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Are we better off without Saddam? Ask the families of dead, wounded

Posted: Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Since the fall of the Baath Party and Saddam Hussein, many Americans and their politicians have posed the question in support of the Iraq war: "Aren't we better off without Saddam?"

It is assumed that a positive answer to the question lies within the question itself. After all, this is the man that years ago used chemical weapons to kill thousands of his own people. The world most certainly must be better off without him around. Right?

Wrong!

The chief reason for the United States waging preemptive war against Iraq was to prevent Saddam from using his chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction (WMD) either directly against the United States in the future or put such weapons in the hands of terrorists for future use against the U.S. or its friends in the Middle East.

President Bush in his 2003 State of the Union speech left no doubt that Saddam had these weapons and if the U.S. waited any longer for him to confess and disclose the whereabouts of the WMD, Americans' security would be gravely threatened. War was preemptively necessary, said the president.

Now that the "official" combat is over, the Saddam regime is gone and indeed Saddam himself behind bars, our government tells us there are no WMD to be found in Iraq. In the meantime, more than 500 American armed forces men and women have died in the pursuit of finding WMD. The number increases every day.

There have been other deaths of foreign armed forces personnel; Iraqi civilian men, women and children; clergy; foreign contract workers; Red Cross volunteers; United Nations' workers; and others. There are thousands more wounded. The total death toll far exceeds the number of American soldiers killed so far.

Given that the primary reason for the war was the capture and destruction of Saddam's WMD and there are no WMD in Iraq, the deaths and wounds weren't for a just cause. There has been useless and needless bloodshed for something that never existed WMD that posed an imminent threat to Americans' security.

In light of the useless carnage that has resulted from the "wild goose" chase, I believe we are not better off without Saddam. Had Saddam remained in power he would have no WMD and therefore, there would be no imminent threat to Americans. Without the war in Iraq, those hundreds of dead American soldiers would be alive today enjoying life with their family and friends. The wounded would be totally healthy.

Those who ask "Aren't we better off without Saddam?" should ask the loved ones of the dead and wounded. I bet their answer is no.

Chuck Robinson, Soldotna



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