The real question that decides the ‘should we attack Iraq’ dilemma is whether or not Saddam Hussein is a real threat. News flash: The answer is no.

Like many of the world’s leaders, Saddam is guilty of ruthless genocide against an indigenous population within his own country and of illegal aggression toward innocent neighbors. Like other world leaders, he has built a regime devoid of a real democratic process and civil liberties, and he has directed the wealth of the country to the ruling elite, leaving much of his citizens to starve. This is a scenario we have seen in countries in Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America. We have even seen some of it here.

But while the Bush administration uses Saddam’s past and the possibility of owning weapons of mass destruction (that he probably bought from the United States during the war with Iran in the 1980s) as indicators that he would plan to harm American citizens or American interests abroad, a deeper understanding of Saddam’s motives makes this idea unconvincing.

Saddam has never committed an atrocity on ideological principle. He has only used such means for political and economic strength to stay in power. For example, he gassed innocent Kurds because their independence movement posed a threat to his stability. The invasion of Kuwait was to control oil and secure more commodities for Iraq. All of this resulted in Saddam holding a tighter grip on power.

However, an attack against America would not further his interests in keeping power. He knows that if he were to strike, America and its allies would most certainly defeat his defunct military, topple his regime and very possibly kill him. Unless he has suddenly become suicidal, such motivation would be a complete reversal to how Saddam has conducted power for his entire reign.

We have also heard rumors that Iraq supports al-Qaida. While American officials can only verify this by proving that Mohammed Atta once had lunch with an Iraqi, there are other regimes that have more acutely supported terrorism. For one, Saudi Arabia, our ally, has had more proven al-Qaeda involvement than Iraq. Furthermore, Saddam’s Ba’athist philosophy is strictly opposed to fundamentalist Islam. He knows that if he strengthens that movement, it will be a threat to his stability as well, and he cannot afford that.

Sadly, even our closest allies have been complicit in sponsoring terrorism. Even the United States has aided terrorists, including al-Qaida and the Taliban, by granting them money, intelligence, training etc.

German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder proposed the well-thought out and historically-accurate argument that attacking America would not be in Hussein’s interests. While he brought a clear political analysis to argue against war, the only response the Bush administration could come up with were a huff and an insulting remark about Schroeder acting on behalf of “Old Europe.” How mature.

There is no altruism involved in the argument for this war. Pro-war advocates base it on a threat that does not exist, for they are either not intelligent enough to understand this logic or blinded by nationalism. Whether the real reasons for war are oil, a distraction from a falling economy or a need for higher ratings for CNN and Fox News, it will be unnecessary motives that will result in our brothers, fathers and best friends returning home in body bags and more innocent Iraqis dying under our guns, bombs and sanctions.

Currently, we are living under a Code Orange terrorism alert. Unless this is a false alarm to install a state of fear, the rise in terrorist activity is a result of this aggression, which is based solely on the superfluous interests of this administration and its supporters. If an attack occurs, it will be evil and unforgivable, however it will be brought on by our arrogance and our fear of a threat that does not exist.

Paul is an RC junior and a member of the Daily’s editorial board.

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