A Torn View
By Nicole P.
The United States–however united our name is, however united we think we are–is very divided. Some of us like President Bush and his morals, some of us do not; not all Americans believe we should be in Iraq. When this war started, about 52% of Americans believed it was a good idea (October 2002). Now, only 37% of America believes it was (December 2005). That’s a 15% decrease in three years. I’m on the fence. I want the US to stay in Iraq for some reasons, and I want to leave Iraq for some reasons. Many things influence my arguments, including my peers, family, and the US’s history with Iraq.
The history between Iraq and America is long and confusing. The bite sized version is a little easier to handle; for 8 years, we supported Iraq (1980 – 1988). Then, when they started to use chemical weapons on Iran, we critiqued their actions, yet continued to give them money and weapons. In 1988, Saddam and Iraq used chemical weapons and the Kurds and we ignored it. Finally, in 1990, we decided to use action when Iraq invaded Kuwait. We bombed their water and electrical facilities and used depleted uranium on their troops. This cause Iraq to pull out of Kuwait, but also destroyed their economy. We also did not support an overthrow of Saddam for fear of an upset in the balance of power. After all of this, we used economic sanctions on Iraq. In 1998, 7 years later, we started to bomb no–fly zones without authority. Lastly, we invaded Iraq as a pre–emptive strike. I told you, our history is long and complicated, but it’s worth it. It affects your opinion on the war, like it affected mine. It has changed my decision from Pro–war to in–the–middle, partly because of everything horrible we have done to Iraq. But all of this combined is not nearly as bad as torture. . .
When I think of the war, the first thing I think of is torture. Saddam Hussein used to do this to his people. His own people! Children were tortured while parents watched, people were shocked, burned, acid was dripped on their skin, tongues were cut out, and women were raped. I believe that this gives us plenty reason to go to Iraq and take down Saddam Hussein. There really isn’t an argument against this, because it is proven that Saddam has one of the worst human rights records in history. Since I’m stuck in the middle, this is the part of be that believes this war is a good idea, like my parents.
But then my other side, the opposing side, comes out when we talk about cost. Let’s say you’ve got $232,987,345,085, the approximate amount of money spent on the war at 2:19 PM on January 11, 2006. You could send more than 30 million children to pre–school, give 159 million children health insurance for one year, or hire 4 million new teachers. Or go to war. You could provide 11 million high–school seniors a full ride for college, build 2 million new houses, or fund global hunger operations or 9 years. Or go to war. You could fund global AIDS programs for 23 years, or make sure that every child in the world has immunizations for the next 77 years. Or go to war. You decide. I don’t know if these figures have an impact on you, but they had a huge impact on me. People on the other side may say that we already spend money on these things.
Well, we do, but if we hadn’t gone to war, we would be able to do more to help these situations reverse. This $232 billion could do a lot for our world rather than war.
Another point comes to mind when I think of this war; Anti – Americanism. If you saw the episode of Oprah when she showed America what other countries think about us, you already know why this war was not a good idea, at least in this aspect. Many countries around the world hate America, because they think we’re ignorant, self obsessed, liberal, and numerous other things. If most of the Middle East already hates America, and we invade Iraq, that hatred could spread. This could cause more terrorism against our country, instead of preventing it. People against this argument may say that not all people hate us, and that not all people are terrorists, but even one terrorist can make a huge difference on our safety and our lives. One terrorist that hates America could cause another September 11th. One terrorist could cause an even worse situation for our country. I feel that this should show America that invading Iraq was a bad idea, but unfortunately, most Americans believe that the rest of the world sees us as a knight in shining armor. This is definitely not true.
In the end, I’m torn. I can’t say that I love the President, but I also can’t say I hate him and his decisions. I have no control over what the US does as a whole. I can’t side with my peers, but I can’t side with my parents. I can, however, have my own beliefs; I believe that we should stay in Iraq to prevent more torture, but I also believe that we should not have invaded in the first place, because it was so expensive and it could spread Anti–Americanism. You may not agree with my ideas, but thank you for listening to them. Just remember, this war is not perfect.