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Arizona Daily Wildcat
September 18, 2002

U.S. should think about long-term consequences of attacks

I have to applaud Jessica Lee's bold column in today's Wildcat. It's going to take a lot of strong-willed and logical voices (like Lee's) to stem the U.S. administration's feverish, warmongering attitudes. Lee's column affirms that the time is now to take prompt action to right the misguided foreign policy of the United States to one that is more in tune with the social, economic and environmental realities of a global community. It is through the establishment of fair relations with other nations that we can take the fuel away from terrorist organizations, such as al-Qaeda.

More invasions, like the proposed one against Iraq, will only serve to generate additional Arab animosity towards the U.S. and its allies. We all know from Sept. 11 that violence is not a valid political expression. Why we have dishonored that by killing thousands of Afghan civilians in the recent U.S. attacks is beyond me. As bad as that is, we can't let it get to the next level. Thousands of Iraqi civilians have already died from U.S.- and British-backed attacks during and since Desert Storm, and hundreds of thousands have perished as a direct result of post-Storm economic sanctions.

To invade Iraq would surely cause additional significant civilian casualties. And these are real people with families, not just CNN and defense department-labeled "collateral damage." These are families who have real children, kids who can be molded to hate the United States for our actions against their country.

We would all be wise to consider what Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien said about the long-term consequences of our actions. We can't be ignorant enough to think that we'll have the highest level of global influence forever. In closing, let's carefully consider all non-violent alternatives while we still have the best chance to succeed with them, and unite against violence as an acceptable expression of our national conscience.

John Clinebell
support systems analyst
The SALT Center

False allegations against U.S. easily refuted with real facts

This is in response to Tyler McMillen's Sept. 16 letter, "America needs to ask whether killing civilians is truly justified."

McMillen is simply stating opinion and throwing around false allegations.

Unfortunately, he cannot back up any of his claims with facts. Please let me take some time to present to you the real facts.

Allegation: We are about to kill thousands of civilians in Iraq. We have killed more than a million civilians in the last decade.

Fact: I assume that the million civilian casualties are a result of the sanctions imposed by the U.N. (Not the United States). The oil-for-food program was established in 1997 to alleviate the suffering of the civilian population. Hussein has used this additional money to build self-serving palaces, to restock his war arsenal and continue his research and development of weapons of mass destruction. In 2001, Hussein pocketed $11 billion from the U.N.'s oil-for-food program almost one third of the $38.6 billion of the funds allowed under the program.

Allegation: The United States fabricated several events to justify attacks against Libya, and attacks against Iraq during the Gulf War.

Fact: On April 5, 1986, 200 people were injured when a bomb exploded in a German discotheque. 63 were American soldiers. One soldier died. The occurrence of this attack has never been questioned. I'm sure 136 German citizens can confirm the bombing if McMillen won't accept the word of Americans. Earlier this month, Gaddafi admitted his country's involvement in sponsoring terrorism in the 80s. On Aug. 2, 1990, Iraqi forces invaded Kuwait and quickly seized control of the small nation. The U.N., not just the United States, demanded an immediate withdrawal. Only after five months of failed diplomacy did coalition forces begin their campaign to push Iraqi forces out of Kuwait.

Allegation: UNSCOM was a U.S. tool to send spies into Iraq. Again, where are the facts?

Fact: I certainly hope McMillen isn't counting on former U.N. inspector Scott Ritter to give him accurate information. Ritter's credibility came into question the minute he accepted $400,000 from Iraqi-American real estate developer Shakir al-Khafaji, who admits to being a pro-Saddam supporter.

As an intelligence officer for the U.S. Army, I will admit to having a pro-U.S. bias, but at least I also provide facts. I invite McMillen to rewrite his letter and back up his claims with facts this time.

Steve Campbell
junior majoring in Spanish

More U.S.-waged war in the Middle East would be tragic

It is very difficult for me to understand how Westerners and especially Americans think that the rest of the world hates them because of the democracy and freedom Westerners are living. Canada's prime minister, who has been with the government for over nine years, gave the right perspective: "I do think that the Western world is going to be too rich in relation to the poor world. And necessarily, we are looked upon as being arrogant, self-satisfying, greedy and with no limits. The 11th of September is an occasion for me to realize it even more." I hope Americans also can see what the prime minister has realized.

Let's take a few examples. If we look at the situation in Iraq, we would realize why people (like Iraqis) hate the United States. Yesterday, the Iraqi government offered to let weapons inspectors return "unconditionally" to Iraq; however, the White House response was that that isn't enough. This is really strange. Isn't that the reason why Bush was calling for war against Iraq? But now, when Iraq wants to comply with the U.N. conditions, this is still not enough for the Bush administration! If I were an Iraqi, what would I think? We probably all agree that I would hate the United States which is searching for any reason to attack my country. Let's take an even close look. During the Gulf War and over 12-year sanctions on Iraq, how many politicians died? None. How many children died? More than ten thousand. Obviously, this means that war and sanctions kill innocents and not guilty people. Hence, I believe that Iraqis have their reasons to hate the United States. Let's look at another example: Palestinians. Well, the Israelis have occupied their country for more than 50 years. Who supports Israel? I think we all know how many billions of dollars (including weapons) the United States donates yearly to Israel.

In summary, the western world, including the U.S., tries to police the world and control its resources, especially the oil fields. In addition, they are changing governments here and there in the name of freedom and democracy. When will Westerners remember that we are all created equal? When will they start treating the rest of the world as humans? When will they give them the chance to choose their leaders the same way it is done in the United States? I hope this happens soon, before another disaster takes place.

Alaa Muqattash
ECE graduate student

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