Skip to comments.Safire: 'Spinning Into Control'
Posted on 01/11/2004 7:50:58 PM PST by Pokey78
The strategic reason for crushing Saddam was to reverse the tide of global terror that incubated in the Middle East.
Is our pre-emptive policy working? Was the message sent by ousting the Baathists as well as the Taliban worth the cost?
Set aside the tens of thousands of lives saved each year by ending Saddam's sustained murder of Iraqi Shia and Kurds, which is of little concern to human rights inactivists. Consider only self-defense: the practical impact of American action on the spread of dangerous weaponry in antidemocratic hands.
1. In Libya, Colonel Qaddafi took one look at our army massing for the invasion of Iraq and decided to get out of the mass-destruction business. He has since stopped lying to gullible U.N. inspectors and in return for U.S. investment instead of invasion promises civilized behavior. The notion that this terror-supporting dictator's epiphany was not the direct result of our military action, but of decade-long diplomatic pleas for goodness and mercy, is laughable.
2. In Afghanistan, supposedly intractable warlords in a formerly radical Islamist, female-repressing culture of conflicting tribes and languages have come together. Under our NATO security umbrella and with some U.N. guidance, a grand conclave of leaders freed by U.S. power surprised the Arab world's doubting despots with the elements of a constitution that leads the way out of the past generation's abyss of barbarism.
3. In Syria, a hiding place for Saddam's finances, henchmen and weaponry and exporter of Hezbollah and Hamas terrorism Dictator Bashar al-Assad is nervously seeking to re-open negotiations with Israel to regain strategic heights his father lost in the last Syrian aggression. Secret talks have already begun (I suspect through Turkey, Israel's Muslim friend, rather than the unfriendly European Union); this would not have happened while Saddam was able to choke off illicit oil shipments to Syria.
4. On the West Bank, incipient Israeli negotiations with Syria on top of the overthrow of the despot who rewarded Palestinian suicide bombers further isolates the terror organizations behind Yasir Arafat. Under the pressure of Israel's security fence, and without the active support of Egypt and Saudi Arabia (each eager to retain protection of a strong-willed Bush administration), Palestinians now have incentives to find an antiterrorist leader who can deliver statehood.
5. In Iran, the presence of 130,000 U.S. troops near the border was not lost on the despot-clerics in power, who suddenly seemed reasonable to European diplomats seeking guarantees that Russian-built nuclear plants would be inspected. Colin Powell has been secretly dickering with the so-called reform ayatollah for a year in hopes of being on the right side of a future revolution. The old "Great Satan" crowd has just barred four-score reformist Parliament members from seeking re-election. That panicky crackdown in Teheran is a sign of the rulers' weakness; the example of freedom in neighboring Iraq will help cause another part of the axis to fall.
6. In Iraq, where casualties in Baghdad could be compared to civilian losses to everyday violence in New York and Los Angeles, a rudimentary federal republic is forming itself with all the customary growing pains. After the new Iraq walks by itself, we can expect free Iraqis to throw their crutches at the doctor. But we did not depose Saddam to impose a puppet; we are helping Iraqis defeat the diehards and resist fragmentation to set in place a powerful democratic example.
7. In North Korea, a half-world away from that example, an unofficial U.S. group was shown nuclear fuel facilities at Yongbyon to demonstrate that the world faced a real threat. But the U.S. has given China to understand that nuclear-armed Pyongyang would lead to missile defenses in Japan and Taiwan, a potential challenge to China's Asian hegemony. Our new credibility is leading China to broker an enforceable agreement like the kind Libya has offered, with economic sweeteners tightly tied to verification.
The columnist Jim Hoagland cautions that it is too early to proclaim that nonproliferation is "spinning into control." But taken together, this phased array of fallout to our decision to lead the world's war against terror makes the case that what we have been doing is strategically sound as well as morally right.
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So it is. And, at that, Safire left off the emerging rapprochement between Pakistan and India.
I liked the article but hated that line. We should never compare the sacrifices of volunteer soldiers to the victims of chaos in our cities, many of whom are themselves perpetrators of that chaos. Besides, what city in the USA with population 130,000 has the losses of our units in Iraq? It sounds more like the author is saying "in the big scheme of things, there aren't that many getting killed, and, like in big cities, they're no one I know".
You mean between India and the Pakistani Army. So far it has had the sense to see the danger of Mullah control.
Thank you, Bill. It warms the heart to read this searing truth in the "newspaper of record."
Two of my former roommates got back about two months ago. We met up at the Army-Navy game last month. It was great to see them back. They'd been in Iraq since the start in a psyops unit (commander and XO). All over the place moving with the Marines. Nobody in the unit got hurt.