Predicting the future
is the job of soothsayers. Still, something must be said about the future
of Iraq if we are to remain confident and resolute enough to see our venture
there through to the finish.
Let us begin with the Democrat’s claims that the President “lied” us into
the invasion that has seen the overthrow of Saddam Hussein and the end to
what was arguably the most horrid regime since those of Nazi Germany and
the gulags of the Soviet Union. Who said, “If Saddam rejects peace and we
have to use force, our purpose is clear. We want to seriously diminish the
threat posed by Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction program?” Answer: former
President Clinton on Feb. 17, 1998.
Who said, “Iraq is a long way from [here], but what happens there matters
a great deal here. For the risks that the leaders of a rogue state will use
nuclear, chemical or biological weapons against us or our allies is the greatest
security threat we face?” Answer: Former Secretary of State Madeline Albright
on Feb. 18, 1998.
In November 2002, Senator Ted Kennedy said, “We have known for many years
that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction.”
However, on September 18, 2003, he said, “There was no imminent threat. This
was made up in Texas, announced in January to the Republican leadership,
that war was going to take place and was going to be good politically. This
whole thing was a fraud.”
If the intelligence that the Senate committee was receiving was wrong, then
the intelligence upon which the President based his decision was wrong. We
have learned, however, that there was a direct Saddam-Osama bin Laden connection.
Indeed, the only other explanation was that Saddam engaged in an elaborate
WMD bluff. Meanwhile, defectors from Saddam’s regime repeatedly said he was
seeking to build a WMD program. Who do you believe? Democrats who are denying
what they said or Iraqi defectors and other facts that include his use of
poison gas against the Kurdish population in Iraq and during his war with
Even Arab pundits who initially opposed the invasion of Iraq have revised
their views. Fawaz Turki, a columnist for the Jidda-based Arab News,
recently wrote, “No, I don’t believe that by going to war America had dark
designs on Iraq’s oil or pursued an equally dark conspiracy to ‘help Israel.’
I believe that the United States, perhaps willy-nilly, will end up helping
Iraqis regain their human sanity, their social composure and the national
will to rebuild their devastated nation.” The mass graves of Iraqis confirm
the inhumanity of the Saddam regime.
In early November, a Gallup poll taken in Baghdad reported “virtually without
exception (98% agree, 1% disagree), Baghdadis agree that the new constitution
should guarantee all Iraqis the right ‘to express their opinion on the political,
social, and economic issues of the day.’ No demographic group appears to
view freedom of speech as anything other than the most basic of civil rights.”
In this Muslim nation, “the vast majority of Baghdad’s residents agree that
the country’s next constitution should include a provision ‘allowing all
Iraqi citizens to observe any religion of their choice and to practice its
teachings and beliefs.’” The notion that democracy cannot take root in Iraq
or any other Middle Eastern nation is wrong.
In late October, the libertarian think tank, the Cato Institute, issued a
policy analysis by Charles V. Pena, its director of defense policy studies.
He expressed the view that, “Much of the anti-American resentment around
the world, particularly in the Islamic world, is the result of interventionalist
US foreign policy.” Such experts have been wrong in the past. It strikes
me that the US has had a long history of trying to stay out of wars in other
parts of the globe. We resisted going to war in both WWI and WWII. We responded
to the North Korean attack on the South under the aegis of the United Nations.
We did, however, blunder (and were lied into) the Vietnam War. Time and time
again, the US has consistently tried its best to resist military action in
favor of diplomacy.
I suspect the United States is more resented for previously championing democracy
as the answer to conflicts because it was often seen as doing little to encourage
it. That “status quo” policy is dead.
“It is too late to stop al Qaeda from targeting America and Americans,” wrote
Pena. “The United States must do everything in its power to dismantle the
al Qaeda terrorist network worldwide, but the United States must also avoid
needlessly making new terrorist enemies or fueling the flames of virulent
anti-American hated. In the 21st century, the less the United States meddles
in the affairs of other countries, the less likely the prospect that American
and Americans will be targets for terrorism.” Wrong! Wrong! Wrong!
First of all, al Qaeda is not a national movement that has a geographic location.
Destroying it will require a change of mind among those nations that have
funded and supported it. Lacking that, the US will likely have to compel,
i.e., invade those nations that permit it to function. When we finish our
work in Afghanistan and Iraq, we will have to turn our attention to Iran
where credible reports say al Qaeda is setting up its new headquarters with
the blessing of the ayatollahs. Our policy toward Saudi Arabia is also changing.
As Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld recently stated, “Our exit strategy
in Iraq is success; it’s that simple." “The objective is not to leave,” but
rather “to succeed in our mission.” As proof that others share that mission,
thirty-two nations are now providing on-the-ground support for Iraqi reconstruction
Noticeably missing is the United Nations! The UN is a useless doppelganger
of WWII; the failed dream of an institution to achieve world peace.
The Cato analysis, to its credit, calls for greater emphasis on preventing
terrorists from entering the US, as well as weapons or the components of
WMDs. It calls for greater protection of critical facilities. I will, however,
disagree with the Cato Institute’s essentially isolationist analysis.
I will oppose the cowardly response of the Democrat Party. The Democrats
offer no “exit” strategy other than to abandon Iraqis to chaos and surrender
to al Qaeda.
Lastly, it is worth noting that, since 9-11, there has not been a single
terrorist attack in America. This does not mean one is not being planned,
but it does mean that projecting our power in Afghanistan and Iraq has protected
American lives thus far. Most people would call that a success.
Alan Caruba is the author of Warning Signs, published by Merril Press. His weekly commentaries are posted on the Internet site of The National Anxiety Center.