It was a proclamation of war. While U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell’s speech before the United Nations Security Council did not officially constitute a declaration of war, it bore all the earmarks of it.
War, after all, is defined as a “state of hostility, conflict or antagonism.” Certainly Powell qualified that definition in his persuasive presentation Wednesday of Iraq’s blatant defiance of U.N policy.
Powell spent 2 hours detailing evidence that Iraq is purposefully deceiving the U.N. He shared satellite pictures of 15 munitions bunkers, four of which he claimed held active chemical munitions. He played an intercepted conversation between two Iraqi commanders in which they purportedly discuss the removal of a reference to nerve agents in a document.
He presented evidence that Iraq has engaged in deceptive maneuvers to hide Iraqi programs to construct prohibited missiles, build aerial vehicles with the capacity to spread chemical agents over large cities and produce biological weapons.
He also mentioned the fact that high-ranking Iraqi officials have traceable links to the al Qaeda terror network, which may very well be the “smoking-gun” demanded by a terrorist-hungry American public.
Powell held nothing back, using bold language to paint a picture of a tyrannical Saddam Hussein and his deliberate disregard for international policy. The only word Powell seemed to avoid was war, but his combative message was not lost in the terminology. His bold directive that ” we must not shrink from whatever is ahead of us” left no room for ambiguity. His point was clear and the consequences are obvious.
It was a proclamation of war. Whether the members of the U.N. are willing to lend support is irrelevant. America is ready to fight. War in Iraq has been brewing for months, even years; combat is the only missing ingredient.
A war in distant Iraq does not mean that BYU students are safely shielded from the casualties of war. In fact, BYU students are among those who have been activated, called up and assigned to fight. They are part of the of estimated 180,000 servicemen who are being assembled in the Persian Gulf. They are the soldiers of a war that will undoubtedly claim the lives of innocent people.
It is time for BYU students to leave complacency behind and carefully examine the issues that are leading the U.S. to war. It is time for us to raise voices of support or protest – our personal war cries of perspective.
Whether we do or not, the war will still wage on. However, it is our voices that will determine the length and the validity of the cause. After all, it is our war.