Baylor > Lariat Archives > News

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

Feb. 20, 2001

Yes: Air strikes show Bush, U.N. serious

On Friday, a United Nations coalition of U.S. and British aircraft fired upon five anti-aircraft radar systems that the Iraqi military recently installed. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said, 'The objective of today's mission by coalition forces was to degrade Iraqi air defense capabilities and thus reduce the threat posed to coalition aircraft.'

President Bush said that 'We're going to watch very carefully as to whether or not he develops weapons of mass destruction ... and if we catch him doing so, we'll take appropriate action.' Bush wants to tell Saddam Hussein, the United States, and the rest of the world that we will not tolerate Hussein. Bush said Friday that the United Nations regulations that were signed by Hussein in 1991 at the end of the Gulf War authorized the strikes. Iraqi air defenses have been upgraded in the recent weeks and many believe this was just Hussein's way of testing the new United States president. Is the new Sheriff in the Middle East as tough as his Daddy? You bet. And Hussein knows it, too.

Friday's attack was nothing but a more publicized attack. The Pentagon has repeatedly called the air strikes routine. For more than a month, the Iraqis increased their anti-aircraft firing at allied planes over the no-fly zones. Time magazine reports that more surface-to-air missiles were fired in the last few weeks than in all of 2000.

Hussein still poses a threat to Iraq's neighbors and must be contained. British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook said in a Sunday interview, 'Do remember [Hussein] has never given up his claim to Kuwait, and only a few weeks ago reasserted that claim.' U.S. Sen. John McCain told Fox News that he believes the strikes were an appropriate means to 'send a signal to Saddam Hussein.'

The Air Force reports that there have been more than 700 separate incidents of anti-aircraft artillery and missiles fired against United Nations coalition planes since December of 1998. It is clear that Hussein has no regard for the sanctions placed upon Iraq and the no-fly zones and continues to be a threat to the Middle East and to the world. Hussein has even offered a reward of $14,000 to any surface-to-air missile operator who shoots down a U.S. plane. The world must not tolerate Hussein's disregard for the sanctions.

Approximately every three days, some kind of military attack takes place, but the media decided to cover this one. I don't know if it is because it was Bush's first approved attack, or if because the media was bored with nothing to report, but this has been going on since the end of the Gulf War.

Furthermore, the attacks need to continue. Until Hussein makes his concessions on weapons of mass destruction, the British and French have agreed to maintain the sanctions on the no-fly zones. Critics of the attacks claim that innocent civilians are the victims, but that is untrue; they are simply victims of Hussein's propaganda to gain support against his nemesis, the Bush family.