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Was United Nations coalition right in Friday's bombing of radar systems in Iraq?

Feb. 20, 2001

No: Actions will hurt Iraqis, not Hussein

Friday's bombing of five strategic points around Baghdad has refocused the nation's eyes on Saddam Hussein and Iraqi-United Nation relations. President George W. Bush and his administration have proudly proclaimed this action was the continuation of a policy to enforce post-Persian Gulf War sanctions that began with Bush's father and continued throughout the Clinton years.

There is only one problem: this policy is flawed.

The sanctions and military actions used to enforce them are against the American ideal of sovereignty of the people, first introduced by Woodrow Wilson in his 14 Points of Light following World War I. This idea is that the people within the nation should be able to decide how they are to be ruled. There is to be no interference from another country.

'The rationale that the Bush administration gives is no explanation at all,' said Hussein Ibish, spokesman for the American Anti-Discrimination committee in Washington, D.C. 'You can't give justification for something that wasn't justified to begin with. Iraq didn't give up its sovereignty when it lost the Gulf War.'

Not only are the sanctions contrary to historically American thought, they are counterproductive. Despite these restrictions, which are aimed at removing Hussein from power, Hussein remains as strong within Iraq as he was 10 years ago. The sanctions do not hurt Hussein but his people, who are desperately in need of supplies to live. UNICEF has stated that the infant mortality rate in Iraq has doubled in the past 10 years.

Robert Pape, a political science professor at the University of Chicago, said totalitarian states often rely on the civilian population to suffer through harsh punishment to accomplish their goals. The punishment encourages the people to stay loyal to the regime to receive supplies such as food and medicine.

Bush stated that the United States is enforcing the sanctions in cooperation with its United Nation allies; however, several 'allied' nations have condemned the attack, including Russia, China and one of our few 'allies' in the Middle East, Egypt.

The military action has also been ineffective. Despite air raids in the no-fly zones and in the heart of Iraq as of Friday, the United Nations weapons inspectors have not entered Iraq since December of 1998. In an ABCnews.com report, U.S. and United Nations officials were cited as saying that they did not believe the inspectors would enter the nation any time soon.

A wise man once said that insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. These actions have not worked, I think it is time to try something new.

'The United States' actions were completely unjustified, and all it does is dig a deeper hole for all of us and everyone else involved,' Ibish said. 'It's a horrible way for a new administration to begin what should have been a change in approach.'