Wednesday, April 16, 2003/lk
By MARC COHN
Special to the News
The Hood River News of March 29 had a number of letters and an Op-Ed piece all commenting negatively on “Operation Iraqi Freedom.” Unfortunately, these comments are just not based in reality.
Wendy Best would blame George Bush for our current economy when virtually every expert agrees the primary cause is the excesses of the “dot-bomb” phenomenon that drained one trillion dollars of investment capital and produced nothing in return (except a number of very young, very rich millionaires). Neither Mr. Bush nor Mr. Clinton nor any other president has been able to control senseless speculation or its negative effects.
Leigh Hancock worries about how many people will die in “this senseless war.” I don’t know but I do know the number of Iraqis Saddam has already killed and the casualties in this war cannot possibly come close to that total.
It makes sense to me to end the regime that has killed several hundred thousand of its own citizens even if it means that some more might die in the process.
Dee Holzman claims the administration is misguided but can there be any doubt that Iraq under Saddam has actively aided terror groups with various kinds of assistance and that the potential of providing them with nerve gas or anthrax is real? Yes, terrorism is accomplished by a “borderless enemy,” but too often they are “sponsored” by rogue states.
Lastly, Diane Allen tries to make a case for the current wave of war protestors. The problem is that the massive (and effective) rallies she alludes to that helped end the Vietnam War were not in violation of the law. Instead, they were held with proper permits and did not disrupt or interfere with people trying to conduct their everyday lives. The First Amendment does NOT guarantee the right to break the law.
The Hood River News op-ed piece warned “many were wary about picking a fight.” War is a terrible thing for everyone involved. The violence de-humanizes us all. But there are people and circumstances that offer no other options absent surrender. To allow Iraq to continue to defy the United Nations after 1991 was a mistake and we are now paying for the United Nations reluctance to face up to the problem. And oh yes, when the final accounting is in we will see that there were many multi-million dollar arms deals between Iraq and the French, Germany and Russia. Shame on them.
It irks me that many of those protesting the war seek to find ulterior motives when the simple explanation is that our president simply did not want to gamble with the fate of the United States against the potential damage of a madman. In 1963 President Kennedy gave Khrushchev a similar ultimatum — remove Soviet missiles from Cuba in 48 hours or face the Strategic Air Command with B52s carrying nuclear bombs. Unfortunately, Saddam did not take advantage of his 48-hour grace period.
Marc Cohn lives in Hood River.