George Bush properly articulated American xenophobia in a Nov. 8 statement following the passage of a U.N. resolution calling for Iraqi disarmament of biological, chemical and nuclear weapons.
“We are actively pursuing dangerous terror networks across the world. And we oppose a uniquely dangerous regime; a regime that has harbored terrorists and could supply terrorists with weapons of mass destruction; a regime that has built such terrible weapons and has used them to kill thousands; a brutal regime with a history of both reckless ambition and reckless miscalculation. The United States of America will not live at the mercy of any group or regime that has the motive and seeks the power to murder Americans on a massive scale.”
That is the perspective of the United States Congress.
That is the attitude of the United Nations Security Council.
Does the American public agree with this judgment?
The president has promised that, “if Iraq fails to fully comply, the United States and other nations will disarm Saddam Hussein.” On Monday, U.N. weapons inspectors arrived in Iraq from Cyprus to search for what they informally call “WMDs” – short for “weapons of mass destruction.”
On Friday, Bush warned that U.N. approval of a new resolution calling for disarmament by Saddam Hussein was a “final test.”
Unless Saddam fully cooperates with weapons inspectors, he faces “the severest consequences,” Bush said.
Throughout the region – from the Persian Gulf to the Horn of Africa to Central Asia – there are now positioned at least 63,000 U.S. troops.
Iraq faces a Dec. 8 deadline to declare the full extent of its weapons projects.
“The just demands of the world will be met,” said Bush.
Mike Cammarata, a junior majoring in biology, believes that “there is a reason they [Iraq] were put under restrictions in the first place.”
“The only reason they have weapons is to use them,” said Cammarata.
Dr. Lynn Durel, associate professor of psychology, argues that the resolution is “a good idea” in principle, “but there are lots of political ramifications.”
She believes that impetuous American opinion, tempered by the U.N. resolution, presents a more balanced agreement in foreign policy.
“There’s always been a threat, whether we recognize it or not,” Durel said of heightened domestic security. “We tend not to mobilize until things get really bad; then it’s all or nothing.
“Most Americans think we’re going to war – it’s a foregone conclusion.”
Durel hopes that there will be more thorough and sustained dialogue on the UM campus, including more active student involvement in domestic and international issues.
Dr. Jonathon Mercantini, a visiting assistant professor of history, is afraid that the Bush administration is “trying to find a reason to fight a war, not trying to find reasons not to fight a war.”
“I don’t think the costs have been adequately weighed by our leaders in Washington,” said Mercantini. “No one’s proven a link to Al-Qaeda; no one’s shown that he has nuclear weapons.”
Mercantini also expressed doubts that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein poses an international threat.
“Does he present an imminent danger to the U.S.? I don’t believe that he does,” he said.
UM Class of ’53 graduate, Captain Robert Henin, continues to audit UM courses fifty years after receiving his bachelor’s degree.
Although he’s a distinguished officer and veteran of World War II, Captain Henin strongly protests U.S. war with Iraq.
“No way. Absolutely not. No American life is worth spending for a country that is no immediate threat to anyone,” he said. “I saw men die and exposed myself to death on many occasions.”
“Nazism was a justifiable enemy- but oil is not worth any human life,” Henin said.
Sam Lockhart can be contacted at email@example.com