The Washington Post has an article on the fears of military planners that a war against Iraq will divert our forces from fighting al-Qaeda. Like many "problems" with an attack against the Hussein regime, this one is a false dichotomy.
The hunt for al-Qaeda in Afghanistan is at a standstill at best. Most of the fighters in al-Qaeda have been captured or left the country. We know that some of them escaped into Iraq where they have now build camps in the northern part of the country. Removing Hussein would give these terrorists one less place to go and safely avoid the US.
We also know that Saddam has been funding terrorist activities, especially among the Palestinians, to put pressure off his own regime. Eliminating the Hussein regime cuts off this source of funding and weapons, helping to disarm radical Palestinian groups.
Removing Hussein also stabilizes the region, ensuring that a renegade power is not able to cause havoc in the Middle East as Hussein did ten years ago.
The fight againt al-Qaeda will continue for some time, but that must not distract us from doing what is needed to be done in other areas. The best way to fight al-Qaeda is to show the strength of the United States – backing off only emboldens would-be terrorists. We dare not back down from our challenge to Saddam, or the war against al-Qaeda will be made much harder, not easier.