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Protesters voice opinions, lack facts

Illustration by Cody Angell
By Steve Campbell
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday March 25, 2003

For weeks leading up to the current war in Iraq, those who were in favor of military action (with a few exceptions) kept silent, knowing that in their minds, disarming Iraq with military force was justified. While at the same time, those who opposed the war took every opportunity they could to open their collective mouth and express their opinions for the whole world to hear.

Now, as week one of Operation Iraqi Freedom comes to a close, let's analyze some of the arguments that continue to come out of the mouths of the anti-war protesters, and see if they have valid points.

Iraq has no weapons of mass destruction. They were destroyed after the first Gulf War. This is a favorite argument among those who believe Iraq poses no threat to the United States or the neighboring countries of Iraq. Among these people is former weapons inspector Scott Ritter.
Steve Campbell

While coalition forces have not found the actual chemical and biological weapons, the U.S military secured a 100-acre site on Sunday in Najaf that is believed to be a weapons factory. Here are the facts. The site was surrounded by electrical wire and booby-trapped. The site was camouflaged, indicating that it produced products for the military.

An Iraqi general was in charge of the installation, further proving the military connection. The general, along with 30 Iraqi soldiers, raised the white flag and became enemy prisoners of war. The general is fully cooperating with coalition forces, providing any information that is being asked of him.

100,000 innocent Iraqis will die in the war. To date, there are a small number of civilians that were killed when a mortar went astray and hit their bus. Also, one Jordanian taxi driver was killed in the initial strike by an F-117 stealth fighter.

Iraq has claimed 200 innocent civilians have been injured in the bombings. Even without taking into consideration the credibility of the Iraqi government, 200 injured civilians should not be confused with 100,000 innocent Iraqi deaths.

A United States-led war in Iraq will lead to a humanitarian disaster. In preparation of thousands of refugees fleeing Iraq into neighboring Jordan, the United Nations set up a tent city to aid those who were fleeing. The tent city is still there, completely vacant of any Iraqi refugees. As a matter of fact, tomorrow at this time, coalition ships will arrive at the Iraqi port of Umm Qasr, carrying the much needed food and medicine that Saddam Hussein has sold on the black market rather than giving to his people.

Who are we to impose our way of life onto others? They don't even want our help. Most would say that the freedoms that we live with are not relegated to "our" way of life, but rather a way of life that should be afforded to everybody. For weeks leading up to the war, we had to rely on the words of Iraqis who fled their country.

They stated that their fellow countrymen are counting the minutes until the United States liberates them. Now, as coalition troops are liberating cities within Iraq, it is clear that the people really did want our help.

One civilian, in the town of Safwan, whose father and brother were murdered by the Iraqi regime, was brought to tears and asked through a translator, "What took you so long? God be with you and make you victorious."

Another civilian by the name of Ali Khemy stated in broken English, "Americans very good. Iraq wants to be free." We no longer need to rely on anti-war demonstrators to tell us what the people of Iraq do and don't want. The words of the Iraqi civilians are a bit more credible.

And all those who ever doubted the cruelty of Saddam Hussein's regime need only to look at how American prisoners of war are being treated.

While Iraqi POWs are given food to eat, access to the Red Cross, and even operated on by U.S. Army doctors, American prisoners are interrogated, tortured and finally executed with a bullet to their heads.

While this seems grotesque to most Americans, this is simply a way of life under the current Iraqi regime. Saddam's son Uday is no exception. His former press secretary recently said this of Uday to ABC News, "Raping is one of his, let me say, hobbies."

So now, at a time when most Americans are supporting our troops overseas, some demonstrators continue to speak their opinions here at home.

As we listen to them, we must remember that what they speak are their opinions and should never be confused with facts.

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