Surrendering Iraq risks America’s defense

Stephen Ontko

Despite the financial crisis overshadowing current events, Iraq remains extremely important regarding America’s safety and well-being.

The situation in Iraq during Saddam Hussein’s rule became increasingly unsustainable.

His weapons programs eluded the international community, whereby AP reported Mar. 17, 2003 that U.N. inspectors had been absent from the country for four years before November 2002.

The international community’s deliberations were also becoming inconsequential. The BBC reported Mar. 18, 2003 that MP Nicholas Winterton said Saddam violated 17 U.N. resolutions, and Tony Blair added Iraq had more than 12 years to come clean on its weapons programs.

Also, U.N. sanctions were nullified by $21 billion in illegal revenue including $4.4 billion in Oil for Food corruption, propping up Saddam’s regime, the BBC reported Nov. 16, 2004.

Saddam Hussein remained a serious threat to the United States because of this diplomatic failure.

Frank J. Gaffney Jr., C.E.O. for the Center for Security Policy, said Iraq had moved “quantities of weapons of mass destruction from Iraq into Syria” in a statement before the Committee on Armed Services’ hearing on WMD in Iraq on Jun. 29, 2006.

Such a network in place could fuel nuclear proliferation. ABC reported Oct. 19, 2007 that Israel bombed a suspected nuclear facility in Syria that had a North Korean design.

Gaffney also cited the Iraq Survey Group, charged with finding WMD in Iraq, stating that Saddam continued “low-level research and development on and even production of chemical and biological agents.”

The Armed Services Committee also presented declassified findings that “500 munitions containing mustard or sarin nerve agent” were also found.

Given these immense threats emanating from Iraq and the anti-war sentiment of today, apparently Democrats would’ve been all right resting America’s security on Saddam Hussein’s shoulders.

Especially when Barack Obama, referred to the war in Iraq as “dumb” on Oct. 2, 2002, according to his campaign Web site.

A surrender from Iraq would be irresponsible, and Obama considered exactly that as early as 2007, according to CNN on Nov. 20, 2006. This is completely nonsensical and highly dangerous. Retreating from Iraq would have only given the terrorists a safe haven and hope to acquire chemical WMD. Gaffney again cited the group in that they were only able to evaluate less than a fourth of a percent of known weapons caches. Retreating from Iraq would do nothing but counter the objective for the war in the first place: preventing terrorists from acquiring WMD.

Today, if Obama had his way, the surge success never would have happened. He clearly opposed the surge, as evident on Meet the Press on Nov. 11, 2007. Obama catered to the public’s political whims during an unpopular war.

John McCain, ever since U.S. forces were in Iraq for five months, called for additional troops to quell the insurgency, NPR reported Mar. 14. McCain was right in calling for the surge that was finally ordered in February 2007.

NPR reported Aug. 1 that the U.S. suffered the least casualties since the war began. Attacks in Iraq were down 70 percent about 15 months after the surge began, USA Today reported on May 30. Additionally, IED fatalities declined by 78 percent during the year starting about six months after the surge began, the Christian Science Monitor reported Sept. 8.

The military surge in Iraq enabled the country to become self-sufficient in its security. According to a Wall Street Journal editorial Sept. 2, Iraqi forces contributed to their nation’s security and “routed Shiite militias in Basra and Sadr City” last spring. The editorial also noted a remarkable achievement of the surge: 11 out of 18 Iraqi provinces have had security transferred from U.S. to Iraqi forces, including Al-Anbar province, proved to be one of the deadliest during the entire war for American troops.

When Americans vote, they should realize one candidate supports victory and defending America, the other, surrender and bolstering our enemies.

Stephen Ontko is a senior economics major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].