wars that killed millions. And for what, to place dictators like Sygmen Rhee and Augusto Pinochet in power?
Such policies of funding military uprisings are ultimately self-defeating because eventually the country you are attempting to save destroys itself. And if it does not self-destruct, those who gain power use that power through processes in which notions such as democracy and freedom are completely foreign.
Also, the current state of international politics has changed from this simple Cold War, us-vs.-them mentality. The United States, the world’s only superpower, cannot simply abandon the UN process and act unilaterally. The Gulf War was a true victory because the United States had formed a coalition of world powers to stand together and label what the Iraqi government did as wrong.
The current problem with Iraq lies in that it is ignoring and completely disregarding international standards, not that it is against U.S. interests. Our foreign policy should not act by its own accords and rules, as Mr. Wales suggests, but should continue to create coalitions of support to force Iraq to comply with the will of the international community. Mr. Wales is right when he says Clinton needs to be more forceful to this end, but otherwise his suggestion would lead us to failure.
The writer is a sophomore.