The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Attacking Iraq poor decision for United States

The American reference of “burning a bridge” can mean two things when referring to the Bush administration and its war on terrorism.

“We’ll burn that bridge when we get there,” gives the first obvious translation meaning that decisions will be made when the nation gets to certain points of the war. Some examples of future “bridges” to cross are the locations for the next crackdown on global terrorism, what the United States will do if it captures Osama bin Laden alive and – in the case of a bridge we’ve hit – how to rebuild Afghanistan.

The other side of this clich‚ is to say the United States is “burning its bridges” with allies by its hints of attacking Iraq.

Aside from international criticism the country has received for its alleged harsh treatment of Taliban and Al-Qaeda detainees in Cuba, many U.S. allies also do not favor the Bush administration’s possible next step.

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It is a step that would attempt to do what Bush’s father, former President George H.W. Bush and current Vice President Dick Cheney (then secretary of defense) failed to do in the Gulf War – oust Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

Bush announced his decision to oust Hussein this week and told the CIA, Pentagon and other U.S. agencies to devise plans for the attack.

Yet none of America’s allies are coming out in support of such a campaign, possibly because America’s own CIA said a few weeks ago that it has no evidence tying Hussein and Iraq to the Sept. 11 attacks, or any other terrorist plots since the failed 1993 Iraqi plan to assassinate former President Bush while he visited the Middle East.

If one looks at the terror alert given Monday by the FBI, the wanted terrorists are listed to be from Yemen, Tunisia and, what seemed to be a common home base for several Sept. 11 terrorists, Saudi Arabia. But that country is our oil friend, not an “axis of evil” like Iraq, North Korea and Iran – countries President Bush listed as terror breeding grounds in his Jan. 29 State of the Union address.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has been a strong ally of Bush and the war on terrorism, spoke recently against a future American attack on Iraq and the mention of an “axis of evil” label.

“We oppose the drawing up of black lists,” Putin told The Wall Street Journal last week.

Although Putin admits Iraq is a problem, he said, “Such problems cannot be solved by one country alone” – meaning America.

President Bush told the country in his address to the nation that America will go into debt in the fight against terrorism and that everyone will have to make sacrifices.

This country will go further into debt if it takes on more than it can handle, like a war with Iraq, when it has not found Osama bin Laden or Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar yet, while committing large amounts of money to fight terrorism at home. The country should secure its borders – an otherwise easy way for terrorists to enter – with the military before any attack on Iraq.

Also, Afghanistan is free of the Taliban, but still needs an enormous amount of financial, food and diplomatic aid to help get it organized and civilized again.

Iraq will require the same if Hussein is overthrown and replaced by a U.S.-friendly leader similar to Afghanistan’s interim leader Hamid Karzai.

If America goes into Iraq alone, it also risks severely hurting relations made with countries in the Middle East since Sept. 11. Not to mention creating even more hatred towards the United States in that region, forming future terror cells.

Bush said last week of Vice President Dick Cheney’s upcoming tour of the Middle East, “There’s nothing like looking somebody in the eye and letting them know that when we say we’re going to fight terror, we mean it.”

Hopefully the military talk is just a front to get Hussein to buckle. Recent reports say Iraq is ready to hold talks “without preconditions” with the United Nations’ secretary general, and that it was a sign of Hussein weakening under increased pressure.

America was deeply hurt Sept. 11 and needed to do what it did in Afghanistan. Yet, the Bush administration has to remember there is strength in numbers, like the United Nations, and that other countries lost citizens in the attacks on the World Trade Center towers.

America needs to work more closely with their allies, listen to them and not burn the vital bridges of support this country cannot afford to lose.

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Attacking Iraq poor decision for United States