“We are emerging stronger and will hit America’s shopping malls, stadiums and kindergartens. This is our promise.” This is a recent quote broadcast by al-Qaida concerning further plans for destruction against this nation. Enough said.
The overwhelming issue confronting my colleagues and myself this session will be how to continue the war on terrorism and ensure the protection of our people and homeland. Unfortunately a major obstacle stands in our way in continuing this quest, Saddam Hussein. Mark my words he is no different than a malignant cancer.
As the American people make their conclusions about whether to support action or inaction against Iraq, let me remind you of the threat we face from this dangerous enemy and the unique opportunity we have to prevent further acts of terror and aggression against this nation and the world.
As the horror of Sept. 11 demonstrated, there are those willing to use whatever means available to bring death to this nation. As a result, an effective coalition has arisen to confront this threat and bring these individuals to justice. With the Bush Administration leading this effort, results have been achieved and a major threat is now on the run. It is now time to continue to enhance our homeland security by focusing on one man who has the means and where-with-all to bring further destruction to the world.
It is well known that Saddam Hussein is developing, and has, weapons of mass destruction to be used against his enemies. These weapons – chemical, biological, and nuclear – do not distinguish between military and civilian targets, they kill indiscriminately. The question is not if he will use them, but how and when. To ignore Saddam Hussein and his weapons-making aims and capabilities is like ignoring a cancer: The threat is initially small and imperceptible, though grows steadily over time. What once could have been remedied with quick and decisive action inexorably grows into an untreatable condition. Throughout this process the symptoms may not be evident at first glance, though a CAT scan, or in this case intelligence, reveals the imminent danger lurking within. Like cancer, the threat posed by Saddam Hussein will spread and be fatal with inaction. We have the opportunity to prevent this course of events, to eliminate a looming threat on our nation’s horizon, but we must act now. The choice therefore comes down to two options: attack now and prevent Iraq’s ability to use these weapons and his ability to put these weapons in the hands of terrorist organizations, or allow Saddam the upper hand by giving him the time to develop first-strike capabilities with weapons of mass destruction, the horror of which has never been visited on American soil.
Let me be clear, I do not wish for war, nor do I wish to send troops in harm’s way, but we have an inherent responsibility to act when a clear and present danger of attack threatens this nation, from Saddam Hussein or terrorist organizations. To address this threat, decisive action is required on the part of this country and indeed the entire coalition. There are several military options that should be considered to accomplish this goal and ending the regime of Saddam Hussein. These can be accomplished through surgical strikes and special operations against Saddam Hussein and his leadership, or if necessary, a larger scale invasion. Moreover, when the Administration’s experts decide on the appropriate action necessary to depose this threat, full Congressional support should be provided, as the alternative for inaction is unacceptable.
Many of our allies are unwilling to act, and believe a diplomatic, peaceful solution will be the key to solving this threat. For those nations, they need only to revisit world history to realize than inaction leads to complacence, and ultimately dire consequences.
If Saddam Hussein “fails to comply, and we fail to act, or we take some ambiguous third route which gives him yet more opportunities to develop his program of weapons of mass destruction and continue to press for the release of the sanctions and continue to ignore the solemn commitments that he made? Well, he will conclude that the international community has lost its will. He will then conclude that he can go right on and do more to rebuild an arsenal of devastating destruction.” President Bill Clinton, February 18, 1998.
Diplomacy with Iraq has failed! Remember that Saddam Hussein has repeatedly kicked out U.N. weapons inspectors, in violation of his surrender agreement from the Gulf War. Why were the inspections not continued? Because world opinion, mainly European, changed to believe that our sanctions were cruel to the Iraqi people and prevented Iraqi infrastructure growth and improvement. As a result, the U.N. has allowed Saddam Hussein to continue the unbridled buildup of his military and weapons of mass destruction. Sound familiar? For those familiar with World War II history it should. Following World War I and the Treaty of Versailles, Germany’s war production capabilities were limited to prevent another attack on French soil. This included the buildup of factories for weapons and oil reserves, all to be monitored by a world organization that would ensure Germany remained true to its postwar agreements. Like Iraq, world sentiment sided with Germany allowing Hitler, under the guise of progress, to further his war-making capabilities. Over 14 million Allied soldiers and 26 million civilians paid the ultimate price for this complacence.
This nation, indeed the entire world, has the opportunity to prevent a similar tragedy from happening again and you better believe that those nations counseling against action now, as history proves, will be the first to call upon the United States to defend their soil in the event of a chemical, biological, or nuclear attack from or weapons produced by Saddam Hussein. We cannot simply close our eyes and pray that Hussein and his war-making capabilities will go away, we must strike and strike now. So far all those that believe we should let Saddam Hussein continue on his unchecked path, read your history books, because our nation and our children’s futures are at stake. I say let history judge us for what we were able to prevent, instead of ignoring the inevitable threat to our future.
U.S. Representative Scott McInnis is a U.S. Congressional Delegate to the NATO Parliamentary Arm.
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