October 20, 2002
Will war with Iraq bring more terror home?
By Julie Hull
In the wake of a decision by congress to support a solo war with Iraq, worries have increased that an attack will prompt terrorist actions from Saddam Hussein, or motivate him to work with other terrorist groups. The CIA, even, has warned that if war with Iraq became imminent, Saddam would likely be moved towards terrorist acts against the US with either conventional, biological or chemical weapons as a last-ditch effort to take as many people as possible down with him. That Saddam would share this sentiment is almost certain; as a tyrant, he has not hesitated to use weapons of mass destruction against the citizens of his own country, and even to kill his own officers when he questioned their loyalty. All in all, he seems unhampered by scruples and willing to sacrifice many others for his own gain. But the question of how he could effectively use terror against America is not so certain. Iraq's arsenal includes conventional, chemical and biological weapons, perhaps even a nuclear weapon or two. But none of these weapons are capable of reaching out over an ocean and thousands of miles without a delivery system. Iraq possesses perhaps a dozen Scud missiles that could be used with any of these weapons, but their range doesn't extend much further than the local area. The likely target would be Israel, which has recently acquired an anti-missile defense that would likely make an attack like this prove futile. When our troops arrive, Saddam could also use these weapons on his own soil, but our soldiers are better equipped and protected against these kinds of attacks than anyone else; the likely victims would be Hussein's own citizens. The only remaining option Saddam would have left would be to sneak either his own people or those of another terrorist group such as Al Qaeda with those weapons into our country. His officers might be hesitant to carry out orders like that if they sensed a tide in the war that showed that their leader would be deposed and they would be on their own against an unfriendly American public and hostile government. If Saddam chose to outfit a terror group with weapons of mass destruction, the use of those weapons would be out of his hands even if they did manage to reach our shores, which is a big question itself. Security, already stepped up in the wake of 9-11, would surely be heightened to previously unforeseen levels during any war, especially a war against a vicious tyrant with weapons of mass destruction in his possession. Will war with Iraq bring terror our direction? Maybe. Will it reach us? Probably not.
Julia Hull is the author of Risk Evaluation Services, Inc.'s newsletters, which help people to identify and protect themselves from risks in their lives. For online health and safety risk information, news, and personalized risk evaluation reports visit http://www.riskevaluationservices.com or email for more information.
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