|Vote him out
How to get rid of Saddam Hossein cheaply and legitimately
By Kazem Alamdari
October 2, 2002
Among many confusing statements from Washington on foreign policy, including on Iraq,
finally President Bush in his declaration of his administration's policy, "The
National Security Strategy of the United States," transmitted to Congress, has
sent a clear message to the world.
He stated that "People everywhere want to say what they think; choose who will
govern them; worship as they please; educate their children -- male and female; own
property; and enjoy the benefits of their labor."
Pursuing such a humanitarian strategy in the world does not require use of military
force. The President finds Saddam Hussein an obstacle to these goals. But the U.S.
can choose a less expensive, less risky, more legitimate and morally acceptable means
to permanently replace dictators such as Saddam.
If the President desires to remove Saddam, so do the Iraqi people. Saddam is not
a popular leader, nor is his rule legitimate. Saddam is not a democratically elected
leader. Let him stand against a justifiable demand of his own people and the whole
The U.S. could wage a popular global political and humanitarian
campaign against him, a campaign similar to the one against the former apartheid
regime in South Africa.
Military action may further damage the U.S. image and credibility and also create
rage and hatred among Arabs and Muslims throughout the region. They will look at
America as an aggressor pleasing Israel.
Instead of using militaristic strategy, we should insist Saddam hold a free and fair
election and allow the UN and international human rights organizations monitor the
process. If refused, global pressures will mount against him; and then it will be
easier and acceptable to remove him by force.
If he accepts, an elected and legitimate government will replace the current dictatorship
in Iraq and the President Bush's goals are also met. Then negotiation with a democratically
elected government on disarmament becomes a diplomatic instead of militaristic process.
Neither the UN nor our Western allies would oppose such a popular alternative. Nelson
Mandela, the world's most respected statesman, for example, stated that the current
war campaign against Iraq "is clearly a decision that is motivated by George
W. Bush's desire to please the arms and oil industries in the United States of America."
The President needs to prove that is not the case. Demand for a fair and free election
in Iraq will generate a global support and positive image for America. That is exactly
what America needs out side of its borders. It also sets precedence for all developing
countries that have failed having democracy.
Unlike a military action, the election strategy has
no risk of balkanization of Iraq. Neighboring countries cannot take advantage of
a possible chaos that may be ensued after a military attack. This strategy can also
account for the concern of Turkey with regard to the Kurds on the south of its borders.
This will send a clear message to all tyrants in the world while avoiding an explosive
escalation by minimizing human suffering.
In recent decades, most of the wars have occurred in non-democratic countries. Democracy
is supposed to reduce violence. Let's stick to democratic solutions based on democratic
principles and values rather than waging another shortsighted, risky and imperial
war. Imperial wars cannot work in the era of globalization and inter-national interdependence
Kazem Alamdari is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at California State University
in Los Angeles.Dr Alamdari received his PhD from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
He has taught at several institutions, including University of Tehran, and University
of California, Los Angeles. More information here.