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What about the Shi'a and the Kurds?

Reader comment on item: About Those Iraqi WMD
in response to reader comment: if what you claim is true

Submitted by Pat (United States), Apr 26, 2006 at 14:58

There was more to Iraq and Saddam's misrule than WMD. For starters, he provided material aid to Palestinian terrorist groups. He kept training camps where terrorists learned the art of hijacking airplanes. His was a government that exercised hegemony over eighty percent of its fellow citizens. How many mass graves do you need to find to convince you that Saddam was dangerous? If his closest aides couldn't relay facts without fearing for their lives, then there was no possibility for reform. Sure Saddam kept order, but was it worth it?

The UN had instituted sanctions after Saddam invaded Kuwait and declared no-fly zones over the Kurdish and Shiite sections of Iraq as a result of massacres Saddam's forces carried out after the Gulf War. The US and Britain were monitoring the no-fly zones until the start of the Iraq war. Now, they're no longer needed. Would you have had the US maintain these zones indefinitely?

The fact that no large stockpiles were found didn't make WMD any less valid a reason for war. This was where the Bush administration got it wrong. They should have made a vigorous argument that Saddam had had more than ten years to comply with ceasefire conditions he agreed to in 1991 as a condition for remaining in power. The fact that only an army on his doorstep gave him pause should make the doubters realize he would no nothing without the threat of force. I ask again: was the US expected to stand over him indefinitely? Go to lower Manhattan if you want to see the benefits of America keeping Saddam "in check".

Finally, WMD is also a matter of knowledge. Iraq has (or it had) a large scientific community. They had developed WMD and the military used it in prior wars. Only the sanctions kept Saddam from rebuilding his military and, presumably, his WMD capability. Prior to the war there were loud calls from Iraq's major trading partners for the sanctions to be lifted. Once that happened, the program could be restarted. Given Saddam's contempt for the international community and his wanton killing of his own citizens, do you really think he would "reform"?

We abandoned the Kurds and the Shi'a once before, to our great shame. We can't do it again.


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