American Foreign Policy

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Tyler Kurtz
10/15/12
Essay #2
The United States military occupation in the Middle East, or the “War on Terror” as it is sometimes called, is one of the most hotly debated subjects to date. The attacks on the World Trade Center and Washington, D.C. on September 11, 2001, along with the history of Saddam Hussein, created an extremely difficult situation for President George Bush and the rest of the government. The United States was not a stranger to war in the Middle East; in the early 90’s, the United States was fighting the Gulf War in the Middle East.

The attacks on 9/11 were committed by Al Qaeda, as Islamic terrorist organization based in the Middle East. The attacks consisted of four commercial planes being hijacked by suicide terrorists, and deliberately being flown into buildings. Two planes hit the World Trade Center in lower Manhattan, and those buildings subsequently collapsed within two hours. The other two planes were aimed at the Pentagon and Capitol Building in Washington D.C. The former reached its target, obliterating a portion of the building. The latter, however, was brought down over Pennsylvania, due to the passengers of the plane attempting to regain control from the terrorists. Osama bin Laden, who was thought to be the leader of Al Qaeda, did not claim credit for the attacks until 2004. Saddam Hussein, President of Iraq, was one of the only leaders in the world to praise the 9/11 attacks.

The question whether or not going to war was an appropriate response to the 9/11 attacks, as well as Hussein’s actions, in my opinion, is a resounding yes. After 9/11, the most significant threat to U.S. security was rogue states with WMD’s. Hussein had been attempting to develop WMD’s for decades, and without the opposition destroying his nuclear sites on numerous occasions, it is very possible that Hussein would have been in possession of WMD’s by 2001. In a speech made by Vice President Dick Cheney to a national convention of Veterans of Foreign Wars in 2002, he states that, “…many of you will recall that Saddam's nuclear ambitions suffered a severe setback in 1981, when the Israelis bombed the Osirak reactor. They suffered another major blow in Desert Storm and its aftermath.” Cheney went on the say that, “But we now know that Saddam has resumed his efforts to acquire nuclear weapons… Many of us are convinced that Saddam Hussein will acquire nuclear weapons fairly soon” The mere thought of a leader like Hussein in possession of nuclear weapons is terrifying. Though it is unclear whether or not he actually was in possession of WMD’s around the time of 9/11, Hussein was being purposefully vague. He implemented a strategy known as deterrence by doubt. Hussein believed that nuclear weapons were essential to deterring countries like Iran from attacking, so even if he did not have them, he found that it was better for every else to wonder if he did or not.

Another significant reason for going to war against Iraq was to remove Saddam Hussein from office. According to Bruce Jentleson, in his book, American Foreign Policy, “Saddam Hussein truly was among the worst of the worst dictators. He had used chemical weapons against his own people. He had murdered thousands, tortured thousands more. He had started two wars against his neighbors.” Hussein’s reign was responsible for killing thousands of people; men, women and children alike. In President Barack Obama’s address concerning the war, he stated that, “In the days that followed, our nation was united as we struck at al Qaeda and routed the Taliban in Afghanistan.  Then, our focus shifted.  A second war was launched in Iraq, and we spent enormous blood and treasure to support a new government there.” He had shown a willingness to go to war and to use chemical weapons, and the evidence had shown that he would not be removed from power, considering his reign lasted over two decades and through two wars.

A third reason to go into Iraq was pure humanitarianism....
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