Monday, June 13, 2005
- Containing Saddam required continued military presence in Saudi Arabia, a presence that was specifically cited by all major terrorist organizations as being one of the causis belli for their armed jihad. As a result of the campaign US military footprint in the Holy Lands of Islam has been practically removed, eliminating that point from any discussion of legitimacy. Without the campaign we would most certainly have still been in both a politically and militarily poorly defended position.
- If we were still containing Saddam our ability to present a credible threat against other bad actors in the region would be greatly lessened. If it becomes necessary to militarily prevent Iran from attaining nuclear weapons is this more credible from positions in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Arabian Gulf or only from the latter two? Without Iraq would we have secured Libyan cooperation?
- If we were still containing Saddam any potential military action that may be required in the region would have to deal with the presence of a large hostile force operating against our flank, greatly reducing the power available to bear on the specific issue at hand.
- Even if Saddam was unable to reconstitute his WMD stocks, he still possessed scientific and technical knowledge and skill to do so, knowledge that could easily have been shared with others who did posses resources to build WMD. The transfer of nuclear weapons knowledge by A Q Khan to various Arab nations is a perfect example of what likely would have happened.
- If we were still containing Saddam the Arabists would still have their favorite strong man, still standing defiant against the imperialist American infidels, a rally point and living demonstration of the inability or unwillingness of America to act. It was such an assumption of American impotence that greatly emboldened Al Queda to implement their 9/11 plan.
- If we were still containing Saddam the Iraqi people would still be subjected to the iron fist of him and his sons, suffering the brunt of the sanctions while he cut his deals with France, China, Russia and the UN.
- If we were still containing Saddam we would still be fighting against France et. al. trying to lift sanctions against Iraq. True, we could have indefinitely sustained them by vetoing any proposed lifting, but only at the cost of probably even worse name-calling and UN malcontent than that received for trying to hold Saddam accountable to the terms of the 1991 cease-fire.
- If we were still containing Saddam there would be no demonstrable example of Muslim freedom and democracy in the Middle East and no example of America's demonstrated commitment to such. Without Iraq there would have been no Cedar revolution in Lebanon, no election in the Palestinian territories, no talk of multi-party political reform in Egypt, no local election of representatives in Saudi Arabia. All these positive changes boding well for long-term stability and real advancements in the human condition in the region would have never happened.
- If we were still containing Saddam we would have no viable alternative petroleum source should the Islamists succeed in overthrowing the House of Saud. Imagine, if you will, the complete removal of Saudi oil from the market and us faced with having to try and wrest it from Al Queda without an alternative and with a hostile force to the north (see comment above).
- If we were still containing Saddam the Islamists and terrorists would have been free to plot and plan in relative peace, once again having the luxury of being able to choose the time and place of their next action. As it is, we have captured or killed thousands of fanatics and despite what some would have you believe, radicals willing to die in order to kill are not an inexhaustible resource.
I'll agree with anyone that 1600 of our nation's finest is a terrible price to pay, but contrasted against the alternative I believe it was the right choice.