COMMENTARY: Allies are reluctant to fight Iraq, so why isn’t Bush?

Jocelyn Robinson

The growing anti war sentiment in Europe has left George W. Bush feeling frustrated.

As U.N. weapons inspectors try to complete their mission, Bush continues to push for a war against Iraq, demanding that the U.N. Security Council approve and pass a war resolution.

But some of our allies, including France and Germany, want to give inspectors more time. They are prepared to slow Bush’s aggressive drive for war and will diplomatically fight the passing of a U.N. resolution.

“We believe war can be avoided,” said France’s Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin. He said that, so far, there is no evidence that merits military action.

Bush has a different view of the matter.

“One thing for sure is, (Hussein’s) not disarming,” Bush said. “Surely our friends have learned lessons from the past.”

Bush is right. Our allies BEGINITALhaveENDITAL learned lessons from the past.

They learned from Reagan’s support of Hussein in the 1980s during the Iran-Iraq war. Reagan provided military intelligence and billions in credit and monitored the sale of arms to Iraq. This information was revealed by Howard Teicher, a member of Reagan’s National Security Council in a 1995 affidavit to a U.S. District Court in Florida.

They learned from America’s public condemnation of Iraq’s use of chemical weapons, even though a 1994 Senate report revealed that American suppliers had exported biological and chemical materials to Iraq between 1985 and 1989.

They learned from U.S. companies that helped sell Iraq the materials they needed to build nuclear weapons.

They learned a lesson from the failure of U.N. sanctions of Iraq, sanctions that resulted in the death of over a million Iraqis from malnutrition and disease between 1991 and 1998.

Half of those who died were children under the age of five.

Our allies seem to have learned from the past all too well.

They learned that America helped create the situation in Iraq and that sometimes America doesn’t fully think about the consequences of its actions.

Bush could learn a lesson from our allies’ reluctance to attack Iraq. He could learn patience and the idea that war must always be a last resort — never a first.

BEGINITALJocelyn Robinson is a senior print journalism and religious studies major from Portland, Ore.ENDITAL