Editorial: Bush Must Re-Examine Effects of War With Iraq

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If the United States attacks Iraq, President Bush may change our present war on terror to one of long-term occupation in which the casualties will not only be U.S. soldiers.

Bush is dead set on removing Iraqi president Saddam Hussein from power, citing Iraq's possible possession of chemical and biological weapons and the possibility that it will have an atomic weapon within a few years.

But Bush's own U.S. citizens have not been presented with the evidence to support a pre-emptive strike, that the United States and its allies are at risk of being attacked by Saddam.

Since a strike against Iraq is already a forgone conclusion, the Bush Administration must explore the possibility of a lengthy and hard-fought occupation of Iraq and the dire consequence that U.S. citizens may be among the war's casualties.

The question Bush must consider is whether the United States is ready to absorb the effects of an invasion of Iraq.

Among the goals of the impending war, Bush says, is freeing Iraqi citizens of Saddam's oppressive regime. Merely removing the Iraqi president from power, however, will not be sufficient.

Iraq comprises fractured peoples held under control by Saddam's police state. To install a democratic government, a vigilant U.S. occupation of Iraq lasting no less than 50 years must be undertaken.

This is not a new trend. U.S. forces still have a presence on both the Korean peninsula and in Germany, nearly 50 years after the conclusion of the Korean War and more than half a century after the Allies defeated Germany.

The United States' existing presence in the Middle East, particularly in the Muslim holy land of Arabia, is often cited as what provoked terrorist cells to form in the Middle East. Apparently, the Bush Administration feels that drastically increasing its Middle East occupation may help eradicate anti-U.S. terrorism.

Bush must realize these terrorist cells operate outside political states and regime changes. Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda flourished after Saudi Arabia expelled him. Further U.S. occupation of the Middle East by completely controlling Iraq will only ignite the resolve of anti-U.S. terrorists.

Retaliatory attacks against the United States would inevitably increase, possibly resulting in the casualties of thousands of U.S. citizens in our own homeland. For example, Israel's policy of conventional military response to terrorist attacks has brought no peace, but only more attacks in the form of suicide bombings.

The United States is not prepared for an occupation of Iraq lasting several decades that will result in U.S. citizen casualties. Bush must present all possible consequences before subjecting his citizens to more terrorism.


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