Like millions of Americans, I’ve spent the past weeks glued to the television, watching our million-dollar missiles slam into $10 tents with concern and awe – hardly emotions that should apply to what will mean the death and maiming of thousands of soldiers and civilians. Unlike most Americans, I have been reluctant to come out completely against or completely in favor of the war. The pacifist stance doesn’t make much sense to me, as there are foreseeable instances in which preemptive military action could be justified. But I am against this war, and for reasons which until now have been buried in a muddled mix of fear and anger. I see President Bush advocate liberty in Iraq while limiting it at home; he ignores the United Nations in the same breath he extols its necessity. And worst of all, he justifies force in the name of peace – hardly a model of consistency. He stresses the necessity of Saddam’s removal when dozens of other regimes stand at the brink of nuclear development. He has made the case clear that Saddam is dangerous, and I don’t disagree. But which is more dangerous: a man with options or a man facing death?

Scary. Despite the use of the phrase “coalition forces,” make no mistake, this is our war, and a war that has and will change the way the world views the United States of America. It is both ironic and disturbing that we have justified this war as one fought against terrorism, and done so in a matter that will only encourage anti-American sentiment abroad – one of the root causes of terrorism. In the end, our unilateral action may prevent a terrorist attack out of Iraq, but it could also lead to attacks out of any one of dozens of developing nations.

Scary. What of these other “rogue nations?” Should we invade and disarm each? We’re blowing the hell out of Iraq, all the while doing our best not to even talk to the North Koreans. Even if you were to give Bush the benefit of the doubt concerning his diplomatic efforts in the U.N. Security Council, his decision to lump North Korea into the infamous Axis of Evil can only be described as one of the most inept (and dangerous) foreign policy decisions in recent history. Not only does North Korea have little in common with Iran and Iraq, but the move alienated the United States from a regime that had shown its willingness to compromise on its nuclear weapons goals. Fast forward to the present. North Korea has asked for diplomatic talks concerning its nuclear weapons program, and in an effort to express U.S. will, we are systematically refusing their offer.

Scary. The mechanism that helped pull us through the cold war – the United Nations -has seen itself irreparably damaged by this situation. Despite the fact that the United Nations may have disagreed with us, make no mistake, diplomacy did not fail; we failed diplomacy. We made demands, not concessions, insisting there could be no compromise on the issue. Saddam may be a threat, but I can hardly imagine a situation more frightening than a world where no one talks to one another, and all we have left are standard operating procedures.

Scary. Bush has made “regime change” sound like housekeeping, as if we do this kind of thing all the time. We certainly do it all the time, but rarely with any success. From Diem in South Vietnam, to the shah of Iran, to any one of several Latin and South American puppet governments, our track record in pursuing regime change isn’t stellar. Usually, the man we support is the greater of two evils and rarely has but a shred of popular support (funny, given that we usually prop these men up in the name of democracy and liberty).

On a very basic level, if a nation is to initiate open war with another, one would hope that it does so in order that if its objectives are achieved, the world (or at least its own population) would be better off for having fought it. Are we as a nation, as a world, going to be better off for having fought a second Persian Gulf War? The answer, no matter which way I look at it, seems to be an unequivocal, no. On paper, a stable Iraq is being destabilized, a cooperating international community is being alienated, we are weakening a once-potent United Nations, and most troubling, a dangerous leader is being backed into a corner and grossly underestimated. We have deemed our effort “Operation Iraqi Freedom,” as if this had anything to do with freeing a people whom we have spent decades neglecting. Ultimately, my president wants me to believe that this sacrifice, borne by other men and women in blood, and made in my name, will make the world safer in the long run.

But it certainly isn’t making me feel safe.


Adams is an LSA sophomore and a member of the Daily’s editorial board.

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