Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Uncertainty of the Iraq War

            As the presidential elections of 2008 begin to heat up, the number one question asked by many voters is, “What is your opinion of the war in Iraq?”  Some candidates say that the United States should remain in Iraq, while others say that we should pull out as soon as possible.  Although there is not a definite answer to this question, as always, there are two sides to every story.  In this blog entry, both sides of the argument will be looked at, and the answer to this ever-looming question can be left up to the mind of the reader.

            When the war in Iraq first began, the number one reason for the United States going to Iraq was to search, find, and destroy weapons of mass destruction.  In 2003, a group of United Nations inspectors were sent to Iraq, to locate these weapons.  However, after a thorough investigation of proposed manufacturing sites of these weapons was finished, no weapons were found by any of the inspectors.  Many Americans were furious after this news was released because they felt that we invaded Iraq without full knowledge of what was there. After the Iraq Survey Group concluded their investigation in Iraq, another group of investigators known as the National Ground Intelligence Center began to look for weapons of mass destruction.  By the end of their investigation, they had found at least 500 weapons in Iraq, dating back to 1991.  Although all of these weapons were not made at that exact time, it still showed that Saddam Hussein lied when he told the world that there were absolutely NO weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.  An official from the Department of Defense told FOX news that a statement released after the March 2003 investigation of weapons that stated "we had all known weapons facilities secured," has proven itself to be untrue. "It turned out the whole country was an ammo dump," he said, adding that on more than one occasion, a conventional weapons site has been uncovered and chemical weapons have been discovered mixed within them (“Report:”). Mr. Gaubatz, an earnest, Arabic-speaking investigator who spent the first months of the war as an Air Force civilian in southern Iraq, has said he has identified four sites where residents said chemical weapons were buried in concrete bunkers.   There was "no doubt," Mr. Bush said in an address to the nation, "that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised” (“For Diehards…”).   As shown above, the only weapons found there were weapons of a chemical nature, and would not pose an immediate threat to United States citizens.  Although the weapons that were actually found did not impose an immediate threat to us, they did pose a threat to those around Iraq.  If these weapons fell into the wrong hands, terrorists could use them to do as they wished.

            Another reason given for why we should be in Iraq is to stop Iraqis’ support for Muslim terrorist groups which terrorize our nation as well as many other nations who have similar beliefs as the United States.  Al-Qaeda, which is a terrorist group lead by the infamous Osama Bin Laden, has a heavy presence in Iraq.  Their deadly impact in Iraq can be seen and heard of on a daily basis.   Tuesday, April 15, 2008, they claimed responsibility for a car bombing which killed at least 62 people in Baghdad.  In order to fight the war on terror, terrorists groups such as Al-Qaeda have to be cleared out of each country one by one.  Since we are working so hard to make Iraq a sovereign, democratic society, it only makes since that we would start in Iraq.  Al-Qaeda could be responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths in Iraq and have to be stopped.  Not only are they responsible for the deaths of many innocent Iraqi citizens, they were also responsible for the attack that took place on September 11, 2001.  As previously mentioned, Al-Qaeda is responsible for many deaths that occur each year in Iraq.  Innocent citizens die because of the selfishness and greediness of those who carry out these attacks.  The United States army does as much as it possibly can to stop these attacks, but they come under fire because some of their attempts to destroy Al-Qaeda members causes innocent people to lose their life.  If we do not do something to stop these radical terrorists group, no one will.  If we do not stop them, millions of people will die from their selfish acts of terror.  When terrorists are in such close range of citizens, some innocent lives are taken.  But there lives are not taken in vane as they are in acts of terror.  They are taken because of our country’s determination to stop those who cause so much violence in Iraq. 

            A counterpoint to this argument is that many of United States soldiers are being killed by terrorist acts carried out in cities such as Baghdad.  According to an article in USA Today, as of Friday April,18  2008,  4,028 soldier have died in Iraq.  Hostile, anti-American forces caused 82% of these deaths (“U.S. Death Toll).  Not only do our soldiers have to worry about dying everyday, they also deal with very difficult and straining conditions.  Wayne H. Bowen, a civil affairs officer with the 416th Civil Affairs Battalion, chronicled his time in Iraq in the book Undoing Saddam.  In the book he describes many of the day-to-day fears and nuisances that soldiers deal with while in Iraq.  Beginning with the sweltering heat, on average 120 degrees Fahrenheit in summer, the unending supply of dust that covers everyone and everything, and midnight attacks on bases that wake soldiers up with fear for their life  (Bowen).

            There is another thing that happens in Iraq that many people do not know about.  The new government in Iraq has had a tendency to arrest people without probable cause. When they take them into custody, they torture them and do very inhumane things.  According to humanrightswatch.org, detainees have reported being kicked, slapped, and punched, exposure to prolonged suspension from the wrists with the hands tied behind the back, electric shocks to sensitive parts of the body including earlobes and genitals, and being kept blindfolded and/ or handcuffed continuously for several days.  Detainees have also reported being deprived by Iraqi security forces of food and water and being crammed into small cells with many people and no room to sit down.  The United States military forces have begun holding Iraqi officials responsible for these actions.  They hope to improve the quality of life for many Iraqi citizens who have been wrongly accused by their own government, and were thrown into what many would call torture chambers (Iraq: Torture).  U.S. Military Police who patrol large cities such as Baghdad have begun to train the newly formed Baghdad police department to seek out the real criminals to help eliminate the wrongly accused from being captured and tortured (DePue).

            On the flip side of this, some could argue that it is not our responsibility to control what goes on in Iraq.  Some believe that we take care of our own business without letting others get involved, why should Iraq be any different?  Our intervention in Iraq is costing taxpayers thousands of dollars per year.  The United States, according to The Economist magazine, will have spent over $3 trillion funding the war in Iraq by the time it is over.  According to a new book by Joseph Stiglitz, a Nobel prize-winner in economics, and Linda Bilmes, a budget and public finance expert at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, the Iraq war could end up costing American taxpayers $25,000 each.  They say also that the inflated gas prices are a way for the government to offset the large amount of money needed to fund the war in Iraq (Eyeing).  When it comes down to it, people have to decide whether it is our moral obligation to help out one of our global neighbors who cannot really help themselves.  Some could argue that all of the money used to fund the war in Iraq could go to other countries such as Haiti and those in Africa where poverty and malnutrition are responsible for millions of deaths each year. 

            In the end, the fact remains that it is a matter of opinion whether or not we should be in Iraq.  From a moral standpoint, Iraq is in desperate need of help.  A weak government and police force allow terrorists and extremists to kill Iraqi citizens each day.  Our soldiers and military police are able to supply the Iraqi police with weapons as well as knowledge on how to defend their citizens.    Also, according to the President, we are there to spread democracy to a country that is so used to being ruled by a tyrant who kills entire families for no reason.  But then there is the financial aspect of the war and the fact that thousands of soldiers have died that make many American citizens believe that we should withdraw from Iraq before more money is spent, and more lives are lost.  From doing so much research, it is clear that there is strong evidence to support both sides of this long-winded argument.  In the end, no matter what happens, people are going to disagree with the outcome.  People just have to know that what happens happens, either way something is being sacrificed.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Step Seven

"I want to say a word to our troops and civilians in Iraq. You've performed with incredible skill under demanding circumstances. The turnaround you have made possible in Iraq is a brilliant achievement in American history. And while this war is difficult, it is not endless. And we expect that, as conditions on the ground continue to improve, they will permit us to continue the policy of return on success. The day will come when Iraq is a capable partner of the United States. The day will come when Iraq is a stable democracy that helps fight our common enemies and promote our common interests in the Middle East. And when that day arrives, you'll come home with pride in your success, and the gratitude of your whole nation."

President George W. Bush

                                                                  April 10, 2008

March 20, 2003, was a day that would change the history of the world.  On this day, President George W. Bush sent American forces to Iraq, to launch an operation to end the war on terror making the world a safer place for all of its citizens. This movement of troops to the Middle East would later be known to the world as Operation Iraqi Freedom.  Although there are many naysayers who resent President Bush and the actions he has put into motion, the fact remains that if the world as a whole ever wants peace in the Middle East, we must remain there and not leave until peace is present.

As almost anyone knows, the number one reason the United States began its crusade in Iraq was to remove and destroy its supply of weapons of mass destruction.  However, after a “thorough” investigation by a group of investigators known as the Iraq Survey group, many Americans were under the impression that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.  From this, many Americans believed that since presumably no weapons of mass destruction were present there, troops were there for no reason at all, this however is not the case.  After the Iraq Survey Group concluded their investigation in Iraq, another group of investigators known as the National Ground Intelligence Center began to look for weapons of mass destruction.  By the end of their investigation, they had found at least 500 weapons in Iraq, dating back to 1991.  Although all of these weapons were not made at that exact time, it still showed that Saddam Hussein lied when he told the world that there were absolutely NO weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.  An official from the Department of Defense told FOX news that a statement released after the March 2003 investigation of weapons that stated "we had all known weapons facilities secured," has proven itself to be untrue. "It turned out the whole country was an ammo dump," he said, adding that on more than one occasion, a conventional weapons site has been uncovered and chemical weapons have been discovered mixed within them (FOX news).

Another reason that we should be in Iraq is to stop Iraqis’ support for Muslim terrorist groups which terrorize our nation as well as many other nations who have similar beliefs as the United States.  Al-Qaeda, which is a terrorist group lead by the infamous Osama Bin Laden, has a heavy presence in Iraq.  Their deadly impact in Iraq can be seen and heard of on   a daily basis.  Yesterday, Tuesday, April 15 2008, they claimed responsibility for a car bombing which killed at least 62 people in Baghad.  In order to fight the war on terror, terrorists groups such as Al-Qaeda have to be cleared out of each country one by one.  Since we are working so hard to make Iraq a sovereign, democratic society, it only makes since that we would start in Iraq.  Al-Qaeda could be responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths in Iraq and have to be stopped.  Not only are they responsible for the deaths of many innocent Iraqi citizens, they were also responsible for the attack that took place on September 11, 2001.  As previously mentioned, Al-Qaeda is responsible for many deaths that occur each year in Iraq.  Innocent citizens die because of the selfishness and greediness of those who carry out these attacks.  The United States army does as much as it possibly can to stop these attacks, but they come under fire because some of their attempts to destroy Al-Qaeda members causes innocent people to lose their life.  If we do not do something to stop these radical terrorists group, no one will.  If we do not stop them, millions of people will die from their selfish acts of terror.  When terrorists are in such close range of citizens, some innocent lives are taken.  But there lives are not taken in vane as they are in acts of terror.  They are taken because of our country’s determination to stop those who cause so much violence in Iraq. 

There is another thing that happens in Iraq that many people do not know about.  The new government in Iraq has had a tendency to arrest people without probable cause. When they take them into custody, they torture them and do very inhumane things.  According to humanrightswatch.org, detainees have reported being kicked, slapped, and punched, exposure to prolonged suspension from the wrists with the hands tied behind the back, electric shocks to sensitive parts of the body including earlobes and genitals, and being kept blindfolded and/ or handcuffed continuously for several days.  Detainees have also reported being deprived by Iraqi security forces of food and water and being crammed into small cells with many people and no room to sit down.  The United States military forces have begun holding Iraqi officials responsible for these actions and hope to improve the quality of life for many Iraqi citizens who have been wrongly accused by their own government, and were thrown into what many would call torture chambers.  This is another reason why American forces should not leave Iraq at this time.  If our military forces were not there to back these wrongly accused citizens up, many more would suffer mentally and physically at the hands of their own government. 

The biggest and most important reason that we remain in Iraq is to spread democracy.  On March 13, 2006, President Bush addressed a crowd of listeners at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.  In this address he described the excitement of the Iraqi people on the day that they democratically voted for their new leader:

Americans were inspired by the images of Iraqis bringing elderly relatives to the polls, holding up purple ink-stained fingers, dancing in the streets and celebrating their freedom. By their courage, the Iraqi people have spoken and made their intentions clear: they want to live in democracy -- and they are determined to shape their own destiny.

From this statement, it is easy for one to realize how important is for our American forces to be there.  If our troops had never gone to Iraq, Saddam Hussein, a tyrant, would have never been caught, and his regime would still be torturing and killing innocent citizens.  Most Iraqi citizens believe in and strive to keep their weak democratic government.  However, many terrorist groups such as Al-Qaeda, do not want democracy and freedom to be spread into their “territory”.  Without our soldiers there, these terrorists would easily take back over the country.  Because we are there, Iraq has become a better and better place.  But in a country where continuous war has taken place for thousands of years, peace will not come easily.  It will take time and determination.  If we left the country now in such an unstable state, things will surely return to the way they used to be, and could be worse.  Leaving country now in such a vulnerable state would be foolish, and it is our duty as Americans to support the spread of democracy because the spread of democracy is the spread of peace.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Step 5

Toulmin Method: The U.S. is in Iraq for reasons unclear to the Americans
because there is speculation in one corner and the government in the
other. With that said there can be no mediation of this issue.

The Case Claim: The government says we are helping the Iraqi gain their
own freedom and security, and the speculations from others say we are
harming the Iraqi people by being there and just taking their oil supply
and using it to add on to our own. Still we don't in all actuality know
what goes on over there and it could be good or bad.

Qualifier(s: The claim is not absolute because a lot of the information
about the real reasons for the war are merely claims. And even the
information that is said to be facts about the War in Iraq provided by the
Government has been found to be incorrect.

Exception(s): The writer would not press his claim against those who
believe the War in Iraq is solely because of one reason.

Reason #1: There is a lot of speculation behind the fact the U.S is in Iraq for oil, so much in fact that it must hold some truth.

What makes it relevant? Iraq holds the second largest proven reserves and it would be na├»ve to believe that the U.S. has not thought about that fact.

What makes it good? With the growing demand for gas and crude oil being a necessary component of it just make sense that in the government point of view one can see what can of opportunity Iraq presents.

What evidence supports it? The Energy Information Administration released the numbers of crude oil exported into the U.S. in January 2008 and from those records one can find that 0.543 million barrels per day were exported from Iraq.

Reason #2: Why is it that Iraq is the only country being confronted profusely for having weapons of mass destruction? It is well known fact that North Korea was a member of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty but withdrew in 2003. And then to make it worst on October 9, 2006 there was an announcement by the North Korean government had successfully conducted a nuclear test for the first time. So knowing this information why hasn’t the U.S. invaded their country looking for the weapons of mass destruction. In my opinion this just shows that our true purpose is not to find weapons of mass destruction.

What makes it relevant? One of the biggest reasons many people backed the war in the first place is the fact that it was thought that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and were concealing them. So it would seem logically that the U.S. would pursue every country that has weapons of mass destruction.

What makes it good? North Korea is known for having nuclear bombs and already testing them so that definitely constitutes to me as evidence of weapons of mass destruction

What evidence supports it? According to Globalsecurity.org North Korea DPRK government has been proceeding with a nuclear weapons program. It is well known fact that North Korea was a member of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty but withdrew in 2003. And then to make it worst on October 9, 2006 there was an announcement by the North Korean government had successfully conducted a nuclear test for the first time

Reason #3: Some agree with President George W. Bush and top military leaders, the United States’ presence in Iraq is important for Iraqi security and world-wide security.

What makes it relevant? Many Americans share the opinion that we have no business meddling in Iraqi affairs and believe that the soldiers there are fighting for a lost and nonexistent cause

What makes it good? It gives reason why it is so hard to believe both views. This is issue is like racism. You are either racist or your not; there is no in between.

What evidence supports it? On March 20, 2003 the United States Army, along with several other coalition forces such as the U.K. and armies from smaller countries such as Australia and Poland, invaded Iraq. The main reason for the invasion given by President Bush was that Saddam Hussein and his Iraqi government were storing and actively making Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD). If this were true, Saddam Hussein would be violating an agreement put into place in 1991. United States top officials believed that Saddam Hussein and his army posed an imminent and urgent threat to the United States and its allies. They also believed that Iraq was working closely with al-Qaeda and aiding terrorists who were planning to make attacks on America and its allies.

When a search was conducted in Iraq by U.N. inspectors no Weapons of Mass Destruction were found, but officials believed that as soon as sanctions were lifted off of Iraq, they would jump on the chance to resume production of WMD’s. Although no WMD’s were found, forces remained in Iraq for the following reasons: Iraq’s financial support for Palestinian suicide bombers and their families, Iraqi government human rights abuses, spreading democracy, and taking control of Iraqi oil reserves

Reason #4: The government lies about so many issues surrounding the Iraq war to the point where one has to think is the Iraq war just another lie. Of the so called 50 successful smart bombs dropped in Iraq 0 hit their designated target. Still that is not even talking about the death toll and costs of war which are reaching ridiculous numbers.

What makes it relevant? The Iraq war is still going on to this day and every day another soldier dies and more money is wasted because of lies.

What makes it good? It would be naive to believe that everything the government says is the truth so this is good becomes it just bring their dirt to the light.

What evidence supports it? They government actually keeps up with the death toll in Iraq and one can find the count up of money being spent in Iraq on many sites on the internet. MSNBC actually said they believe the war could actually surpass $1 trillion and that is enough money to save a lot more problems that need to be solved.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Brief

Operation Iraqi Freedom

Thesis: Although many disagree with President George W. Bush and top military leaders, the United States’ presence in Iraq is important for Iraqi security and world-wide security.

Audience: Americans in general, but mainly those who believe that Americans have no business meddling in Iraqi affairs, and believe that the soldiers there are fighting for a lost and nonexistent cause.

Evidence:

On March 20, 2003 the United States Army, along with several other coalition forces such as the U.K. and armies from smaller countries such as Australia and Poland, invaded Iraq. The main reason for the invasion given by President Bush was that Saddam Hussein and his Iraqi government were storing and actively making Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD). If this were true, Saddam Hussein would be violating an agreement put into place in 1991. United States top officials believed that Saddam Hussein and his army posed an imminent and urgent threat to the United States and its allies. They also believed that Iraq was working closely with al-Qaeda and aiding terrorists who were planning to make attacks on America and its allies.

When a search was conducted in Iraq by U.N. inspectors no Weapons of Mass Destruction were found, but officials believed that as soon as sanctions were lifted off of Iraq, they would jump on the chance to resume production of WMD’s. Although no WMD’s were found, forces remained in Iraq for the following reasons: Iraq’s financial support for Palestinian suicide bombers and their families, Iraqi government human rights abuses, spreading democracy, and taking control of Iraqi oil reserves.