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Launch Iraq Attack? No Way!

Supporters of the Bush administration's silly saber-rattling on Iraq trooped before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last week for a performance that would have been laughable if they were not talking about risking thousands of American and Iraqi lives and spending billions of U.S. dollars on a fool's mission.
The "experts" could not even agree on whether the poverty-stricken and militarily battered Iraq poses a threat to its neighbors, let alone to the United States. They could not agree on whether any U.S. allies would support an attack. They could not agree on how to attack Iraq.

They could not agree on whether a U.S. attack would destabilize the Middle East, nor on whether it might create greater antipathy toward Americans than already exists.

They could not agree on who would or should replace Iraqi President Saddam Hussein as interim leader. They could not agree on how long the United States would have to maintain a military presence or how much that presence would cost - although they generally agreed that it would take a long time and a lot of money.

At the end of two days of testimony, it was clear that Scott Ritter, a former U.N. weapons inspector in Iraq, is right. "This is not about the security of the United States," Ritter says of the administration's rush to war. "This is about domestic American politics. The national security of the United States of America has been hijacked by a handful of neo-conservatives who are using their position of authority to pursue their own ideologically driven political ambitions. The day we go to war for that reason is the day we have failed collectively as a nation."

One need not be a former U.N. weapons inspector to recognize the absurdity of launching a war with Iraq, however. After the hearings, which aired many of the concerns and considerations regarding the administration's plans to try to depose Saddam, The Capital Times sent a reporter out to ask Wisconsinites the question: Is it more dangerous to our safety to try to remove Saddam Hussein from power or leave him alone?

Every person he asked - from computer programmers to office workers to mechanics to student interns - questioned the wisdom of launching a war with the purpose of removing Saddam.

"Removing him from power would be more dangerous to the American public and I think it's pointless," added John Bayley, a mechanic from Madison. "There are all kinds of terrible leaders in the world that we pay no attention to because they don't have oil. That's the whole issue: oil. Follow the money. It's about Bush's war of terrorism against oil-rich states that don't cooperate with us."

"I think it would be more dangerous to remove Saddam from power, especially the way Bush does things. I see him taking a cowboy approach to foreign affairs," said Madison's Rebeca Jefferson, who added that, in the case of Iraq, the president's seat-of-the-pants approach "could seriously backfire."

Members of Wisconsin's congressional delegation - particularly U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold, who sits on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee - should recognize after last week's hearings that there is no rationale for this war. More important, they should listen to the voices of Wisconsinites, whose opposition to launching this unnecessary and dangerous war makes a lot more sense than anything coming from the Bush administration.



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