Bully or protector?

Posted: Thursday, February 13, 2003

I appreciated the letter from Barbara Kelly that you published on Feb. 10. I agree people must speak out either for or against the war. I have good friends that think we must oust Saddam, and I hope they speak also, but for me ....

I fear our own policies are currently more of a threat to world peace than is Saddam Hussein. Yes, Saddam is a cruel dictator who abuses his own people. For this reason I wish a more benevolent leader would take his place. No, I don't believe for a minute he is trustworthy. Yes, he is a festering problem who may trigger war in the Middle East. Yes, it would be to our national advantage for him to be replaced.

But none of these reasons suffice for us to take military action against him without an imminent threat to our national security. We don't have the right to change regimes. Saddam presents a threat to Israel and to our oil supplies, but neither justifies us stepping in and precipitating the very type situation we are worried about. Because we fear a madman striking a match in a room full of gasoline is hardly reason for us to charge in with the lit match.

The Bush administration has given every signal that we plan to attack Iraq regardless of what the U.N. does, regardless of what our allies think, regardless of what the world in general thinks, perhaps regardless of what the majority of its citizens think. It is wrong for us to invade a country to overthrow its government. We have developed a stance that makes us look more like a bully than a protector of freedom and justice.

We cannot support the United Nations only when it agrees with us. It is a tool for world peace and stability, far from a perfect tool, but better than the "right of might." The United Nations has not failed us yet in this present round with Iraq. We must let the diplomatic process work. If Iraq must be attacked, it absolutely must be under the United Nations umbrella.

Richard Stokes


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