Thursday, November 11, 2004

The Iraq War is Necessary and Crucial

I have lost patience with the "No War On Iraq" crowd. Surely, everyone is entitled to their opinion, but that entitlement does not guarantee that all opinions are equal. The "No War On Iraq" opinion is left wanting on both practical and moral grounds. One need only look at the phrase "No War ON Iraq" to grasp the staggering lack of understanding that inspired it.

For the record, I think it's clear that the Iraq war is exactly the right war, in exactly the right place at exactly the right time. For far too long, we have taken a passive stance in the Middle East, ostensibly out of fear of destabilizing the region, when the evidence was clear that the region has long been dangerously unstable.

On September 11, 2001, we paid dearly for our passivity and the effects of that instability resulted in the deaths of 3,000 Americans.

Certainly, had it not been for the 9/11 attacks, the actions that we have taken Afghanistan and Iraq would have been politically impossible. Those attacks, however, left us at a crossroads as to our response; focus narrowly on Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda or take a wider view and include all of Islamic terrorism and its state sponsors as our targets. To me, it's the difference between pulling the leaves from a weed and destroying its root system; one is a temporary and mainly cosmetic fix, the other is a permanent solution. With an eye on the future, George W. Bush chose the permanent solution.

No rational person chooses war as a first option, but when faced with a bloodthirsty ideology that spans an entire region and saturates one of the world's most populous religions one's options are severely limited. When that ideology is bent on our very destruction and demonstrates that bent on numerous occasions, culminating in coordinated attack that results in the deaths 0f 3,000 innocent civilians and a smoldering holes in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania, one is left with only two options; kill or be killed.

From where does this ideology originate? It originates in the Middle East, a region populated exclusively by despotic regimes that oppress and loot their people, are antithetic to any type of progress and from whom emanates a constant stream of hatred of all things western-and Jewish.

For years, I have heard people on the Left speak of "root causes" on domestic issues such as poverty, racism, education, etc. Why is it so difficult for them to see the "root cause" in this case? I would suspect that they do, but feel that the challenge is too great, and the costs too high. We have seen the cost of decades of peace agreements that yielded no peace and sanctions that have been subverted to enrich and embolden the despots. Our efforts at appeasement have inspired simply more intransigence from the appeased and the further spread of Islamic bloodlust even beyond the boundaries of the Middle East.

Simply put, there is a mortal disease afoot in the Middle East that has metastasized and now threatens to infect the entire world. The cost of further passivity in the face of this menace is far too horrible to imagine.

In all fairness, our enemies have been quite forthright as to their intentions; they want nothing less than the destruction of Israel as well as the destruction or conversion of the United States into an Islamic state. Our mistake has been our failure to recognize the severity of the problem until the crisis was no longer possible to avoid.

All of which brings us to Iraq. The Left will have you believe that our response to 9/11 should have begun and ended with Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda, since he and they was the perpetrators of the act. What they fail to do is to recognize that bin Laden and al Qaeda were simply the most visible symptoms of a much larger problem; that of worldwide Islamic radicalism.

Without a doubt, Saddam in particular and Iraq in general are secular in nature. But to believe that Saddam's regime was not a haven, and source of funding for radical Islamic terrorist groups is to simply ignore the facts. To believe that Saddam was not actively seeking nuclear weapons is to ignore his megalomania. To believe that anything short of his removal was necessary as a beginning of our efforts to secure the region is to ignore his history.

Our only hope of stabilizing the region thus eliminating the environment that breeds Islamic radicalism is the propagation of freedom and democracy, a process that we have already begun in Afghanistan and are now continuing in Iraq. Iraq's neighboring despots are desperately hoping for failure and are actively sabotaging our efforts because the success of democracy in the region means that their days are numbered. Iranians have already staged massive protests and seems to be teetering on the verge of a revolution against the Mullahs.

A bold vision you say? Absolutely, it is no less than breathtaking. Impossible, you say? I wouldn't be so sure. Iraq, in particular, is a fairly educated and literate oil-rich country whose poverty was artificially created by Saddam's kleptocracy. Once the Iraqis form a working society in which people have hope and a stake in their country's success, they will have the basis for prosperity. Free, prosperous people simply have little taste for terrorists or terrorism.

"No War ON Iraq", indeed. This is not a war ON Iraq and anyone who honestly believes that Iraq, or the world, was better off with Saddam in power, or it would be better off if we abruptly withdrew tomorrow is either sand-poundingly stupid or devoid of even a scintilla of human compassion. Simplistic ignorance masquerading as intellectualism combined with an abject refusal to understand the obvious is a toxic mix that has left these people with "we hate Bush" as the central issue in their universe, around which all else revolves.

Many people talk about "changing the world", but few have the vision or the wherewithal to actually do it, George W. Bush has both. Success in this endeavor will change the world in ways that it is now hard to imagine. This task will not be accomplished easily or quickly, but accomplish it we must. Islamism has literally erased centuries of progress, and caused untold suffering in the countries that it has overtaken and its dark tide has already lapped at our shores.

Our mission is clear and the time is now.

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