With the thought of possible weapons of mass destruction still looming in the minds of many Americans, a lot are asking if the war is over. Still, many more want to know what is in store for the American military now that the first phase is over.
Political science professor Dr. John Holcombe the military has its work cut out for it.
“The easy part is over,” Holcombe said. “A lot of critics said that we could win the war, but what about the aftermath.”
Holcombe said that the real job in Iraq has only just begun.
“Americans know very little about Iraq,” Holcombe said. “Saddam was a Sunni Muslim, which was the minority, but they were in control. The Shiite Muslims were oppressed. Now, you have Kurds to the north who want their own country.
“There are clans and rivals that want control, and we don’t know much about them,” he said. “Our leaders have expressed that they want Iraq to stay unified, but how much influence can we have, or can’t have. It is not a simple matter of we’ve got the guns, now it’s over.”
Dr. Withold Lukaszewski, a SHSU political science professor, said the ending of the war is just the beginning of a difficult decision making period for U.S. officials.
“Putting some type of political system in place that will have to reflect the desires, the needs, and most of all the values of these people. That will be a long process,” he said.
Lukaszewski used the United States as an example of how a political system can last.
“Our Constitution reflects the values and needs of the people of this country,” he said. “If we impose our system on Iraq, it will not be stable.”
Lukaszewski added that one group imposing its will on another caused some of the bloodiest battles in history.
“When the Communist party ruled Eastern Europe, the people rebelled because it went against what they believed in. The U.S. is also a good example. Permanence of a political system depends on a coincidence between the system and the values of the people,” he said.
While there are many arguments for the war, there are just as many against it, he said.
“You must have a good reason to do it,” Lukaszewski said. “When you go to war, you condemn many people to death, to be maimed and to be orphaned.
“We went to war and, in the process, we also paid a very high price not only in our dead and wounded, as well as money, but also because the war led to a split in the European Union, a serious weakening of NATO, and the side-lining of the U.N.,” he said. “We caused much harm to the Western and global institutions we ourselves helped to build to ensure global stability and prosperity.”
One reason for starting the war on Iraq was the belief that the nation possessed illegal weapons. President George W. Bush said Friday that he expects Americans to be doubtful as to whether or not the Iraqi military ever had weapons of mass destruction.
“I think there is going to be skepticism until we find weapons of mass destruction,” Bush said. “One thing we can’t be skeptical about is that Saddam Hussein was brutal and torturous on his people.”
Despite the absence of hard evidence, the United States military continues to find evidence that would suggest there was some type of dual use chemical manufacturing taking place.
Lukaszewski said that finding, or getting rid of weapons of mass destruction was only a small part of why the U.S. went into Iraq the first place.
“The primary reason for the war in the first place seems to be geopolitical restructuring of the Middle East,” he said. “That means rebuilding the international political structure, and rebuilding the area.”
Holcombe said that time is the only way to tell if Iraq indeed has chemical weapons.
“I don’t believe that the U.S. invented any stories about chemical weapons,” he said. “I come from a generation that trusted the government. The proof of the pudding is in the eating.”