Five Questions, Five Minutes
This month's topic: War with Iraq
(Adar II 5763/March 2003)
Compiled by Audrey Shore
|PHOTO: US DEPT OF DEFENSE|
1. What is your name?
2. Which school do you attend?
3. Generally, do you feel as though this war is "justified" meaning, do you feel that a threat is real enough to warrant military action? Does the reaction of the world community affect your thoughts?
4. Does this war have implications for us as Americans on the whole? Do you feel patriotic ever / at times like this?
5. Does this war have implications for us as Jews? Do you feel that the Jewish community as a whole should support America's decisions on war?
1. Joshua Wiznitzer
2. Brandeis University (Waltham, Massachusetts)
3. Yes I feel that in this instance war is a necessary evil. We've tried diplomacy--nothing; appeasement--no result; sanctions--no results. Saddam's ties to terrorism are long established and have been proven. As for the reaction of the international community, we have our true allies on our side.
4. Yes--this a war with implications for our national security. President Reagan once said "America must remain freedom's staunchest friend, for freedom is our best ally… Every victory for human freedom will be a victory for world peace."
5. Saddam Hussein and other radical Middle East leaders will likely continue to blame Israel and Jews for all of their problems--with or without a war. I believe that the Jewish community should indeed support this war. The disarmament (and removal from power) of Saddam Hussein is in Israel's best interests. Furthermore, overthrowing Saddam's regime will be a major blow to the terror networks that target Israel and Jews globally.
1. Michael Joseph (Joe) Brown
2. Indiana University (Bloomington, Indiana)
3. Yes. In a sense Hussein has not met the standards of our cease fire agreement with him after the Gulf War. Hussein agreed to allow weapons inspectors free reign to search for weapons of mass destruction, but in 1998 he broke a UN resolution and kicked out the inspectors. Iraqi forces have continued to attack coalition aircraft patrolling the no-fly zones, yet another violation of the cease fire agreement and UN resolutions. Hussein's Ba'ath Party has also aided terrorist groups and has given money to the relatives of homicide bombers. All of these facts above plus his human rights violations against Kurds and Iranians and other minority groups make Hussein perhaps one of the most dangerous leaders in the world.
4. After September 11, President Bush made a promise to the American people that he would not only root out the terrorists but the nations that support them. Americans are tired of being afraid and want to see justice. Americans support their sons and daughters, their wives and their husbands, who are risking their lives for us. As a member of the Army National Guard this touches me deeply.
5. With Israel's security interests in mind and Hussein's continued threats against it I feel that Iraq is more of a threat to Israel than to the United States, and we have an obligation to protect our Jewish family in Israel.
1. Matthew Rubin
2. UVA (Charlottesville, Virginia)
3. Yes. Saddam has invaded or attacked four different countries with little provocation. He has been seeking nuclear weapons since 1981 (when Israeli air raids bombed his reactor). He has gassed and murdered his own people with chemical and biological weapons. Saddam has refused to allow weapons inspectors access for almost 12 years! (It took South Africa a few years for inspectors to verify that their nuclear program was dismantled). Saddam constantly shoots at UN air patrols and has helped terrorists by funding suicide bombers. If Saddam isn't a threat, then who is?
4. It has huge implications. It will impact the economy and increase a general sense of risk. The country will become much more united during a time of war so patriotism will go up. I won't be any more patriotic (since I believe I am now) but I may show it more.
5. The implications will be on Israel and will therefore will affect Jews. The Jewish community as a whole shouldn't take a position since its not a "Jewish" problem. Jews who feel that he is a threat should support Saddam's ousting.
1. Joseph Robinson
2. San Diego State (San Diego, California)
3. I hate the idea of any kind of war. I just feel like Bush needs something to carry him through his term of office. First he had September 11th and now this war. I feel like he is waving that big stick and trying to police the whole world. I do agree that something must be done, but who are we to start the fight?
4. I have a real hard time feeling patriotic. To me it seems like America is trying to Americanize all of the world and I don't think that is what needs to happen. Living in San Diego (a military city) I know that it has already begun to affect my community and I know that it will continue to put a strain on everyone.
5. To be frank, I am quite nervous to see this war take place. One of the first places that will get hit, if America starts the fight, will be Israel and I don't want to see that happen. It is hard for the Jewish community to show support for both sides (Israel and America), but that will not be the hardest part of this war. War is never good, and the people who suffer through it are sometimes left suffering.
2. University of Iowa (Iowa City, IA)
3. NO!!!! I think that the CIA should reestablish their right to take out dictators in other nations, thus allowing the military to kill Hussein only and to establish a UN-controlled government within Iraq. Bush only wants oil and that is not enough to warrant the murder of innocent civilians.
4. Yes; the rest of the world will think more negatively of us than ever before. I only feel patriotism toward Israel during my day-to-day life. I occasionally feel patriotism toward the U.S. during the Olympics.
5. Yes; If the U.S. goes to war with Iraq, I feel that Iraq will in turn bomb Israel. As Jews we should lobby Bush to not go to war. Rather we should lobby for a peaceful settlement between the U.S., Israel, and Arab nations.
1. Samuel Hayim Brody
2. University of Virginia (Charlottesville, Virginia)
3. It seems like the Bush administration has turned the world upside down. At precisely the point in which Iraq is the most battered, least powerful, and under threat that it has ever been, and the U.S. is even more powerful than it was ten years ago at the end of the Gulf War, the administration has somehow managed to convince many Americans that Saddam Hussein poses such a threat that he must be destroyed by an action we have never before taken, "preemptive" war. At the same time, we ignore the various dictatorships and injustices around the world that the U.S. continues to support with its tax dollars, we ignore the Bush Administration's irrational tax policies and immoral environmental ignorance, and we ignore the continuing devastation wreaked by corporate globalization on the world's poor. This war is like a gigantic smokescreen for the Administration's inadequacies. They've been trying to mount a "heroic" campaign against Saddam for ages, and now they're trying to connect him to 9/11, even though there's no evidence. If Cheney, Rumsfeld, or Powell would even APOLOGIZE for the fact that all of Saddam's worst crimes were committed with THEIR SUPPORT back in the 80's, I might be more inclined to respect their so-called "moral authority."
4. It has implications in that it illustrates the deception that comes out of the American government and how little people actually know about U.S. policy. For example, the Administration talks a lot now about Kurdish rights, and the fact that Saddam massacred Kurds in the 80's (the fact that we supported that and even gave him the weapons, they don't mention) -- but they continue to ignore slaughter of Kurds by Turkey, which we currently support. People need to stop thinking that our foreign policy is motivated by morality in any way, and look at who actually benefits from such ventures as the proposed war in Iraq -- namely, the U.S. power elite. I feel patriotic when a rising peace movement of Americans opposes insane policies like the ones Bush supports. It is the American tradition of resistance and belief in democracy that I support, and its tradition of blind support for leaders and warmongering that I reject.
5. No. I think Jews have a responsibility to OPPOSE America's policies when they spell humanitarian disaster for others. The world increasingly resents the imperial policies of the United States, and it's dangerous for the Jewish people to allow the comfort and social mobility we have experienced in the U.S. to lull us into moral blindness and support for policies the rest of the world abhors. There are even people out there who suspect this Iraq thing is being enacted to help ISRAEL, as if there are shadowy Jews behind the scenes manipulating U.S. policy. There needs to be loud, clear American Jewish presence against war and imperialism, or anti-Semitism will increase around the world for the foreseeable future. We should not tie ourselves as a community to America's imperial ambitions. The Jewish thing to do is to recognize the suffering of civilians everywhere, not just in the United States.
2. University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
3. The reaction of the world community is exactly the reason I think the US is not justified in war. If we had world support, which would provide evidence that our feelings are correct, I might feel differently, but right now I just have to feel that the US is enjoying throwing its weight around.
4. My stance is in part influenced by my strong patriotism. Because I do not want future generations of Americans to have to deal with a US-hating Middle East, I don't want war. I don't want to mess things up for our American children.
5. This war's main implication is on Israeli Jews. If we attack Iraq, Israel, one of our allies, will be one of the first countries against which Iraq retaliates. The last thing we need during this seemingly eternal intifada is to give Iraq, and other Arabs, one more reason to hate Israel.
2. University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, Michigan)
3. There is no threat to the US from Iraq. There is a slight threat to other middle eastern countries, including Israel. However, the threat to Israel is greatest if the US attacks Iraq. There is NO justification for beginning a war with "regime change" as the major goal. If that were a legitimate reason for war, then Canada should attack the US in order to overthrow Mr. Bush.
4. I feel less patriotic when America threatens weaker countries with war. The US has meddled too much in the affairs of other countries. Mostly Americans are oblivious to the damage that our government causes elsewhere in the world. For instance, the US has funded and armed dissidents in many South American countries to try to overthrow dictatorships, only to put "friendly" dictators in their places. The US should use its influence and money to peacefully promote democracy throughout the world.
5. I think that the temptation is for Jews to support any war against any Arab nation, because of the history of conflict between two groups. However, it is our responsibility as Jews to work for a better world for everyone. A war in Iraq will cause more damage to Iraqi civilians - who have never enjoyed the freedoms we take for granted - than the Iraqi leaders who have oppressed them.