As the war with Iraq approaches with every passing day, many people are convinced that President Bush’s intentions are true. The intent of this war, according to Bush, is to disarm Iraq’s arsenal of weapons of mass destruction. Now, while I believe that weapons of mass destruction should be eliminated, I believe that the United States has no moral right to make such demands. The United States has in its possession the largest arsenal of weapons of mass destruction (atomic archive. com, 2002), the United States is the only country that has ever used such a weapon, and the United States has not fully complied with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (reachingcriticalwill. org, 2002).
It is in this last point where I think the U. S. can truly lead the way. Instead of throwing around its military weight to make other states comply, the U.
S. government should show leadership by example. The United States, along with every nuclear weapon state, should disarm its arsenal of weapons of mass destruction. If the U. S. is serious about providing safety to the world, then they should lead the way by disarming not only Iraq but the entire world, including themselves, of these tools of terror.
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Although we all know the destruction these weapons cause, there are other views that support them. Some people believe that weapons of mass destruction are used by the United States only to protect weaker countries, as a way for the strong to protect the weak. Others think that it is reasonable to use them as long as it is the last resort to win a war. Others think that disarming would leave the country wide open for an enemy attack. And the government’s reason for having mass destruction weapons is for national security.
As noble and patriotic these reasons might be; I have yet to see the use of these weapons for the right reason. When the United States unleashed the terror of the atomic bomb upon the people of Japan, the government justified its use by saying, as farfetched as it may sound, that it was used to prevent more deaths and to end the war. The Japanese army was on the brink of defeat, the United States had no reason to use the atomic bomb. In Vietnam the United States used a poisonous gas called agent orange. Its use did not win the war but it did cause mass destruction. In the current situation with Iraq, the U.
S. government has warned it will use nuclear weapons in an effort to protect neighboring countries and the world from a terrorist threat created in Iraq. Truth is, Iraq’s army is in no condition to pose any military threat to its neighbors let alone the world (Von Spo neck, 2002, 18).
Historically there hasn’t been any good reason to justify the use of a weapon of mass destruction and there isn’t one today.
So why should countries have them? Why should the United States have them and force other to destroy them? The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) serves the purpose for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons. The Bush administration proposed a “reduction” of nuclear weapons to the NPT in late 2001. We might think that this reduction means the total disarmament of nuclear weapons and the termination of nuclear weapon construction. But what the U.
S. government meant by reduction was that a number of its nuclear weapons were moved from active to inactive status (reachingcriticalwill. org, 2002).
In other words, the United States can reactivate any of its “disarmed” nuclear weapons at any time. The U. S.
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government has not promised any sort of commitment to destroy warheads in its arsenal, it has approved research for new nuclear weapons, and it has increased plutonium production that will be used for more nuclear weapons (reachingcriticalwill. org, 2002).
This has caused a sort of vicious cycle in the stockpiling of nuclear weapons by other countries. Instead of disarming, countries like China and Russia are increasing their nuclear weapons capability in order to counteract the U. S. stockpiling of these weapons (reachingcriticalwill.
Recently, North Korea withdrew from the NPT in order to restart their nuclear program because they felt threatened by the Unites States (bbc. com, 2003).
As we can see, the U. S.
non-compliance of the NPT has prompted other countries to do the same. This act alone will endanger more parts of the world than Iraq ever will. The U. S.
has caused the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and has not complied with an international treaty to abolish these weapons; nevertheless the U. S. government is hell bent on bombing Iraq for the same non-compliance it has shown. Clearly, the Unites States is in no ethical right to demand the disarmament of Iraq when they, the U. S. , have not done any effort to disarm themselves.
People want the U. S. to disarm and they want that to happen as soon as possible. One such person that is pushing for the disarmament of the U.
S. is former American president Jimmy Carter. “One of the things that the United States Government has not done is to try to comply with and enforce international efforts targeted to prohibit the arsenals of biological weapons that we ourselves have,” Carter said in an interview for CNN (France-Presse, 2002).
Carter also mentioned that the major powers of the world need to set the example for the rest of the world to follow. In essence, Jimmy Carter agrees with our point of view of U.
S. disarmament. If the Bush administration is serious about world peace without weapons of mass destruction, they should start by disarming themselves. The U. S.
does not practice what it preaches and this double standard could be the cause of future dangerous conflicts. In retrospect, we have seen why the U. S. government is in no moral and ethical position to demand the complete disarmament of any country. They have been the only country in history to unleash the destructive power of the atomic bomb and they have not complied with the NPT in order to guarantee the abolition of weapons of mass destruction. The government is spending millions on research programs for the construction of new types of mass destructive weaponry.
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Meanwhile, countries like Russia, China, and North Korea are stockpiling more nuclear weapons just in case the U. S. targets them after it is done with Iraq. Although the world’s only superpower wants to bring peace and freedom to everybody, it has not shown signs pointing in that direction. Disarming would be a great first step. Governments spend millions researching new weapons.
We can only imagine what we can do if those resources were actually put to good use.