By DIXIE B. KOLDITZ
A peaceful resolution has been put in writing between the United Nations and the Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. The question is whether Saddam will keep his word.
“I suspect Saddam will not keep the agreement (since) he has done it before,” said Steve Smith, an army retiree who was a pilot — a CW4 chief officer — in the Gulf war.
Donna Lee Bowen, an associate professor in the political science department agrees.
“We are playing a game of rhetoric with Saddam,” she said. “He makes promises and does not keep them.”
Smith said although it was good that everything was resolved peacefully, the U.S. still needs to keep an eye on Saddam since he and his government supporters don’t care about the U.N. anymore than they care about their own people.
“Hitler cared a little bit (more) for people than Saddam,” he said. “The Kurds were gassed prior to the Gulf War for going against his rule.”
Moreover, despite the fact that Iraq is a potentially wealthy country, people are poor and live in fear.
“The Iraqi people could live well,” Smith said. “Their country is wealthy because of oil, but Saddam takes most of the wealth for himself and his military.”
Robert Lauritzen, army retiree who was a Middle Eastern specialist, said the Iraqis are a warm and generous people, but are powerless.
“They would rather have someone else (take) Saddam’s position but they have no voice,” Lauritzen said.”Saddam was a bad guy who put himself in power and wants to stay there.”
Although the Iraqis do not have any weapons to fight against Saddam, the U.S. does.
The U.S. is now playing a slippery game with Hussein, Bowen said.
“Saddam runs a regime of state terror,” Bowen said. “He holds power through force. Saddam’s rule is strong because he has an effective intelligence service.”
Bowen said the U.N., however, has gotten the U.S. off a hot spot because if they had used military force in Iraq, many people would have died and the U.S. would have been held responsible for their deaths.
Yet the U.S. still has military troops in the country.
Kevin Miller, an army retiree who was a logistics supporter in Desert Storm but now works as a professional development manager for BYU, said Saddam knows how to “play” the U.S.
Dilworth B. Parkinson, an Asian and Near Eastern language faculty member, said Saddam wants to hurt the U.S.’s relationship with other Arab countries.
“If given a chance, I think Saddam would do more damage than Hitler,” Miller said. “The troops in Iraq are a good idea (because) the military will keep Saddam in check.”
Smith said he was in agreement with the military presence but added that the U.N. inspectors need to work on the sites as soon as possible.
“Get much done before Saddam changes his mind,” Smith said. The situation with Saddam should have ended with Desert storm, Miller said.
“We could have fixed the situation if we had put in extra time. We stopped too soon and because of this Saddam keeps playing us,” Miller said.