History: A Guide to Dealing with Saddam?
Both opponents and supporters of a war in Iraq are using history to buttress their arguments. So whose got history on their side? You decide.
What Are the Odds Saddam Would Use Weapons of Mass Destruction Against Us?
Peggy Noonan, writing in the Wall Street Journal, February 10, 2003:
Should we think past is prologue? It would seem realistic to think that, especially when we see his increased hunger for more and bigger weapons. The anti-invasion people don't address what they think a man like Saddam will do in the future if no one stops him. Recently I asked a friend, an intellectual who is passionately antiwar and anti-Bush, what he thinks Saddam will do if we do not remove him. At first my friend dodged the question with anti-neocon invective, but when I pressed he admitted he had no idea what Saddam would do if he were not stopped--and he didn't care.
But you have to care. It's irresponsible not to.
How is Saddam a threat to world safety? Well, you don't develop chemical and biological weapons to establish world peace. You get them, you spend your treasure to get them, to use them, one way or another at one time or another. He's used the weapons he has in the past--both conventional weapons in his invasions, and unconventional weapons in his gassing of the Kurds and Iranians. He seems never to shy from violence. Do we want him to go nuclear, and then deal with him then? That would seem an unwise gamble.
John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt, writing in the New York Times, February 2, 2003:
[W]hat about the Iraqi regime's weapons of mass destruction? Those who reject containment point to Iraq's past use of chemical weapons against the Kurds and Iran. They also warn that he will eventually get nuclear weapons. According to President Bush, a nuclear arsenal would enable Mr. Hussein to ''blackmail the world.'' And the real nightmare is that he will give chemical, biological or nuclear weapons to Al Qaeda.
These possibilities sound alarming, but the dangers they pose do not justify war.
Mr. Hussein's use of poison gas was despicable, but it tells us nothing about what he might do against the United States or its allies. He could use chemical weapons against the Kurds and Iranians because they could not retaliate in kind. The United States, by contrast, can retaliate with overwhelming force, including weapons of mass destruction. This is why Mr. Hussein did not use chemical or biological weapons against American forces or Israel during the 1991 Persian Gulf war. Nor has he used such weapons since, even though the United States has bombed Iraq repeatedly over the past decade.