Words from Jonah Goldberg for you leftists to think about in relation to the invasion of Iraq...
- From: Christian Williamson <c.willi@xxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Sat, 25 Mar 2006 13:32:15 GMT
According to the Pentagon's definitive postmortem on the invasion,
some of which was leaked to the New York Times, even many Iraqi
generals were stunned to discover that Hussein didn't have
WMDs. Hussein practiced a strategy that one Republican Guard commander
called "deterrence by doubt," in which he hoped to bluff the world
into believing he had WMDs in order to deter Iran and keep his rep as
an Arab strongman with serious mojo.
And that's the point Thomas et al don't want to understand. For
reasons that still baffle me, the WMD threat -- never the sole reason
to invade Iraq -- not only became the only argument, it became a
thoroughly legalistic one, as if foreign policy has rules of evidence
and procedural due process. After 9/11, that kind of foreign policy by
lawyers looked ridiculous, and rightly so.
The fact that Hussein turned out to be bluffing about WMDs isn't a
mark against Bush's decision. If you're a cop and a man pulls out a
gun and points it at you, you're within your rights to shoot him,
particularly if the man in question is a known criminal who's shot
people before. If it turns out afterward that the gun wasn't loaded,
that's not the cop's fault.
Hussein had a 30-year track record of pursuing WMDs. He dealt with
Islamic terrorists. The sanctions regime fell apart thanks to Iraqi
bribery and 30 years of spineless U.N. accommodation.
In the 1990s, Hussein tried to kill a former U.S. president and tried
to shoot down British and American planes enforcing the "no-fly"
zone. The Clinton administration -- not the George W. Bush
administration -- established "regime change" as our policy toward
Iraq. In the years that followed, the Iraqi regime openly celebrated
the 9/11 attack. And when we tried to get Hussein to come clean about
a weapons program we (and his own generals!) had every reason to
believe existed, he played games. After 9/11, calling that bluff
wasn't a "choice," it was an obligation.
One reason Bush is down in the polls is that he's giving the
impression that he's trying to change the subject from "our mistaken
invasion" to "building democracy in Iraq." Building democracy in Iraq
is vital -- and entirely consistent with the highest aspirations of
liberal foreign policy. But he would serve himself and the county
better if he simply explained that he's been right all along. Swatting
Helen Thomas is a start, but it will take a lot more.
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