Upon President Bush’s
State of the Union address in which he labeled Iran, Iraq, and North Korea
the “Axis of Evil,” liberals instantly became hot with righteous indignation.
Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) said the line garnered “more uncertainty than certainty.”
Sen. Robert Byrd, former Klansman and current Democrat from West Virginia,
windily complained that the President was “shooting from the hip.” Then-Senate
Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD) said it “conjures up the notion that we
have a single-minded, unilateral policy affecting all three countries identically.”
Still spooked by that killer bunny incident, former President Jimmy Carter
said, “I think it will take years before we can repair the damage done by
that statement.” He went on to call it “overly simplistic and counter
productive.” (By contrast, Carter’s policy inevitably would have been to
boycott the Pyongyang Olympics.) An article in USA Today sneered, “An axis? Hardly. The countries have more differences than similarities.”
As it turns out, there may have been more of a connection between the Axis
nations than was originally reported. International inspectors have
discovered computer files in Baghdad which illustrate beyond doubt that Saddam
Hussein was engaged in weapons negotiations with North Korea for two years
before the war began. His goal, according to the New York Times,
“was to obtain a full production line to manufacture, under an Iraqi flag,
the North Korean missile system, which would be capable of hitting American
allies and bases around the region…” These negotiations were primarily
conducted in Syria, with the knowledge of the Syrian government.
Iraq sought missiles known as the Rodong, and thus clearly violated U.N.
resolutions prohibiting the nation from acquiring missiles of that range.
The final session of negotiations occurred last February, and it was on this
trip that Iraq also attempted to buy night-vision goggles, ammunition, and
gun barrels, presumably in preparation for the impending attack. Frighteningly,
the man who conducted the negations, Munir Awad, the senior officer of Al
Bashair, is now believed to be in Syria under the protection of the Syrian
In spite of these tense talks between Axis members, it seems that Saddam
fell victim to precisely the same man that our own William Jefferson Clinton
did: the ever-mendacious Kim Jong Il. Said the Times, “In return
for a $10 million down payment, Mr. Hussein appears to have gotten nothing.”
A month before the invasion, Iraqi officials went to Syria to demand that
North Korea refund $1.9 million because it had failed to meet the agreed
On the basis of these reports, it’s probably safe to conclude that all of
the pre-war bloviating about that moron in the White House and that silly
Axis of Evil was absolutely preposterous. There was a factual link
between the three nations, and the administration acted accordingly.
There is, however, a much larger link -- one that all should have recognized
immediately, but that only thoughtful conservatives did.
Totalitarianism breeds terrorism, and it must thus be the free world’s principal
mission to end it. The Axis of Evil is comprised not of nations with
identical problems, or which pose identical threats. This is precisely
why, notwithstanding the wails of a certain addled senator, they don’t require
identical American responses. Each of the countries in the Axis of
Evil lacked -- at least when the President grouped them so -- the critical
ingredient of liberty.
To be sure, there were more tangible connections between the countries, like
the aforementioned Iraq-North Korea missile deal, but it was the freedom
factor which most tightly bound them. Defeating the remnants of Saddam’s
bloody regime is essential to winning the struggle against terrorism, but
the broader fight is against all forces that seek to hinder the global expansion
of freedom. That is what the Axis of Evil was about, that is what Operation
Iraqi Freedom is about, and that is what the War on Terrorism itself, is
Z. Sterrett, a resident of Aptos, California, is a Lifetime Member of the
California Junior Scholarship Federation and a Sustaining Member of the Republican