Questions and Answers
U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell told UN Security Council members this slide of a rocket-test facility shows Iraqi officials removing evidence of weapons of mass destruction. The removal happened just days before UN weapons inspectors visited the facility, he charged.
(Photo Courtesy U.S. Department of State) 1) Why is the U.S. at war with Iraq?
The Bush administration believes Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein is hiding illegal weapons that can kill thousands of people at a time. The White House also believes there are links between Iraq and terrorist groups that might attack the United States with these types of weapons.
2) What countries support the U.S.?
More than 40 countries around the world have announced their support for the use of force against Iraq. In Europe, the governments of the United Kingdom, Spain, and Italy are among those that believe Saddam Hussein should be removed from power. Ten countries in central and eastern Europe also issued statements of support. In the Middle East, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar have allowed U.S. troops, planes, and other equipment to be stationed in their countries.
3) Do some countries disagree with the U.S. position?
Yes. While France and Germany have been closely allied to the U.S., they do not support a war. Instead, they wanted to let weapons inspectors continue searching for illegal weapons in Iraq. Russia shares this view.
4) What is Iraq's point of view?
Iraqi Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz says America wants to invade Iraq to control the oil and reshape the Middle East to serve its own goals and those of Israel. Iraqi officials deny having or building weapons of mass destruction and argue that weapons inspectors have found no evidence of them. They also deny any links with terrorist organizations.
5) What happened at the UN before the war?
A lot. Right before the war began, the U.S. and its allies tried to get the UN to adopt a resolution to support a war. But the U.S. had trouble finding enough support for the resolution, so it was never formally proposed. The U.S. believes it has the right to go to war against Iraq anyway, claiming that it violated previous UN resolutions. Some other nations, especially France and Germany, disagree. Many people believe that the split between the U.S. and the UN will change how the international community works in the future. (See How the UN Works for more on this subject.)
6) Are we safe in the U.S.?
Chances are, yes. America can't remove all dangers from possible attacks, but our government has done a lot to protect the country from an attack. Security is tight at bridges, airports, and popular spots. Borders and ports are guarded by police. Intelligence agencies have arrested people in the U.S. and abroad for their associations with terrorism.