The Iraqian Example
On September 12, 2001, in his speech to Congress and the American people, President Bush stated;
“And we will pursue nations that provide aid or safe haven to terrorism. Every nation in every region now has a decision to make: Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists. From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime.”
In view of not only the attacks of 9-11, but in view of all the attacks over the past decade by Islamic terrorists, our President put the world on notice that we intend to bring an end to terrorism and those who support it wherever we find them. This would be a global war fought not only on the battlefield, but with diplomacy, economics, and intelligence. Where diplomacy is effective, military force can be avoided but when diplomacy fails, then aggressive military force is the only alternative. It has been said that “diplomacy works only at the point of a bayonet“, how true this seems to be.
Why Iraq? Iraq had nothing to do with 9-11. Why have we diverted our attention from finding Osama Bin Ladden, to taking Iraq and the overthrow of Saddam Hussein? “It’s all about Oil!”. “Bush said Iraq was an eminent threat to the US!”. “Bush told us Saddam had weapons of mass destruction!”. “Bush said Hussein was seeking nuclear weapons!”. How many times have we heard these statements by public officials who don’t seem to understand what the war on terror is all about, yet they want to try to undermine our president and take over the Whitehouse?
Did President Bush say that Iraq was an “eminent threat to the US”? No, he didn’t, in fact he said just the opposite. He made it quite clear that we would not wait for Iraq to become an eminent threat by allowing Saddam to continue on the path he was on. Have we diverted our attention away from finding Osama Bin Ladden? Only in the press. There is no longer a war being fought in Afghanistan, we won that war, and hundreds of thousands of troops are no longer needed there. The search for Osama Bin Ladden continues with minimal fighting forces and developing vital intelligence information, which is exactly what is needed there. What about WMD? Just about everyone in the world who bothered to look at the available intelligence information knew that Saddam had a variety of UN banned weapons including chemical, biological, missiles and rockets with extended range that violated UN resolutions. President Bush didn’t create this information, he merely reported on it. There is also no legitimate question that Saddam had nuclear ambitions as far back as 1984 when the Israelis destroyed the nuclear reactor Saddam purchased from France. Documents found in Iraq since the war show massive efforts by Saddam to acquire nuclear capability. The “Wilson Report” was not an honest and sincere investigation and proves nothing other than the fact that he didn‘t find what he was supposed to be looking for. “It’s all about oil”? I won’t even bother to go there. Does anyone still really believe that?
Why wasn’t our intelligence information accurate and current on Iraq? For the answer to that question we need look no further than the previous administration’s dismantling of our intelligence agencies, firing foreign agents, and cutting military spending to the bone. The Clinton administration placed little importance on foreign intelligence or a strong national defense. The Islamic terrorists wasted no time in taking full advantage of this policy which not only resulted in the death and destruction of our people and property, but also severely damaged our reputation and respect as a strong “superpower” nation in the eyes of the world. Did this practice of appeasement do anything to make our nation loved by the world? No, it only made us look as weak as a paper tiger and cost us our respect.
Only now is the real reason for our involvement in Iraq becoming clear. It’s really not because of any of the reasons stated above, they were only the legal justifications for war along with Saddam‘s history of thumbing his nose at international law and violating seventeen UN resolutions over the past ten years. For nearly a decade, the Clinton administration allowed Islamic terrorists to strike at our interests, property, and people abroad and did nothing to stop it. This policy set a precedent and created the impression in the Islamic mind that America was spineless and didn’t have the courage to fight. The result was the devastation and death that rained down upon us on September 11, 2001. But the terrorists didn’t count on the courage and resolve of our new President, George W. Bush. Bush put his foot down and made the statement that “we are mad as hell and we’re not going to take it anymore“. America would again become the great and respected power that we once had been and a war on terrorism was declared. We stormed into Afghanistan, destroyed the Talliban and sent Al Qaeda running for the caves, something they did not expect. That was our retaliation for 911 but not the end of the war on terrorism.
I refer back to the title of this article and the first paragraph. The Islamic radicals and the world had to know that our administration, and times, have changed and from now on, diplomacy would be backed up with the bayonet in spite of the UN’s refusal to do so. For the same reasons that Al Qaeda thought they could get away with their attacks, Saddam Hussein believed the same thing and refused cooperation with UN resolutions and inspectors. Diplomacy was clearly failing with Iraq and no chance of cooperation or success was becoming painfully visible. If we are to win the war on terrorism, the world has to know that we now mean what we say and will back it up. We would waste no more time with Saddam Hussein’s games of deception. We attacked, we kicked ass, we threw out the Hussein regime, we freed the Iraqi people from oppression, and we went to work rebuilding the country and creating a democratic government representative of the Iraqi people.
In spite of all the anti-American propaganda, we earned a great deal of respect among the Arab nations who now are willing to admit that we did them all a huge favor by eliminating Saddam Hussein. There is no better example of the respect we earned than the recent change in Libya’s president Moammar Gadhafi who has always supported terrorism and was behind the Pan Am flight 103 bombing over Lockerbie Scotland in 1988. In Gadhafi’s own words, he told the world he would now cooperate with international weapons bans and allow UN inspections in his country. “I saw what happened to Saddam Hussein and I was afraid” said Gadhafi. We are beginning to see changes in cooperation among other Arab nations as well, Libya was only the first. We didn’t have to use military force in Libya because we set a new precedent with Iraq and gained back some of the respect we had lost. Negotiations have been going on with Gadhafi for the past year and diplomacy worked there, now that he knows that it will be backed up with the bayonet if necessary. This is what our invasion of Iraq is really all about, putting the world on notice that we have that bayonet and are now prepared to use it if necessary under the leadership and resolve of President Bush. “You’re not dealing with Bill Clinton anymore and we will no longer tolerate our people and property to be attacked“. This was the message we sent to the world with the invasion of Iraq. Saddam Hussein had put his country in the perfect position to be made an example of, and we didn’t pass up the opportunity to do just that. We kicked out the neighborhood bully and put the region on notice that they could expect the same if they continue in their support of terrorists. The US is not interested in ruling the world, only in protecting our people and interests by deterring terrorism. “The best defense is a strong offense”, that is our strategy. This is how the taking of Iraq and the capture of Saddam Hussein has made America safer.
The strategic location of Iraq is perfect for our purposes too, right in the middle of the Islamic territory. In a short period of time, the surrounding nations will see the advantages of democracy and liberty and even now are beginning to convert through internal pressure from their people to come out of the tenth century and join the modern world. It’s a central point for the war on terrorism to be conducted as well, where terrorists are being attracted and killed just like roaches to a roach trap. This keeps them busy and away from our shores and is a huge strategic advantage to us in the war on terror.