Bush should get priorities straight

Rex Hall Jr.

Nobody likes a bully, the guy that pushes you around at school just because he’s bigger – just because he can.

As if the flexing of his muscles and a quick flash of his temper will cause those around him to cower in fear and hand over their milk money without a second thought.

As fun as it may be to be known as the most powerful force on the playground, no one wants to be remembered as the one who picked the fights just to see what would happen.

No one – except Dubya.

With the war on terrorism in full swing and the country of Afghanistan resembling America’s personal piece of Swiss cheese, the junior Bush has decided to take it one step further – for the good of our country and those surrounding the mighty empire of Iraq.

Emphasis on “mighty” here.

Bush is planning to flex some muscle on the matter. Iraq and its leader Saddam Hussein have ducked U.N. weapons inspectors repeatedly, causing many to question what exactly he and his counterparts have to hide.

Maybe several weapons of mass destruction.

Maybe nothing.

Bush insists that the impending war against Iraq is simply an extension of the U.S. bid to rid the world of terrorists and those who support them.

Iraq fits that mold perfectly. Led by an infamous dictator and full of underclass workers, the country is a poster child for Bush’s battle with any and every country or leader that flashes a distaste for the U.S.

But, let’s take it one step at a time. Finish the job we began before we ignite other fires we may not be able to put out.

Let’s remember that somewhere – only God knows where – the man who funded and planned the worst terrorist attack ever on American soil, may still be alive.

Still breathing.

Still plotting.

But, instead of finishing the job in Afghanistan and then squashing other threats, Bush is going all out in his beef with Iraq. He’s flexing his muscle. He’s stealing the milk money for his safe keeping.

The U.S. punished Afghanistan and the Al-Queda network following Sept. 11.

As it should have.

Now, with approval from the Security Council of the U.S.-Iraq resolution, it will likely do the same to Iraq.

As it should not.

Americans have been bombarded with images of their president warning of weapons of mass destruction and a terror network that includes Iraq and Hussein.

All those words.

And no proof.

No proof that Iraq ever had anything to do with the catastrophe of Sept. 11. No proof of a terror network in Iraq or weapons of destruction being used by the dictatorship.

Just words.

It is worth noting that if Iraq and Hussein do possess weapons that can kill an entire generation, countries close to Iraq’s borders are at risk, most notably, Israel, a country that has proven in the past to be a faithful and formidable ally to the U.S.

But the move by America to strike against Iraq is premature. It is a move that is less about liberty and freedom, than about a son finishing what his father could not.

When George H.W. Bush stopped short of Baghdad in the early 90s, he allowed Hussein the opportunity to keep breathing and plotting. It was Bush and former president Ronald Reagan who were at the helm during the Iran-Iraq conflict in the 1980s. During the long, arduous ordeal, the U.S. supplied Iraq with weapons to defeat its enemy.

Now the U.S. wants them back. Now Junior is going to make dad proud. And he will cause a nation to rise with his words.

But words can hurt. They can strike at the heart.

In the coming months, members of the National Guard will make their way to Iraq to fight a war they don’t belong in. The husbands, wives, sons, daughters and college students will fight for their country.

Some Western students have been told to be ready, to be prepared to pack their bags at a moment’s notice. And they will go when that call comes.

Some may even give their lives. Let us pray they don’t.

But, if they do, Bush, the playground bully – and his words – will be left to blame.

And the blood will be on his hands.

Rex Hall Jr. is a senior print journalism major from Louisville.