Iraq Essay, Research Paper
I’m an American. There was a time when I would have said that enthusiastically, being proud of the country that I belong to and even prouder of what our country stands for. From what I was taught, and from what I once believed, America was meant to be a land of equality. It was a land that preached that all people have the right to live, the way they choose to, no matter what race, color or creed. Unfortunately, those words only apply to those that are of one origin: American. Today however, after having the opportunity to live outside the reach of the propaganda of the American media, I can only proudly say that I am ashamed of our leaders, of their hypocritical actions and mostly of the inability of the American people to do anything in the light of obvious disregard for humanity.
I grew up in a small town in New York. My family and I lived ten happy years in our little, white house on Chester Street. When I was fifteen though, my father’s job forced our entire family to move to what I believed to be a remote country in the Middle East. I was less than thrilled by the move. However, I didn’t have much say in the decision, and after a few months of adjusting, and a few more months in school I began to love the country that I was now a part of. The people of the United Arab Emirates are peaceful and God-fearing. Five times a day there are prayer calls, reminding us to remember God in everything that we do. Words such as “InshAllah”, which means ‘if God wills it’, are a part of every day vocabulary. They lead lives just like we do here, only there is a respect for God and life in everything they do. Their lives are of no less value than the lives of Americans.
However, this is an ideal that many Americans don’t seem to believe in. Recently, President Clinton, without any formal permission from the UN, decided to begin air strikes on Iraq on the eve of the Holy Month of Ramadan that was to begin in the Islamic World. The claim was that Saddam Hussain was not allowing routine checks to be conducted by United Nations authorities, and, after several warnings had still not permitted the investigations to go on. He, with the joint effort of Prime Minister Tony Blair, felt that the only way to resolve this situation was through attack. They believe strongly that Saddam Hussain is a rogue leader, who is denying his people of food and medicine, threatening “The World” with his military stockpiles, and is not deserving of power. That was their justification for the bombing.
Perhaps what President Clinton claims is true. Perhaps it is true that Saddam Hussain is not complying with his agreement. Perhaps it is also true that Saddam Hussain poses a threat to nearby nations and abuses its military power. It may also be true that many of the Iraqi people are suffering due to the poor allocation of resources and even they may believe that Saddam Hussain is an evil man. However, how is it that bombs will do anything more than to kill and take away resources from the already suffering civilians?
Since the end of the Gulf War, over 100,000 Iraqis have died as a direct result of the five year long sanctions imposed by the United Nations. The people are starving, selling their daughters in exchange for money, and are dying in epidemic proportions. Saddam Hussain is certainly not giving food to his people, nor is he supplying them with sufficient medical care. However, the reason for that is that there isn’t enough food or medicine to allocate. The sanctions, led by the United States, have left the Iraqis without food to eat or water to drink. Saddam Hussain is having five course meals in his lavish palaces while people are starving. However, President Clinton is doing the same. Both world leaders seem to sit in luxurious thrones, while denying the innocent food and water. By allowing the sanctions to continue, President Clinton, in the exact same manner, is killing the Iraqi people. Why is it, then, when President Clinton deprives the Iraqi people of food and other essential resources that he is not considered an evil man?
The President claimed that Saddam Hussain was abusing the military power that he had accumulated and that it was in the best interest of “The World” for the United States to disarm Iraq. It is true that Iraq invaded Kuwait many years ago, and perhaps that would be considered “abuse of power” to some. However, wouldn’t it be “abuse of power” if Iraq, instead of merely entering Kuwait, bombed it? Would it be “abuse of power” if another country bombed Kuwait? Would it be “abuse of power” if Iraq bombed another country? Why is it, then, when America bombs another country it is not considered “abuse of power”?
President Clinton seems to be doing the exact same things as Saddam Hussain. Doesn’t that make him a rogue leader and an evil man? Doesn’t Iraq then, in a similar fashion, have the right to bomb the United States and claim it for the betterment of “The World”? President Clinton’s actions are more than just hypocritical and unjustifiable, they are affecting the lives of innocent people. His decisions have lead to the deaths of innocent men, women and children, and have left Saddam Hussain in an equally powerful position as he once was. Not only has President Clinton left homeless and injured people, he is killing off an entire population.
When I speak to my Iraqi friends and hear their stories of fear and tragedy, I find myself more and more ashamed of the country I come from. I find myself asking how Americans can claim that they stand for the rights of humanity when they so easily take lives of thousands. Is the life of an Iraqi child not worth the same as the life of an American child? What sort of a country do we live in where one man can authorize the deaths and the murders of innocent people for better security of his own position? What sort of people are we that we elect such people to represent our nation? And what sort of human beings are we if we didn’t notice this before?