Tuesday, March 23, 2004

No Other Choice

While attending a dinner party last weekend, one of the guests, who was aware of my politics, brought up the War on Terror, or as he put it "the war". When I offered my usual dinner party one liner of "we had no other choice", he politely asked me to explain further, folded his arms and leaned back against the wall. He admitted he was a leftist and was proud to add that he was born and raised in Santa Cruz. It appeared as though he didn't have the foggiest idea how I could defend such a statement by the peculiar look he gave me. However, I appreciated his friendly and open body language and recognized he really was interested in what I had to say.

Here's my reply (in the movie version):

We had no choice but to go into Iraq. It was not a choice between "war" and "peace". It was a choice between "war" and "annihilation". We live in a free and pluralistic society. There is simply no way to play defense with terrorists and keep our freedoms and our lives. Terrorist protect no population and hold no territory. There is no negotiating even if there was someone to negotiate with. With whom do we sign a peace treaty? The only option is to defeat them. All of history tells us, peace only comes with victory.

Radical fundamentalists have made their intentions clear - they desire nothing less than total world domination in the name of Islam and are willing to indiscriminately kill as many people as they possibly can to further that goal. In many ways they are worse than Nazis. They have the potential to use the type of weapons where a single member could do more damage than an entire division of the SS. They also live amongst us, taking advantage of our freedoms to organize and plan the next attack. Also, Nazis had the unfortunate trait of wanting to live.

With the Soviet Union we had used "containment" and "deterrence". Do I really need to explain why these options are unavailable?

The ONLY way we can fight terrorists is with the preemptive use of force on our current enemies and try and do something to bring change to the entire region that breeds radical fundamentalism. To do that we had to remove Saddam and his billions of petro-dollars that were being used to fund, train and harbor terrorist. We had to attempt to take this, the most powerful and repressive regime in this region and create a democracy in its place.

Don't take my word for it. In a letter that coalition forces intercepted in January, one of the most notorious of these terrorists, Abu Musab al Zarqawi, wrote to his al Qaeda associates in Afghanistan that democracy in Iraq brings the prospect of "suffocation" for the terrorists, the prospect of Iraqis fighting in their own defense. When the army and police are "linked to the inhabitants of this area by kinship, blood and honor," Zarqawi asks, "how can we fight their cousins and their sons and under what pretext after the Americans pull back? . . . Democracy is coming, and there will be no excuse thereafter."

There were other reasons as well. We could not take the chance of Saddam assisting al Qaeda in destroying their mutual enemy. Wounded and with their host country Afghanistan gone, al Qaeda would have been actively seeking new sponsors.

To those who claim that we are only creating more hatred and more terrorists, I ask; As we were marching on Berlin, where Germans throwing on Nazi uniforms or discarding them? Here too, the "Muslim Street" did not "rise up" after the fall of the Taliban. The "Muslim Street" did not rise up after the fall of Saddam. The "Muslim Street" did rise up after 9/11 when we were bleeding.

Osama said we would crumble like a "paper tiger". Had we not responded with force that perception would have convinced many more in the region which side to take.

Finally, consider who the Middle East now blames for their troubles. Poverty? The Jews. Disease? The Jews. Humiliation? The Jews. When the power goes out? The Jews. The visceral and genocidal hatred emanating from the region toward the Jewish people is only matched by the Nazis. When people in the region have some say in the day to day decisions made by their leaders they will begin to look for and debate solutions to those problems not blame others.

We had to do it now.

One only has to look at the worldwide political costs associated with the liberation of Iraq, even with 9/11 and our troops already in Afghanistan, to realize that if we didn't do it now, it couldn't be done. At least, not until after the next 9/11. The charges that Bush and company hatched up this plot in Crawford prior to the election is as un-serious as those who make it. This president wasn't even elected with a majority of the popular vote and yet somehow he was going to politically pull this off? The man had no political capital.

I think that charge, that Bush had planned this war prior to 9/11 is most revealing of those who despise him. They can't stand that he has pulled this off. He was only able to because of 3,000 dead Americans in New York and Washington. Its not 9/11 that angers them, nor the liberation of Iraq. It is this president's popularity and leadership that drives them mad. Leadership that realized we had no choice. The kind of leadership that history may record as great. We should pray to be so lucky.