Letters Diplomacy allows Iraq to defy UN

To the editor:

In 1936, Haile Selassie, emperor of Ethiopia, came to the League of Nations to appeal for support and assistance against Mussolini-led forces invading his country. The League of Nations adopted policies of economic sanctions when it had the ability to militarily intervene into Ethiopia. In choosing not to use military force against an aggressor force led by a despot into a peaceful nation, The League of Nations condemned many soldiers to die in Northern Africa to liberate the area from the Axis powers a few short years later.

Weapons of mass destruction were implemented against the Ethiopian troops; who were totally unprepared for the onslaught they valiantly faced. Italy's dictator chose this action as the most expedient means of reaching conquest over Ethiopia. He prevailed in this battle, only to be removed by Allied military force some years later.

The loss of American service-members was pre-ordained by an international organization's inability to address and measure punitive actions against a hostile, aggressor nation.

After 12 years, we have not one Haile Selassie, but thousands like him with the same cry reaching out to us from Iraq. Need I mention the Kurdish population, the Swamp Muslim extermination program and the hundreds of family members who have disappeared under the dictatorial regime of Saddam Hussein? Iraq is a humanitarian crisis. Amnesty International recognizes the dire straits of life in Iraq today. Yet many side with France, Germany and Russia in demanding additional diplomacy for disarmament. Diplomacy and economic sanctions have not protected Iraqis in the past, nor have they protected key scientists Saddam Hussein has "protected" from UN weapons inspectors.

As a point of contention, the economic sanctions have only hurt the Iraqi population, while Saddam's allies plunder and exploit black market opportunities, including storefront operations in neighboring countries to purchase French made military component repair items that are covertly trucked into Iraq. France is reliant upon Iraqi oil; one wonders why they are so adamant against liberating a country that would provide substantial reductions in oil prices to them.

When protests are made for peace, the protestors must be willing to do more than march, chant and then go home for an evening of criticizing the current administration. If you fervently believe peace is necessary, then understand that Ethiopia was a peaceful nation until invaded.

Today, Iraq is not a nation at peace. Because of the regime's socio-political agenda, every Iraqi lives in fear of their next action. Understand that a neighbor who may have a grievance with you in Iraq can report you as a "suspect" to the police; then within hours you will receive unwelcome visitors that have every intention of "eliminating a subversive." This home invasion is far more heinous than any organized military invasion.

If you believe your protest will create peace in Iraq, show us the way. Provide a solution rather than denigrate. Fully understand the situation and educate yourself on all facets of what is occurring.

We as a nation under three administrations have tried to "play nice" with the Iraqis only to have a WMD program promulgate in direct defiance of the UN mandate. When the inspectors were thrown out in the mid 1990s, the UN may as well have given Iraq carte blanche to do as they please.

Only through the arduous task of managing the no-fly zones were Allied forces able to partially stem aggressor activities. Would most of Iraq's neighbors side with the United States without the impending knowledge that they could be the next Kuwait or Iran? Muslim nations are not fond of the U.S., yet they are some of our strongest allies against Iraq. If this does not indicate the need to have a regime change in Iraq for regional stability and an end to the internal terrorism, explain why the Muslim nations have sided with us.

Time and again, international organizations have stumbled in the face of dictatorial aggression. Remember Pol Pot? When the world needs peace, it is the United States and Great Britain they turn to for support.

Lest we forget that good American soldiers died liberating France from the Vichy figurehead government that was in position thanks to Nazi aggression; for the overthrown French government had not the will or ability to defend itself against Nazi aggression.

Free speech is the cornerstone of any democracy. Iraq is one of the cradles of modern civilization and deserves the ability to live with the government they choose; not one that imposes itself through brute force and murder.

Many German and French underground soldiers died trying to remove the yoke of dictatorship; it was only a military force led by the U.S. and Great Britain dedicated to righting the wrongs of an axis of despots that saved Europe. The same occurs today in Iraq. Protesters have not begun to conceptualize the dynamics of why it is imperative to have regime change in Iraq.

Comparisons of Iraq to Vietnam are moot. Vietnam was started as a policy of stopping Communist aggression after an extended period of tumultuous French colonial occupation dating back to the 1600s.

After the French capitulated at Dien Bien Phu, we began in earnest to salvage the situation. It was completely misinterpreted and mishandled by MacNamara and associates under Lyndon Johnson.

Yet the American population blamed the foot soldier who had served in Vietnam who had little say about any situation.

Colin Powell and Norman Schwarzkopf, along with many in the current high ranking officers and enlisted soldiers of our military served in Vietnam under those conditions; most notably Gen. John "Jack" Keane, warrior of the first class and number two only to Gen. Shinseki. The mistakes made in Vietnam will not resurface as they did during Somalia under President Clinton and Les Aspen.

Simplifying this action to a catchy phrase is deplorable. It shows a complete misunderstanding of how Iraq interacts as a member of the world community. Actually, it allows for more time given to Saddam Hussein to terrorize his own people and interact covertly with various terrorist organizations.

This is as evident as it was when Germany and Italy overran country after country while peace protests in the U.S. discounted intervention into WWII. Our delay then most likely resulted in additional innocent deaths.

"Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it." Are we ready for that?

Jim Larsen


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