VALLEY PATRIOT EDITORIAL
Too often we get immersed in details and lose sight of the big picture. The case for going to war in Iraq was (and continues to be) overwhelming.
The bottom line is that Iraq was the best target for keeping terrorism away from our homes and our families.
You constantly hear from Senators Kennedy and Kerry that we are bogged down in Iraq. But think about it. Who is bogged down in Iraq: the US or the terrorists? If Kennedy and Kerry worked for Osama they might rightfully argue that if Al Qaeda’s target is America and the West, why are their fighters “bogged down” in Baghdad and Falluja instead of fighting in Boston, New York, Washington, Chicago, and Los Angeles? Every terrorist we deal with in Iraq (whether a native Iraqi or a Syrian, Iranian, Jordanian, or Saudi import) is better exterminated there than during or after a terrorist attack at Fenway Park.
The WMD threat posed by Iraq provided sufficient justification for our attack but it was not the number one reason we went into Iraq. The major reason we attacked Iraq was to gain long-term, strategic advantages in the war on terror. Other, often-mentioned considerations (e.g., stopping horrendous human rights violations by Saddam and putting an end to his ugly regime) would have represented nice side benefits but, by themselves, provided insufficient justification.
To understand the strategic imperative of attacking Iraq we need to recognize two facts: first, the terrorist movement that threatens America and Western Civilization is driven by radical Muslim fanatics, and second, Iraq is dead center, geographically, in the Muslim world. Yes, there are millions of Muslims in Indonesia, the Philippines, and northern Africa but they are all within a few miles of our aircraft carriers. Baghdad, Riyadh, Tehran, and Kabul are not.
With Iraq, Afghanistan and the Persian Gulf already accessible to us, Iran is now surrounded on three sides. Damascus, Syria and Amman, Jordan, both with mountains protecting their western flank, are now an easy 140- 200 tank miles away over flat desert from western Iraq. Are we planning an attack? No. But it sure is nice to know that if they support a terrorist attack on the US we could drop in for lunch.
The Muslim countries in the Middle East are a festering armpit of repression, ignorance, and hatred. Boldly attacking the center of this hellhole and replacing the premiere tyrant of the region with a government that exhibits even a semblance of openness and democracy is the fanatic terrorists’ and the nearby despots’ worst nightmare. That alone is evidence that it was a great idea. The fact that the terrorists’ reaction was to scream bloody murder and throw themselves into suicidal attacks is even better evidence of their understanding that we did precisely the right thing.
The terrorists know better than Kerry and Kennedy the strategic impact of our battle plan. It is the result of our actions in Iraq on the rest of the despotic Muslim world that will bear the greatest fruit for our security.
Qaddaffi’s recent capitulation is exhibit one. As we succeed in Iraq, more will follow.
Finally, a note on WMD in Iraq. While the broader strategic advantages of toppling Saddam should have played a greater role in justifying the invasion, it is understandable that the very real threat of WMD provided an easier case for the Bush administration to make. That Saddam developed WMD and used them both during his war with Iran and on the Kurds is accepted fact. The recent attack on our forces using an IED, constructed with an artillery shell containing nerve gas (Sarin gas, 26 times as deadly as cyanide gas), provides evidence of Saddam’s history and continuing involvement with chemical weapons. Had this shell been fired as it was intended to be fired, the two precursor chemicals would have been properly mixed, a substantially greater dose of Sarin dispersed, and numerous horrible deaths would have ensued.
Whatever the uncertainty concerning Iraq’s possession or state of development of WMD, it would have been irresponsible for any US president to ignore the potential Iraqi WMD threat and “hope for the best”.
What would Kerry and Kennedy (who also said Iraq had these weapons before the war) or an “Independent Commission” say about President Bush if he had not invaded Iraq and subsequently Sarin gas from Iraq was dispersed at Fenway Park? Our guess is they would wonder why he didn’t “connect the dots”.