People Hearing Without Listening
Contra the dogged rhetoric of the president’s domestic nemeses, the Big Lie of the war in Iraq has been the insistent obliviousness to the arguments on which the war was founded. The case for the war consisted of three mutually supportive notions, and all have largely been borne out — with the complications attendant to any war-related endeavor:
- Saddam had had and used WMDs in the past, he had a proven desire to possess them in greater potency and quantity, and he was defying weapons inspectors. In a post-9/11 world, we simply could not allow Iraq to achieve a substantial WMD capability.
- After the initial rush to Baghdad, we found scrupulously destroyed document libraries, and we suspect that some materials were moved out of the country. Most importantly, however, we learned that Saddam had left his WMD machine primed and ready to move forward at full speed once sanctions ended — and let’s not forget that (in part because of oil-for-food bribes) the sanction regimen was coming under increasing international pressure. The long and short of it is that Saddam would have had biological and chemical WMD stockpiles within months of the end of sanctions and nuclear capabilities perhaps within a few years.
- Terrorist links:
- Saddam was more than likely working with terrorists in some capacity, he certainly felt them to be allies in his war against us, and we could not risk his using them to attack us anonymously.
- Because of deliberate obfuscation on the part of anti-war leaders and their media sympathizers (and the inexplicable passivity of the Bush administration), many people appear to have an incorrect understanding of what meaning of “no links” has actually not been disproven. Hussein harbored terrorists; he trained them. He had links to various organizations, particularly among those that focus on attacking Israel, but also with al Qaeda. There are, however, no proven links between Saddam and the 9/11 attack (although I, for one, suspect that there were such links).
- Liberation and the establishment of democracy:
- Apart from the moral call to help a nation of people to escape from tyranny, freeing the Iraqi people and establishing a relatively free country in the heart of the Middle East would likely win us a valuably positioned ally and would hopefully begin a conflagration of freedom that would sweep through one of the world’s most oppressed regions.
- Iraqis welcomed us, and the great majority are going about building their lives as free people. The process of establishing a stable democracy is a long and difficult one, but signs are positive that some version is possible in Iraq. As for the conflagration of freedom, I’d suggest that there’s a reason that Iran has been increasingly hostile against the West, as well as against its own people. Revolution requires time to simmer.