Michael Mahowish      

Iraq Conflict Resolution: A Case For The United Nations

            From the day George W. Bush was sworn into office, he was suspicious of Iraq. For the first two years in office, President Bush regarded Iraq as some form of enemy. One could even say that Iraq was President Bush’s nemesis. After much debate, the United States forces attacked Iraq. The Iraqi army was no match for the bloody onslaught that took place. Within a month, the United States totally overthrew the Iraqi government and took control of the country. On May 1, 2003, President Bush declared that the war was over, but since that day many more Americans and Iraqis alike have lost their lives. When will this drawn out process be over? When can we have peace again? Until we see U.N. member nations compromising on a solution, and the U.N. develops a reconstruction and peace plan, we will not see peace.

            Before the war even started, if you watched President Bush closely, you could get the impression that Bush wanted to go to war. In all of his speeches, Bush made sure to emphasize the fact that the U.S. would not hesitate to forcibly disarm Iraq. Bush approved the overall war strategy for Iraq in August 2002. That was six months before the President addressed the U.N. Security Council. Did the president assume that the war strategy would be the same, with or without U.N. involvement? The Bush administration was so insistent on war, which they forgot about post-war Iraq. President Bush insisted that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction a direct violation of a U.N. mandate, and should be disarmed. The President was very quick to say that troops should be sent in and Saddam Hussein should be removed from power.

The U.N. took a very different approach to the situation. They didn’t point any fingers or make any threats. The U.N. just sent in weapons inspectors. If the U.N. Inspectors had found any form of weapons of mass destruction, Iraq would have been disarmed, by force if necessary. The entire time the inspectors were searching Iraq, more and more U.S. war ships positioned themselves all around the small country. Before the inspectors even had a chance to fully search Iraq and find weapons, President Bush got impatient and gave them two days to get out of the country. The war had begun.

            Since the first bombs were dropped in Iraq until now, no weapons of mass destruction have been found. The weapons inspectors were not given enough time, and if the U.S. had moved slower in the overall disarmament process, the chances of finding weapons of mass destruction would have been greater. Before the war started, President Bush and the entire Bush administration insisted that Iraq had weapons. They were so confident that Iraq had weapons that they openly attacked another nation. At this point, it’s safe to say that Iraqi weapons of mass destruction don’t exist. Now the question must be asked, did President Bush lie to his entire country? President Clinton was impeached for lying and his lie didn’t cause anyone to die.

            So, what was the real reason we went to war? Was it because of the oil? Maybe it was because George W. wanted to finish what his daddy started. Whatever the real reasons the citizens of America and the world were not informed of them. Is this what democracy has become? One man has the power to start an entire war, and he needs no reasons or consent. When I look at the current situation, it reminds me of the war against communism and the mistakes we made three decades prior to the Iraq conflict in Vietnam. In 1969, the year that the Vietnam War was at its climax, there was a very strong anti-war sentiment throughout the U.S.

            In the few months before the Iraq war had started, many different opinions were flying back and forth about whether or not we should go to war. Many protesters, exercising their right to free speech, were called unpatriotic and un-American because they did not agree with what the Bush administration was doing. Now that many Americans realize that the Iraq war is turning out to be a lot more expensive than past occupations, like Afghanistan for example, national morale and support for the war is starting to decay. Today in the Niagara Gazette, the opinion section contained a picture of a huge alligator labeled “Iraq”, and a tiny caricature of President Bush holding the alligators jaws open while pleading for eighty-seven billion dollars to “tame the beast.”

One of the major flaws in planning for the Iraq war was the U.S. failure to anticipate the guerrilla war that has emerged since the Iraqi military fell. Did the U.S. commanders actually believe that once the visible military in Iraq was defeated that all resistance in that country would cease? War has torn Israel and Palestine apart for decades, with no hope in sight. The Palestinians employ guerrilla war techniques as their main form of fighting against the Israelis. After the war in Afghanistan random guerrilla attacks occurred and continue to occur. Surely, the U.S. military learned its lessons in Somalia, after it lost over forty men in urban style fighting. The Somalis also shot down two Black-Hawk helicopters during that conflict. Why did the U.S. commanders think that post war Iraq would be any different?

The other day I was looking at a news article on MSNBC.com, titled “Dangerous Occupation." The article is a day-by-day timeline of American deaths in Iraq since May 1, the day that the President announced the war was over. Since May 1, over one hundred sixty Americans have returned home from Iraq in body bags.  Over three hundred thirty have been killed since the war began. As I read all the names and ages of servicemen that have been killed in combat I can’t help but feel sick. It sickens me that this many people have lost their lives fighting in a war that has no reason. How many more Americans have to die before the President realizes that the war was a terrible idea since its conception and ends the occupation in Iraq.

            President Bush has also blurred the line between the Iraq conflict and the war against terrorism. On Sunday, September 7th, the President addressed the nation and informed us that he would ask congress for an extra eighty-seven billion dollars. The President said the extra money would be used to continue the war against terrorism but Bush plans on spending the majority of this extra money in rebuilding Iraq. It is obvious that the Bush Administration miscalculated the cost of going to war.  This money is in addition to the seventy-nine billion that Congress already approved last spring. This war is really starting to smell like Vietnam.

            Billions and billions of dollars have been, and are going to be, spent on Iraq. The amount of money being wasted in Iraq goes beyond measure. Some of the bombs used to break down the helpless country cost millions of dollars apiece. Think of the hundred thousand servicemen that are being paid to be in Iraq. Think of all the equipment that the servicemen are using. On the other hand, think of the sluggish U.S. economy and how a few billion dollars could be put to very good use domestically.  We are surely going to be in debt for decades to come - thanks to the Bush administration.

At this point, it is necessary for the U.S. to relinquish some of its powers in Iraq and have the U.N. step in and develop an overall plan for rebuilding the war torn country. If other nations are not brought in, the costs for post-war Iraq are only going to grow. The U.N. should also be brought in to help set up some sort of an Iraqi constitution. It is also necessary for other nations to step in and help-out with the terrible situation we have created in Iraq because the U.S. military is being stretched very thin. If another major conflict were to spring up in other areas of the world the U.S. would not be able to respond in a fitting manner. Hopefully, in the next few weeks we will see much progress between the U.S. and the U.N. Until we see an over all reconstruction and peace plan developed by the U.N., the Iraq conflict will not be resolved. After the U.N. member nations can compromise on a solution, peace and order will eventually return to Iraq.