Iraq: The Lynchpin in the War on Terrorism
By Rachel Marsden
Saddam Hussein may be a dictatorial madman, but no one can accuse him of being stupid. His 12,000 page report to the United Nations detailing Iraq's weapons programs ought to, at the very least, make for a few good months worth of bedtime reading for Bush-and will force America to play rope-a-dope with Hussein for awhile longer. Meanwhile, Bush continues to send US troops over to the Middle East for what, so far, has been little more than a costly field trip. Bush's critics paint him as being far too eager to hit the "little red button", as though it was part of some kind of amusement center pinball game. However, their characterization of the US President as a warmonger couldn't be more off base. His record hardly bears out the charge.
During Bush's campaign for the presidency, he said very little about foreign affairs-to the point that his silence was interpreted as a sign of ignorance by some. When Bush did speak about US foreign policy, it was to insist time and again that America was over-committed, pushy, and too involved in telling other countries how to run their affairs. The remarks are hardly characteristic of the power hungry poster boy for "American imperialism" that some have made him out to be.
Bush's foreign policy did a 180 degree flip-flop on the basis of a single, pivotal event: the 9/11 terrorist attacks on America. It was on that date that America realized it could no longer afford to turn its back on the Muslim world and pretend that events in the Middle East have nothing to do with the Western World. Just as Pearl Harbor transformed the planet in an instant, so did it radically change once again on September 11th, 2001. Unfortunately, it now seems that it may actually take yet another cataclysmic event of 9/11 magnitude to remind the world of why America appears to be so hawkish towards the Middle East.
Contrary to what anti-war activists and conspiracy theorists argue, Bush's foreign affairs policy is not centered strictly on some kind of burning desire to tap into Iraq's oil-nor is it about finishing the job his dad never had the chance to during the Persian Gulf War of the early 1990's. Even the peaceniks agree that the key to a free, liberated, empowered people is a democratic system of government. Perhaps the critics would like to explain exactly how democracy and freedom could ever be achieved without some kind of interventionist force? There must be a catalyst for such drastic change to occur, because the cycle of oppression doesn't just magically stop spinning around on its own. One only needs to look as far as Cuba's long-reigning Fidel Castro to see that dictators have shelf lives longer than those of Twinkies.
"So," howl the peaceniks, "Why don't we go after Castro then-or some of the other 'bad guys'? Why are we picking on poor Saddam and the Middle East?" Well, last I checked, Castro and the Cubans weren't hijacking American aircraft carriers, proudly and publicly advocating "death to America", and making videos of the effects of nerve gas on living creatures to send to their "enemies". It's the squeaky wheel that tends to get the oil, and Hussein's been squealing like he's rolling along on a '85 Chevette.
As for our "friends" the Saudis who continue to propagate totalitarian Wahabi Islam and to fund terrorism via royal money-again, Iraq is the key. Bush has expressed privately that a Saudi regime change is also in order. However, the Saudis will feel more heat when the US moves in to occupy Iraq. At that point, America would no longer be dependent on Saudi oil, and would therefore have the political leverage necessary to pressure the Saudis to stop their support of terrorist activities. Essentially then, a war on Saddam Hussein's Iraq IS a war on terrorism. In fact, it's the lynchpin for the whole shebang.
Of course, if war can be averted, then all the better. To this end, a swift assassination of the Iraqi dictator would be in everyone's best interests. Much to the delight of all the peace activists, such an act would save lives, cost less money, and would be far more environmentally friendly than the alternative of war. However, any such attempts so far have been thwarted due to the high level of security around the Iraqi president at all times, as well as the presence of look-alike Hussein decoys.
So, judging by past experience, it looks like war against Iraq is inevitable. Surely Saddam's 12,000 page report to the United Nations doesn't contain the truth, as the truth can be told in far fewer pages than that. As some of us may recall from our university and college essays, it takes far more in the way of endless drivel to BS and obfuscate effectively. But even in spite of the lies and omissions, Hussein has little to worry about. The recent UN Security Council Resolution 1441 states that, by December 8, Iraq had to provide weapons inspectors with "a currently accurate, full, and complete declaration" of every aspect of its chemical, biological, nuclear and missile programs; however, the resolution also provides Iraq with a convenient loophole in that it prevents Hussein from being deemed in material breach even if his report contains fallacies and omissions. The wording of the lame-duck resolution is such that as long as Hussein allows UN weapons inspectors to be led throughout his country in a hopeless "hide-and-seek" search for weapons, then he's free and clear of any material breach. And to believe that this isn't exactly the way things are being done in Iraq at this very second-with an understaffed group of weapons inspectors who have little to no experience in dealing with a regime so well-practiced in deception-is just plain ignorance.
From a public relations standpoint, it would be a nice bonus if Bush could obtain irrefutable photographic proof of the danger Saddam Hussein poses to the world, in the same way that the world was able to see first-hand the aerial photo of the Cuban missile threat of the early 1960's. That's the key to garnering widespread support for military action. But of course, that still wouldn't be enough for some people-namely those who spend their Saturday afternoons marching up and down Constitution Avenue in front of the White House carrying anti-war signs.
Four months ago, White House officials were saying that Bush had no need to consult the United Nations before moving into Iraq unilaterally to deliver Saddam Hussein his eviction notice. Bush took the high road, and opted for an attempt at a peaceful and costly resolution through the United Nations. But as long as Saddam exists, you can bet that there will be weapons of mass destruction somewhere in Iraq-because Saddam isn't Saddam without them. Denying that Hussein has some serious weapons stashed away somewhere is like denying the existence of gravity simply on the grounds that you can't see it. But how much longer Bush is willing to hold off on attack in order to fight the public relations war for the benefit of those for whom 9/11 obviously didn't drive home the message hard enough is another matter. Time is running out, and some people will just never get it anyway.