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Consider facts carefully

Letter to the Editor | Wednesday, October 8, 2003

Pardon my frankness, but Peter Quaranto, in his Oct. 7 column, needs to bring his head down from the clouds and take a glance at the real world.

So Pope John Paul II and John Mearsheimer challenge the United States’ case for going to war. Does this make the case wrong? I believe the Pope to be a wise, keen and benevolent man, one of my favorites amongst world leaders. But he is aging, and even in the sharpest of men, age takes its toll. Further, did he have all of the information? If, as we now see, the United States did not, and the United States has extensive security and intelligence networks, how could the Pope? The fact is that despite ensuing problems, such as unemployment, as Quaranto cites, the Iraqi people are free of the oppressive Baathist regime. As a Catholic, I see this as something of a justification of the war on Iraq, if not a complete justification. As the United States is a member of the United Nations, it would seem appropriate that the United States desire to remove Hussein from power, by any means necessary if it comes down to it.

However, neither the United Nations nor Quaranto seems to agree with this. Sadly, members of the United Nations were more concerned with putting their own concerns ahead of those of the Iraqi people. It seems that say, the French, were more concerned with Iraqi oil than the Iraqi people. And what of the weapons found in Iraq that have been preliminarily linked to France, though the French deny it?

Yes, I will concede that oil was likely a major influence in the American decision to go to war. However, in doing this selfish deed, the United States would by necessity alleviate the Iraqi people by removing Hussein. So we see two similar ideas in which the nations put their own desires above the needs of the Iraqi people. But by carrying out the Americans’ selfish goal, some good was done. So we must decide, which is better, a bad thing that leads to good, or a bad thing that leads to continued oppression? I would think the former to be the lesser of two evils. But what do I know?

Having said that about the United Nations, how can we trust the organization to be given authority over Iraq? With all of its in-fighting and the selfish desires of its members, how can it be said to still even have a strong purpose? I agree with Quaranto in his claims about the problems with the United States continuing as the primary re-builder, but to me this is, sadly, the lesser of two evils.

Quaranto cites a United Nations claim that $40 billion would be enough to end world hunger and provide every child with clean drinking water, basic health care and education. He mentions the growing poverty and unemployment in the United Sates. Here, I do sympathize with his argument. I personally am fiercely anti-free trade, and think our government should be taking more proactive steps to bring jobs back to Americans instead of giving them to foreign workers who suffer from labor abuses by corporations not made accountable for their actions.

However, I find one major fault with Quaranto’s idealistic notion of ending world hunger and doing all of those other wonderful deeds. How on earth do we do it? Do we really think that Hussein would have let all of the amenities reach his people in full quantity without keeping some for himself and his soldiers? Or what about Kim Jong Il? The man is infamous for keeping humanitarian aid out of the hands of the many North Koreans starving at the hands of his oppressive reign.

How have we managed to get food where it needed to go? Through force. A case in point is Somalia. While as a military venture to oust General Aideed and his war machine, as well as competing warlords, the mission was a failure, it was successful in ending the famine affecting such a huge majority of the Somali people. How did we succeed? We sent in troops to defend convoys and poor areas from the warlords.

I have attempted to, in the most intelligent and coherent way I can, point out why force is sometimes necessary, and how it may be justified in Iraq. Carefully note that I said “may.” I do not know if this venture by the War Party is justified. I do not know if I will ever believe it to be just, or unjust. Perhaps even 20 years from now I shall still be on the fence. But it is not the place of Quaranto, or anyone, to be so hasty as to judge this war without first seeing what ensues over the coming years.

Nathan Origer sophomore Fisher Hall Oct. 7