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As Long as We Remember...

March 18, 2003

Mr. President, This is How To Get There

Mike Kuster

I'll probably shock a lot of readers with this column. It appears too many readers think they know something about me. I'll wager many know nothing about me or any of the writers. That's why they'll be shocked to learn that . . .

The United States of America should attack Iraq for the following reasons:

Iraq has actively participated in the support and training of terrorist organizations around the globe. Their activities in this area have been documented for well over a decade. They materially participated in training terrorists to hijack airliners.

Iraq has continued to arm itself in defiance of numerous international laws and resolutions passed unanimously on the floor of the United Nations.

One could list others, but these two reasons are based on logic and do not involve any emotional causes such as the oppression of his people, the mass murder of his citizens, etc.

George Washington told his beloved nation one important thing before leaving office. He warned the United States not to involve itself in the internal politics of other countries, and to trade freely and openly with countries without regard to their politics. While we may find communism, and dictators, unacceptable, our country has no business denying other countries those evils. We must leave other countries alone to self-govern.

That is the difference between this coming war and the Vietnam conflict. In Vietnam, the United States became involved in a country's internal struggle. In Iraq, the United States, and hopefully the global community, will get involved to protect other nations and itself from the dangers posed by Iraq.

President Bush's shining moment thus far was his post-attack speech to Congress. He warned that any country supporting or harboring terrorists would be treated as terrorists themselves.

Friends, Iraq is supporting and harboring terrorists. Saddam Hussein pays the families of suicide bombers as a reward. This is not chump-change or a little trophy; it's a lot of cash. It is an incentive to kill innocent people.

Yes, Israel is in violation of United Nations resolutions, too. That is no reason, however, for terrorism. The international community, not terrorists, must work with Israel to withdraw and allow Palestine to become its own state.

Lately, some politicians have been making the claim that Israel is to blame for America's problems with Iraq. The blame does not lie in Israel. In fact, the blame lies in the same group that is to blame for Israeli and Palestinian conflicts. The British blindly divided the Persian Gulf into the countries we now recognize. This division was based on absolutely nothing.

The fact that Saddam Hussein sponsors terrorism aimed against anyone or any country is reason enough to end his regime. He is a threat to Americans, if not directly, then definitely indirectly.

So, why are so many Americans opposed to war against Iraq? It's not just "liberals" who are opposed to the war. I've been surprised by very conservative friends speaking strongly against war. In Montana, the head of the Republican Party in one county resigned from his office in opposition to the war.

It is very easy to see why so many are opposed to attacking Iraq.

President Bush and his administration have done a terrible job of communicating the need to eliminate the threat Iraq poses to the rest of the world. Our allies have yet to be convinced. Our own citizens have yet to be convinced.

Frederick Mayor Jennifer Dougherty provided the perfect example of Bush's failure to communicate. She and I were discussing my comments in Frederick Magazine. She told me she understood my comment on the dismissal of Stewart Seal being a "boo-boo," because I did not have all of the information she has. I'll have to wait for the case to go to court to find out what the mayor knows and cannot discuss.

That is exactly where Mr. Bush is failing to make his case. We, as citizens, do not have all of the information he has. Our allies do not have all of the information he has.

President Bush should be releasing a lot more intelligence to the Security Council, our allies, and his bosses (us). At the very least, French and German chancellors should be provided the information needed to convince them.

Why was information about the terrorist training camp in Iraq released by the administration recently?

Why weren't we told about the airliner used to train terrorists to hijack planes until last week?

I understand that intelligence is supposed to be secret, but come on. These facts were known for a long time.

There are a lot of other "secrets" that our government knows, but is not sharing with the public. The President of the United States needs to make direct connections to Iraq and September 11th by releasing information.

Iraq not only trains and supports terrorism. It terrorizes its own citizens based on race and politics. Kurds spend their lives in fear of Saddam Hussein. Of course, no one can disagree with Saddam Hussein. Dissenters are killed in public to quash further rebellious activities.

These internal atrocities cannot be brushed off, though President Washington urged us not to get involved in the internal politics of a nation. The global community has a moral obligation to save the lives of the oppressed. If we cannot get the support of the French, Germans, or Russians, we must do as President Clinton did in the late 1990's. When he found that France would veto a resolution permitting force against President Milosevic, he completely bypassed the United Nations.

I am not a hawk. I was not convinced that war is absolutely necessary. I understand the opposition to war. I don't want to go to war if it is not necessary. I understand those who protest war. I don't consider them anti-American or unpatriotic. To the contrary, I consider them very patriotic and up-standing Americans. I also would like to have U. N. support of our actions, but it is not necessary.

Iraq's involvement in terrorism and the threat it poses to stability globally leaves no doubt in my mind. President Bush has not made a good case for war against Iraq. Regardless of the failure of our President to communicate effectively, we must do the right thing to protect ourselves and our neighbors around the world.

There is no War on Iraq; this is the continued War on Terrorism.

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