Bush's reasoning not strong enough to justify war on Iraq

Folha De Sao Paulo, Brazil - Sept. 23

Posted: Monday, September 30, 2002

He has weapons with massive destruction capacity, threatens neighboring countries and is implacable with domestic opposition. This description is valid for Saddam Hussein, but it is also for Jiang Zemin, China's top leader; Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan's President and Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan. So, why is the United States threatening Saddam Hussein with a military attack while other leaders, with a similar background, are treated as allies and enjoy a preferential trade partner status? There are several answers for this question, but it is certain that the wish to ''bring justice'' cannot be included among President George W. Bush's main motivations.

It is reasonable to think that President Bush is using Saddam as a pretext to reinforce his hegemonic standing. By seeking to topple Saddam Hussein at any cost, Bush seems to try to demonstrate that he can be tough when it fits his needs.

Even if the U.S. stance has some rationality, it is not exempt of risk. Its effect on terror is doubtful, for instance. On the practical side, it could further undermine the Middle East's stability. The impact on oil prices would not be insignificant. It could even strain U.S. relations with key allies in the west.

What seems advantageous for Bush is that a conflict would increase his popularity. It is little to justify a war.

-- Folha De Sao Paulo, Brazil - Sept. 23

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