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In light of the most recent events in Iraq, it is important to analyze the problems leading up to the most recent air strikes against this decimated country. This once-bustling and promising country fell under the control of a dictator who (in the name of Islam) abused and marginalized his people in order to solidify his power base. But let us question the rise to power that led to his subsequent abuses of authority. How is it that Saddam Hussein, a common street thug before his assuming the role of dictator in Iraq, became the figurehead that he is? To answer this question, one must simply look to the United States and its questionable foreign policy toward "Muslim" countries.

The United States installed Hussein as a puppet in order to curtail the increasing fervor of Islamic revolutionaries. How can one forget the gassings of the Iran/Iraq war? Or the killing of Hussein's own people in Kurdish territories of Iraq? The list goes on. The US uses these events to cast aspersions not only on the character of Hussein and his constituents but on the nation of Iraq as a whole. It is important to note, however, that these events did not go unnoticed by the United States. In fact, these events took place when Hussein was an ally of the West; one must then question who the true instigators of these and other atrocities truly are. It is important to identify the origins of oppression, and in this case, Hussein seems to be a secondary character in the game of international politics. Additionally, the US has taken advantage of the opportunity to assert its dominance in the region by blasting Iraq back to the Stone Age via attacks in both '91 and in Dec. of '98. Iraq, a country with the potential to be one of the most prominent sovereignties in its respective area (due to both water and oil reserves), is now a smouldering wasteland of radiation and childhood deformity (as a result of depleted Uranium bullets and the "strategic" Western-sponsored bombing of chemical/biological weapons sites). In the meantime, the United States can use Hussein's questionable policies to maintain a looming presence in the Gulf.

From a sociohistorical standpoint, it is important to understand Western policy in the Middle East. It is incumbent upon Western society (and its European contemporaries) to curtail any form of resistance and/or insurrection that may rear its proverbial head. The West has learned this lesson from the threat that the once-dominant Ottoman Empire posed to its worldwide authority. To remedy this situation, the Middle East was partitioned and denigrated to the point of ridicule following World War I. This is a policy, by the way, that is in effect even to this day - much to the detriment of the innocent peoples of these countries. Unfortunately, Hussein is simply one of many puppet meglomaniacs who contributes to the marginalization and opppression of a people who are subject to the authority of a much more dangerous landlord...

J. Adam Brockwell

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