We, as inhabitants of one of the largest and most powerful countries in the world, live a very sheltered life. We like to think that we are invincible. Things like weapons of mass destruction that should scare us, we like to think will never threaten us. But it is the reality that they can, and do. Since Harry Truman let the world know of the existence of weapons of mass destruction with the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the threat has been real. As technology progressed, the threat increased, bringing with it the terror of the masses. Worst-case scenarios of a madman with money and a grudge leaving a major city in glowing ruins have been told and retold, but never with any real backing. But then in 1991, the military dictator of oil-rich Iraq invaded its neighbor, Kuwait. Our horrors were just being realized.
The United Nations forces, composed of members of some of the most powerful nations, crushed Saddam Hussein and his Iraqi military in a war sometimes referred to as the Hundred Hour War, but more popularly known as the Gulf War. It was an embarrassment for Saddam, but he could have the last laugh. His scientists had producing large quantities of the deadly biological and chemical agents Anthrax, Botox, and VX, and failed an in attempt at cultivating smallpox. Anthrax, a hardy underground fungus, produces spores that, when dried and ground, form a powder that is easily placed in a missile, causing drastic consequences. If dispersed over an area the size of Omaha, Nebraska, there would be 2.5 million deaths. Botox is, gram for gram, the most powerful agent known to man. It is the toxin produced by the bacteria that is responsible for botulism and causes death from respiratory failure in as little as 2 hours. VX is a chemical nerve agent that causes death by paralysis of involuntary muscles, namely the heart. Saddam, at the time of the Gulf War, had stockpiles of VX loaded on SCUD missiles, which he had used in 1988 on a native ethnic group, the Kurds.
After the Gulf War, Saddam began rebuilding his forces. He also stockpiled more chemical and biological agents. In response, the United Nations sent people to inspect Saddam's scientific facilities. This was a good solution, until Saddam kicked the inspectors out of Iraq. This renewed fear in our minds - what if he is preparing to use these weapons? He needs to be shown he is on dangerous ground.
There are several ways to let Saddam know he is out of bounds. The best method, in my opinion, is a show of force. But a blind display of power is not what is called for. If the United States just blindly destroys Iraq, it will lure the other Middle Eastern nations onto Saddam's side. What is needed is a methodical series of strikes on locations close to Saddam, in addition to those necessary to the military. This would prove to Saddam that, regardless of his options, he can't win. Because he can't. ?
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.