The long, strange trip of Saddam

Part 2 of a column that began on Nov. 6 in the Vanguard. Read the first part of the series on

The grooming of Saddam’s futile army and arsenal began. A year had not passed of the American hostages being freed by Iran when Saddam ordered his troops to invade Iran’s southern oil-rich cities, which were Khoram Shar, parts of Abadan, Ghasere (a city rich in oil), Shirin, Somar and Mehran (a rich oil city, as well). His armies were so undisciplined and incompetent that they could not advance any further against the fragile new government of Iran.

The Kurds from the north and the Iranians from the south were too much for Saddam’s demoralized army to stand, so the West, already enjoying mass weapons sales, became frightened that Iran would take over half of the oil rigs existing in the Middle East. To make things worse, Khomeini ordered the continuation of the war, using the slogan “Till the freedom of Jerusalem we will relent.” The United States and Europe began shipping instruments, bacteria, ingredients and heavy machinery to Iraq. The lunatic (Saddam) was now trained and equipped, and he had become the world’s most active cook.

Finally the war came to an end when the United States began sinking all of Iran’s oil ships and oil rigs located in the Persian Gulf. Saddam’s use of chemical and biological weapons had also taken its toll on villages and the people of both countries. The U.S. embargo on Iran, still in place today, also had wrecked the country’s economy. Iraq’s missile attacks on Tehran, the capital of Iran, and the U.S. shooting down of an Iranian passenger plane in the Persian Gulf left no other choice for Khomeini but to sign the peace treaty, ending the war between the two countries in 1988.

The mastermind cook (Saddam), having had the chance to test his cooking, decided to sharpen his teeth for far less difficult sheep. Kuwait, seen by its neighboring Arab countries as spoiled and far too neutral on the political spectrum, was to become the next victim of Saddam’s daydreams. Saddam invaded Kuwait under the self-fulfilling belief that historically Kuwait was part of Iraq and that Kuwait was stealing Iraq’s oil through illegal underground oil pipelines. Afterward, the United States – or, to put it more correctly, G.I. Joes – decided to push Iraq out of Kuwait, restraining it to its borders.

Since the Gulf War, Saddam has used both air and ground forces to put down Kurdish and Shiite uprisings. By now many of us have some understanding of the current political situation. The question of whether Saddam has chemical and biological weapons and whether he will use them in the future is just ludicrous. The valid question is, “Why didn’t the United States take out Saddam during the Gulf War?”

I asked this very question of Bahrom, a veteran who spent two years of his life on the front lines and is now a PCC student. He told me:

“Well, Saddam was no longer a threat to the U.S and its allies and the boost of weapons sales was at its peak and was to remain that way as long as Saddam was in power. Thousands of weapons to this day are sold to the Gulf countries. Since the Gulf War, the U.S. has sold over $3 billion of its patriot missiles to the Gulf countries. It has also kept Iran and other black-market activities in the Gulf region in check. The increase of America’s military budget and army was another reason why the U.S. left Saddam in control. Kuwait would continue paying good money to the U.S. so that its forces would remain. Keeping Saddam in power would also keep the region unstable for business, something that would keep investors from investing in the area, and would even cause Kuwaiti-born nationals to keep their money or a portion of it in western banks. Saddam’s presence in the region creates a neighborly tension in the region, giving rise to dictatorial domestic policies in the Middle East. The rooted hatred existing between the powerhouses of the Middle East would give less attention to the Palestinian dilemma, giving Israel another 50 to 60 years to breathe easily.”

Some may accuse me of being a person who thinks too much, but regarding politics of today I would rather be realistic. Today the United States is more aware of its international threats and is trying to prevent them from ever happening again. I completely understand, but what about North Korea, Libya, Iran, Vietnam, China, Russia and the others that I’m not mentioning? Are they not as dangerous and capable of destroying one of our cities, as well? I believe the Sept. 11 tragedy has become Bush and his fellow oil advocates’ ace in expanding their oil revenue and not an issue of terror.

Saddam has been a threat to civilization since his first crusades and will remain one unless we do something about him. We must look at this issue with an open mind, making sure that all options of dialogue are on the table. Saddam is a joke, but so is the U.S. government for funneling thousands of weapons of mass destruction and equipment to him. If all options of a peaceful solution between the United States and Iraq become exhausted, the United States will most likely go to war, because Saddam would use his arsenal in order to maintain his power base. If this scenario takes place, I am thinking that this whole story would go down in history as a classic example of “what goes around comes around.”

Sawber Seifian is a political science student at PSU and a frequent contributor to the Vanguard.