Understanding Iraq And Terrorism

Captain’s Quarters points out an excellent article from Michael Young of Reason magazine on how Iraq fits in to the global war on terrorism. Young seems to understand the reasoning behind Iraq better than anyone else I’ve seen:

The last pillar, however, was the most interesting, and went to the heart of the strategy adopted by Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld, Cheney, and, ultimately, Bush. By intervening in the relationship between the brutish Iraqi regime and its long-suffering subjects, the US adopted a policy of enforced democratization. As far as the Bush administration was concerned, a democratic Iraq at the heart of the Arab world could become a liberal beacon in the region, prompting demands for openness and real reform inside neighboring states. Ridiculous you say? The Syrian regime, faced in the past two weeks with protests by individuals seeking greater freedom and a revolt by disgruntled Kurds, would surely disagree.

This is where Clarke’s allegations, and those of critics who see a disconnect between Al Qaeda and Iraq, are misleading. Iraq always was essential to the anti-terrorism battle precisely because victory there was regarded as necessary to transform societies from where terrorists, spawned by suffocating regimes, had emerged. One can disagree with the practicability of such a strategy, but it is difficult to fault its logic.

This is the crux of why Iraq is necessary in the long run, and one of the many reasons why removing the Hussein regime was necessary.

Let’s say that the Bush Administration had never pushed against Hussein and only gone after al-Qaeda as a police action – in essence the Kerry strategy for the war on terrorism.

We may capture Osama bin Laden, and we may eliminate most of al-Qaeda, but it would only be a matter of time before we would be on the recieving end of another attack – quite possibly an attack using weapons of mass destruction.

al-Qaeda is but one symptom of a larger disease – that disease being the cultural failure and autocracy of the Middle East. The reason why terrorism is largely a Middle Eastern/Arab phenomena is telling – if poverty and hopelessness caused terrorism there are plenty of places in the world that have an abundance of both but don’t have significant problems with terrorism.

Only by unraveling the Gordian knot of the Middle East can the situation ever be remedied. Removing al-Qaeda is not enough – another group like Hamas, Hizb’Allah, Islamic Jihad, or a group we don’t yet know about would quickly rise to take its place. Nor would capituation do us any good – once the terrorists see that acts of terrorism can sway us, it’s an open invitation to do more. Disengaging from the Middle East would only allow the spread of terrorism to continue worldwide, metastizing like a tumor of hatred across Southeast Asia, Africa, and soon to closer shores.

The only way to win the war on terrorism is to confront it head-on, wherever it may live. This doesn’t mean military operations across the Middle East, but it means a protracted campaign involving everything from military action to helping pro-democracy movements in Iran, Syria, and other countries.

Young understands that Iraq is one front on a much larger war, and he also understands why the removal of the Hussein regime is necessary towards winning that war. It’s sad that so many are so blinded by an impotent hate and rage that they can’t step back and see the same.

2 thoughts on “Understanding Iraq And Terrorism

  1. As I’ve heard commented before… “if Iraq was a mistake, it’s the best mistake we could have made.” I’m certain everyone can agree that Saddam was bad for Iraq. And with him gone, Iraqis are better off. If the following temporary U.S. occupation is a bad thing, it must be compared to the alternative, which is to get out of Iraq and let them fight for domination of their country.

    In my view, this would be a bad thing. We need to establish a government there. We totally destroyed the preceeding government. It would be irresponsible to leave now.

  2. It would be irresponsible to leave now.

    Here’s one liberal who totally agrees. Bringing the troops home now would be reprehensible.

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