Skip to comments.Asking the Right Questions on Iraq
Posted on 10/09/2004 12:48:29 PM PDT by wagglebee
A favorite slogan of the anti-war crowd is War is not the answer. Yet everyone except extreme pacifists would agree that whether war is in fact the answer depends on the question. In some contexts, war is the answer.
The same may be said for the two questions that dominate the current presidential campaign. Are we safer now than we were on 9/11? Was the war in Iraq a mistake? Supporters of President Bush will answer yes to the first and no to the second; supporters of Senator Kerry will take the opposite view.
As a supporter of the war and of the president, I have noticed a common omission in the arguments of the naysayers. This is their failure to look at the side of the equation that our enemies control.
Defending Senator Kerrys contention that this was the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time, William Saletan writes in a recent Slate.com: How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake? Thats what it all comes down to this debate, this war, this election.
As Saletan shows, its easy to argue if one looks simply at the costs of the war and at its present status that it was. The war has not been won. A thousand Americans and many more Iraqis have died. Iraq is a mess. The price tag for the mess is $200 billion. How can it not have been a mistake?
This calculation, however, omits two crucial ledger columns: the cost of having not fought the war at all and the gains that can be achieved by continuing the war until it is won.
If we had not invaded Iraq, Saddam Hussein would still be in power; Abu Musab al-Zarqawi would be in command of an al-Qaida army in northern Iraq; the U.N.s 17th resolution ordering Saddam to comply or else would have been successfully defied; the largest chemical weapons factory in the Third World, in Libya, would still be humming along with an advanced nuclear weapons plant (both now shut down); and the forces of terror the Zarqawis and Zawahiris would be doing what in the face of another toothless appeasement by the world community? That of course is the question that Saletan and Kerry and those who agree with them cannot answer.
To be fair, they have made a stab at one. In the first presidential debate Kerry said that the Iraq war was a diversion from the war on terror (though he did not explain how Zarqawi, who is based in Iraq, could be hunted down by a war in Afghanistan). As for Iraq, We would have had sanctions. We would have had the U.N. inspectors. Saddam Hussein would have been continually weakening.
But the only reason there were U.N. inspectors in Iraq was because the Bush administration put 200,000 troops on the Iraqi border in preparation for a showdown and that forced Saddam to allow them in. Does anyone really imagine that we could have kept 200,000 American soldiers in the desert indefinitely while Saddam Hussein played the same cat-and-mouse game with the inspectors that he had been playing since in 1991, or that he would have been weakened by our failure to act on a deadline the Security Council had unanimously endorsed?
Can anyone really believe that sanctions were a feasible stick with which to weaken Saddam Hussein when he was able to breach them by getting the U.N. to support a $50 billion oil-for-food program which undercut their effect while allowing him to illegally skim 20 percent of the entire program for his personal uses, including the bribing of French, Russian and German politicians to protect his deadly assets?
Was the Iraq war a diversion? Senator Kerry thinks we should have put all our troops into the effort to hunt down Osama bin Laden. But bin Laden is probably dead and three-quarters of his top leadership has been decapitated. Bin Laden hasnt been visible since his alleged escape from the caves of Tora Bora. He hasnt been able to mount an attack inside the United States in three years. The most recent al-Qaida threat comes in the name of Al-Zawahiri, his second in command.
And the most important and destructive terrorist alive today is Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. And hes in Iraq.
Yes, we are safer today because of the wars conducted by the Bush administration than we would have been had our troops stayed home or only in Afghanistan. It is true, as the opponents of the president point out, that there is a lot of mayhem in Iraq and a lot of threats in the world. But the mayhem in Iraq is the disarray of the terrorist forces, which is good, and the war itself is the only language they understand.
The Shiite imam, Moqtada al-Sadr, is now seeking to lay down his arms and become a candidate in the upcoming elections. That is the victory we seek. That is the persuasive power of military force, and the argument for staying the course, and for keeping this president in office.
The left doesn't want to win the war on terror.
The left doesn't want to win the war on terror.
The left is full of terrorist.
The left does not want a Republican to win the war on terror.
The left (DEMOCRATS) would sell out the country to prevent Republican success.
The ledger cannot be balanced until all the expenses are in and the job is finished. Until then, it is idle speculation.
There's another benefit I've not seen mentioned: we now have Iran effectively surrounded. I suspect this will be a huge cost savings when the inevitable comes to pass.