Are we really fighting for freedom?

While Operation Iraqi Freedom enters its second full week of military action, varying opinions have been voiced around the globe in support and against President Bush’s attempt to overthrow Iraqi President Saddam Hussein’s regime. Regardless of your stance, there is little question that America must support its men and women in combat. However, as a citizen it is your right and obligation to understand the policies behind the battles waged.

President Bush’s use of the word freedom in the title of the war implies that freedom will be bestowed upon the Iraqi citizens once the current regime is overthrown. In the past week much has been discussed about the atrocities Hussein afflicted upon the Kurdish population in Northern Iraq. The Kurds make up approximately 20 percent of the Iraqi population, compared to the 70 percent that is Arab. Presently, the Kurdish people are the largest ethnic group in the world without a nation of their own and are subjected to the rules of Iraq, Iran, Turkey, Syria and the southwestern states of the former Soviet Union. In all these lands, Kurdish practices of any kind are prohibited and are punished with severe imprisonment and sometimes even death.

Such restrictions occur for all Kurds, not just those in Iraq under Saddam’s watch. So, while President Bush is advocating a fight for freedom of the Iraqi people and promoting the freedom of the Kurds in the North, he is ignoring the same situation that is occurring in our allied lands, significantly Turkey.

The United States has made no secret about its desire and need to use Turkey’s land and airspace for the coalition’s troops. It is true that the United States and international community are adamant against the movement of Turkish troops into Northern Iraq, squelching the Kurdish population there, but no talk has been made of the repressions of the Kurdish people already inflicted by the Turkish government.

It is somewhat ironic that while America and its allies are campaigning for support from Turkey to supposedly free the Kurds from the restrictions of Saddam, the situation is not much better for the Kurds right across the border.

If the United States and its allies truly are fighting for the freedom of the Iraqi people, should it not stand to reason that the coalition should recognize the lack of people’s rights just miles away from the current struggle? Yes, perhaps the way to peace and justice is fighting one battle at a time, but what precedent is set for the international community when the world’s superpower looks the other way to violations of human rights?

As the war continues to intensify in Iraq and our brave soldiers fight for liberation, what freedom will there really be when the guns are put to rest?