Monday President Bush solemnly addressed the nation about the seemingly imminent threat of Saddam Hussein’s “arsenal of terror.” This speech comes one month before voters go to the polls for midterm elections, deciding the makeup of the Congress for the rest of Bush’s term.
While Bush does make a convincing argument about the horrible threat reverberating from the Middle East, this push for American invasion is badly timed, leading some people to raise questions about his motives.
After September 11, Bush made the large policy leap from pursuing Al Qaeda to associating Iraq with Al Qaeda and an “axis of evil.” In doing so, Bush signed America up for years of battles in the halls of Congress, in United Nations negotiations, and eventually in the deserts of Iraq.
But this has some people asking: Why now? Why didn’t the U.S. unseat Saddam Hussein in 1991, at the end of the conflicts with Iraq? Because America found that the thing for which it was fighting-oil-was stabilizing. There was no political need to unseat him, so America didn’t. A war was fashioned and key strategic points decided upon by supply and demand theories of economics.
Now a war is being crafted by November elections and approval ratings. Key strategic points are being decided not based on things like support from the global community (because America does not have it) but instead on issues like the emotions of foolhardy Americans and voter turn-out.
And even if America accepted all this, the fact is that Americans who support going to war with Iraq want to do it now. A new Gallup Poll finds that while slightly more than half of all Americans favor sending U.S. ground troops into Iraq to remove Hussein from power, if the invasion were to get started now, approval would jump to almost three-quarters (CNN.com).
So what should the administration do? Stop quibbling about U.N. weapons inspectors, the president’s war powers and other petty issues and pick a plan of action. President Bush: stop waving veiled threats to Iraqi generals and choose to war or not to war.
War is one of man’s ugliest tendencies; the administration should stop floundering about and decide because the people of Iraq will be the victims in this, and they need time to map out the safest route to the nearest refugee camp.