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Despite justifications for war, America faces future full of loneliness, isolation

March 18, 2003

By Matt Trumbo

As I write this column, ultimatums have been issued by the president saying that Monday was the 'moment of truth' for Iraq. As you read this, it's very possible that the United States is at war with another sovereign country for the first time in more than a decade. Even more disquieting is that, for the first time in the past 100 years, we are nearly alone in waging a war.

Even if war has not begun today, I believe that war is nearly inevitable at this point. Barring some act of God, President Bush has placed too much emphasis on the war for this conflict to slip down the path of the Cuban missile crisis.

I also believe that President Bush is right in going to war at this stage. As I requested in a previous column, the burden of proof was on his shoulders to provide the American people with evidence that we must attack Iraq.

It is clear to me President Bush has provided proof that Iraq violated and continues to flout the U.N. resolutions requiring him to abandon the pursuit of weapons of mass destruction. Bush refuses to let the whisperings of present-day Neville Chamberlains sway him from standing up in support of accountability for Iraq. I applaud him for that, and so should we all.

In spite of these facts, the great and small alike all over the world are denouncing Bush as a warmongering fool. Why? The governments that oppose Bush, in spite of their interests in Iraqi oil, are not dense. They can see as well as you or I that Saddam has no interest in obeying the United Nations and should not be allowed to do willfully disobey it.

The United States has been an economic and military leader since World War II, but it was always balanced against the USSR as the 'good guy' to the USSR's communist empire. Even when the United States made errors, such as in Vietnam, other nations could look to the USSR and know that United States was the only thing between them and serving vodka to Russian conquerors.

The United States is in a position it has never faced before. We are the world's only superpower. As much as the world would like to think otherwise, we can do as we please. Afghanistan, the stumbling block of the entire USSR, melted in a six-week assault of American power.

I don't know about you, but if I was not an American, that would terrify me. If an unstoppable, benevolent superpower ceased caring for the interests of other nations and became a selfish entity, I would lash out against it in any way I could.

This is a glimpse of how it is with the nations that oppose the United States, and even our allies face populations that fear American 'imperialism.' In the post-Sept. 11 political climate President Bush made a conscious decision to do whatever it took to protect the American people, no matter what the United Nations and other nations said or did. I applaud him for that decision as well, for a lesser president might be more concerned with approval ratings and re-election rather than protecting the United States, as the president should.

The opposition that President Bush and the United States face is a direct result of this decision. Troops were already on their way to the Persian Gulf as President Bush asked Europe to consider action against Iraq. When he addressed the United Nations in support of increased inspections and diplomatic solutions, the Secretary of Defense simultaneously denounced inspections as a sham.

In the eyes of other nations, President Bush has made it clear to the rest of the world that they do not matter to him. The reasons for war are just, but fear of this new, heedless America grows daily and fuels the conflagration of global anti-war/American sentiment.

We know differently than the rest of the world; the citizens of the United States do not support worldwide conquest in any form and neither does President Bush. But if he does not stop blindly marginalizing the world, America's bright future as the lone superpower will fade into the loneliness of isolation.