I post the following material at the request and behest of several friends who have asked for my reasons behind my support of President Bush and the war in Iraq. Though this was originally written by me over a year ago, as I re-read it I find much of the material and arguments to remain solid and appropriate.
(Note: the following selections are taken from an ongoing correspondence between a good friend of mine and I. You can justly conclude from the tenor of my arguments that his views on the war and our President are different from mine. Originally dated 7 September 2004)
In case you missed it, one of Al-Qaida's main dudes and certainly one of the worst terrorists still at large in the world, Al Zarqawi was aided and abetted by Saddam Hussein. After being injured he convalesced in Baghdad and had several meetings with Iraqi intelligence agents. Zarqawi also established a poison and explosives camp in northeastern Iraq--a camp we have monitored via satellite. Knowing the tight grip Saddam had on Iraq we can easily conclude that Saddam was at least aware of the camps existence. Even if all he did was not eliminate it he crosses the threshold of "aiding and abetting a known terrorist"--an important lieutenant of bin Laden who was re-building his network in Iraq. Also, noted in a column from the National Review is the fact that the Iraqi embassy in Pakistan served as the liaison between Saddam and al Qaida. This is simply one example of the link. Consider also that Saddam offered rewards to the families of suicide bombers in Israel. Can you honestly believe that after being kicked out of Kuwait in the early '90's he wouldn't aid a terrorist going after the US? Consider the failed assassination of attempt of the former President Bush. It is a known fact that Baghdad trained Palestine Liberation Front members in small arms and explosives. Saddam's intelligence agents were involved in dozens of attacks and assassinations throughout the '90's. In addition, we have learned that during the mid-'90's bin Laden and Saddam reached a "tacit agreement" to end activity by one against the other and we know members of both groups met at least eight times since the early 1990's--bin Laden himself met with the director of the Iraqi intelligence service. Lest you think they discussed the latest Iraq vs. Pakistan soccer match, think again. These are just a few examples, a quick "google" search would produce more. In order to truly understand what is going on one must get past the editorializing of the liberal media and into the substance of the news. Documents in Iraq are still being recovered and reviewed, I believe that further terror links will be established.
Weapons of Mass Destruction
People like the demagogue Michael Moore (see Webster's for a definition, b/c he fits it) continue to insist that Pres. Bush "lied" about WMD in leading us to war. The fact remains: the intelligence agencies of the US, Great Britain, Germany, France, Russia, and Israel all concluded that Iraq had WMD--there was never any debate about this There were something like 17 separate UN resolutions regarding Iraq and the WMD. If this is the information President Bush received in making decisions about whether or not to go to war, how did he "lie." It was not President Bush who collected and analyzed the intelligence--heck, it wasn't even just the US. Several other nations independently confirmed this fact. Based on the intelligence he received he made a decision. It is also worth noting that Congress--especially the various caucus leaders and members of intelligence committee's in both the House and the Senate all saw exactly the same intelligence presented to President Bush and a vast majority of both the House and Senate (including John Kerry) voted in favor of the War Resolution. Also, we are just beginning to get reports of heavy transport activity over the Iraq-Syrian border and then on into parts of Lebanon. Could this possibly be transport of Bio/Chem weapons produced by Saddam? We have long known that the Bekaa Valley has been a favorite hideout for terrorists from the Hezbollah, to al-qaeda and everything in between. This point of transport into Syria and Lebanon is one that needs to be investigated more deeply. Also, and this is a point that is not disputed, Saddam had the "capacity" to develop both chemical and biological weapons and used such weapons in the past against his own people (the Kurds) and in his war against Iran. Based on the intel possessed at the time it would have been irresponsible to have not gone to war to disarm Saddam. Hindsight is 20/20, Bush made the best decision with the best information. With Kerry or even Gore as President Saddam would still be in power and somehow this would make the world better/safer?
If you think the UN had any degree of legitimacy before going to war in Iraq you need to check yourself. The UN security council is populated by governments who embrace a policy of appeasement. Think they learned their lesson after Hitler? Think again. Resolution after resolution after resolution was passed by the UN Security Council with little resort. In 1998 the weapons inspectors were kicked out of Iraq with little to no recourse other than to pass another resolution, another resolution to do what...? The only reason Iraq even let weapons inspectors back in is because they thought (rightly so) that the US was serious about going to war and Saddam wanted to stay in power. We've had mass extermination in Rwanda and now Sudan not to mention Somalia. As you say, "talk is cheap." All the UN does is talk and pass meaningless resolutions which it relies on the US to enforce. All the talk and resolutions in the world plus a quarter will get you a cup of coffee and hundreds of thousands of dead in Sudan, Somalia, Rwanda, Bosnia, Iraq... Dictators and terrorists know they can get away with anything because they know the UN will never act. Where the UN fails to defend the weak the US steps in. I don't want to wait on a UN resolution before we decide to defend our country nor do I want to wait on Germany and Russia. Why is it that a coalition isn't a coalition without Germany and France? There are more than 38 nations "with us" in Iraq including Japan, the UK, Italy, Australia, just to name a few. The French have been retreating since Napolean lost to the Russians and somehow we miss their involvement?
Reasons for Going to War
It is true that WMD was the central reason for going to war, but it certainly wasn't the only one. Of note is the fact that there were over 600,000 civilian deaths under Saddam's regime and many of these were because of his use of chemical weapons on Kurds in the northern part of Iraq and their use during his war with Iran. Human Rights violations were rampant and that combined with his support of terror against Israel were reason enough for Congressman Tom Lantos D-California (his district encompasses an area in and around San Francisco--fairly liberal I would guess) when I spoke with him in early March 2003 before the war. He and his grandson Tomicah Tillaman--then a student at SAIS (John's Hopkins prestigious international relations grad school) argued that they were in support of the war regardless of WMD. Remember, terrorizing, torturing, imprisoning, raping, killing his own people, supporting terror, WMD--there were a multitude of reasons for invading Iraq.