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Here’s what I think about giving weapons inspectors more time in Iraq: I think it’s an awful idea.
In the words of last fall’s UN Resolution 1441, Iraq would receive one “final opportunity to comply with its disarmament obligations.” The resolution expressed that “false statements or omissions in the declarations submitted by Iraq… shall constitute a further material breach,” and it concluded that Iraq “will face serious consequences as a result of its continued violations.”
As chief weapons inspector Hans Blix has reported, Iraq is, indeed, in possession of weapons which violate the agreements made at the end of the Gulf War. Furthermore, as George W. Bush has mentioned, Iraq has failed to account for the weapons they had when they kicked out inspectors in 1998. How can anyone not see this behavior as a violation warranting the “serious consequences” mentioned in 1441? I know Bill Clinton may have gotten away with using semantics to defend his sexual escapades, but Baghdad isn’t a bedroom—it’s a hotbed of terror.
Make no mistake: Saddam wants these weapons because he wants to use them. If he didn’t, he would’ve told us he had them, and sent us running for the hills—or sand dunes—long ago. This is why time is not on our side.
When 1441 passed last fall, I referred to it as a good way to get the ball rolling. In an article dated November 19th, I wrote that “it probably won’t hurt us to take the highroad before hitting below the belt.” Even in retrospect, I believe this to be true. It only made sense that, before heading to Baghdad, we knew for sure they’d earned the bombs we planned to deliver. But the resolution clearly stated that this was Saddam Hussein’s “final opportunity,” and, as evidenced by Mr. Blix’s findings, Saddam has spit on this opportunity time and again. Case closed. End of story. The ball is now in our hands.
Still, Old Europe and the Hollywood Left insist that inspectors need more time. They say that containment works. If this is their opinion, then they’ve altogether ignored the meaning of 1441.
No team of UN sleuths could possibly contain Saddam. Got that, Martin Sheen? Got that, Jacques Chirac? Weapons inspectors cannot put their hands in every last pocketful of anthrax, especially when Saddam won’t tell us which pair of pants to look in. The inspectors weren’t sent to Iraq to contain him, anyway. They were sent to see if he was containing himself. Mr. Blix has reported—repeatedly—that Saddam is not disarming. The Iraqi government cooperates only in the mildest of ways, and only when it’s good for PR.
So, here we’ve got a dictator who’s long since proven how big a jerk he is, who continues to defy the trust of an amazingly patient international community, and people still want to take his word over our president’s? Well, if he fools the international community 16 times, shame on him. But if he fools the international community 17 times, shame on the international community.
France would love to see us fall for the traps of containment and appeasement, because they’ll gain leverage over the world’s one superpower—while protecting their own oil interests—in the process. Iraq, too, would love to see us fall for these traps, because these are the diplomatic disguises behind which Adolf Hitler hid as he rose to power and conquered a continent—including France. Washington and Baghdad are both well aware of history. The latter has designs on repeating it; their goal is to run out the clock on the world’s goodwill.
Many a military expert has said that we cannot wage an expedient war if we wage one much past March. Our troops will sweat to death in the desert before a single Iraqi shot is fired, should we wait till the summer months. We must act immediately to make this process as quick and painless as possible. The longer this war becomes, the worse it looks—regardless of whether we win.
By pushing the time boundaries back an inch every time war seems imminent, Old Europe, the Hollywood Left, and other such activists are only making things worse. If they cared about the loss of life like they say they do, they’d let our soldiers move in and out already, which would keep causalities and collateral damage alike to a minimum. The anti-war movement isn’t allowing this, though. They’d love for things to get messy. It worked for them in Vietnam. Why not now? If Bush screws up the war, it bodes well for the Democrats in 2004, which, in turn, suits the interests of both the Hollywood geeks as well as the leeches who call themselves European leaders.
Newsflash: Saddam is a bad guy. His hero is Stalin. He aspires to kill millions. No political advantage is worth giving him a free pass.
What do these people really stand to gain here, anyway? A nice card of Saddam and the missus next Christmas? Well, that’s if there is a next Christmas, and it’s up to Bush’s coalition of the willing to make sure the world makes it that far.
The bottom line on the whole “give the inspectors time” spiel is that the inspectors don’t need more time. Neither does Saddam. He also doesn’t deserve more time, which is why the cries of a “rush to war” are absurd. He’s had 12 years to change his behavior. He hasn’t. He’s had since November to comply with 1441. He hasn’t. If he had any intentions of cooperating, he would’ve done so already. Holding off on war in hopes that Saddam will have a sudden change of heart is na•ve and dumb.
I’ve just about had it with people who complain they’re being called anti-American for protesting the war. Anyone who disagrees on principle or intellect is free to do so, but that’s not what most of these people are doing. They understand that war is unfortunate but mistakenly translate this to mean it can be avoided. They ignore hard facts. They say Iraq has no weapons of mass destruction, despite evidence to the contrary, and they say Usama and Saddam have no connection, as if the audiotape in which bin Laden pledged solidarity with Iraq wasn’t enough.
Look, even if all that’s left of UBL are bits and pieces scattered about Tora Bora, and even if that tape was manufactured by a sound-alike in al-Qaeda, the fact that it was made proves a connection does exist, that the al-Qaeda network does intend to fight with Iraq, and that containment does equal suicide.
I would hope you remember September 11th. I know that I’ll never forget it, for it was, unequivocally, the worst day of my life. If it’s ever surpassed by a more tragic day, I might well lose my mind.
Here’s the thing: I don’t want to lose my mind.
And I don’t want another September 11th, either. Not here. Not anywhere. Not in our era nor everafter. This is our mission now. We have a mandate to root out terror wherever it may be, so that days like September 11th may never happen again.
Some folks—mostly moral relativists—think the influence of the corporate West has desecrated foreign cultures in such a way as to warrant whatever troubles the United States now has. I respectfully disagree. In fact, forget the “respectfully” part. I just plain disagree.
Russian comedian Yakov Smirnov used to joke about how popular McDonald’s was in his impoverished homeland, saying the lines at the counters were days-long. Here in America, we line up like that for Star Wars, but a scarce few of us do that for food.
If I don’t like the Golden Arches at the end of my block, I won’t eat there. If my neighbors don’t like it, they won’t eat there, either, and the Golden Arches won’t last long as a result. McDonald’s will cut its losses and skip town. This is called free enterprise. If it can happen on an American street corner, it can happen in Russia, Egypt, Saudi Arabia or wherever. But it doesn’t happen, by and large, because people don’t want it to. People like McDonald’s. People like Coca Cola. People the world over will choose these things over drinking their bathing water, and that has nothing to do with profit margins.
That, above all else, is why the terrorists don’t like us. It’s not that our culture has corrupted theirs. It’s that our democratic and capitalist values let people think for themselves. They don’t like the idea of ordinary people choosing their own meals, or, God forbid, belief systems. They don’t like choice. Period. Choice was the driving force behind the birth of America, and choice is the reason why America remains the number one destination for the world’s poor and oppressed. We offer Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness, and people want this. They should want this, I might add, because, as human beings, they deserve as much.
Many world leaders dislike the idea of inalienable rights because their people would choose them if given the chance to do so. Dictators don’t want freedom because it puts their power in jeopardy, and their power—like a big fish in a small pond—is all they have.
I saw a documentary about Iraq on MSNBC over the weekend. In it, an Iraqi soccer player speaks of how well the Hussein family treats him. He’s a good soccer player, after all, so why wouldn’t they treat him well? But meanwhile, this guy was saying that the people of America don’t know the real Iraq, and that Americans are told what to think by their government and its press. Yet the freedom of speech is so strong in our country that you can set up a dais in the nation’s capital and chant for the president’s death. No one will stop you. I’ve seen it done on C-SPAN. All you need is a permit and an opinion, and the First Amendment will stand by your side. You tell me who’s free.
Or how about we ask Saddam?
Saddam knows which people are free. He knows damned well. He knows that all Americans have the opportunity to live the way that only he and his cronies can live in Iraq. He doesn’t like that. He doesn’t want freedom crossing over his borders. If the aforementioned soccer player ever spoke out on Saddam, his kids would be killed. This isn’t speculation. This is fact. It happens.
You cannot contain Saddam’s state of mind. You cannot appease it. You cannot disarm it of its cruel and selfish intentions.
For the last time, I hope, let me say that this war is not about oil. Not for the United States, at least, nor for Britain, Israel, Spain and the rest of Bush’s coalition of the willing. If we wanted Saddam’s oil, we would’ve lifted our sanctions years ago. He would’ve sold us all the oil in the world in a moment’s notice. We haven’t done that, though. We’re not going to support his economy. We’re not going to help him further separate the haves from the have-nots in his country.
And whether America messes with him or not, he’s going to keep his citizens in the gutter. His defiance of 1441 shows he’s not apt to change. The only thing inspections were meant to do was prove that. They have. The time has therefore come for “serious consequences.”
I don’t want this war, as the peaceniks might put it, anymore than the next guy. Really, I don’t. Theoretically speaking, I’d be eligible for the draft if it were reinstated tomorrow, and you’re damned right I wouldn’t want to go. I wouldn’t want to send my younger brother, either, nor anybody’s brother, much less anybody at all, but we can’t always get what we want. If we give our all for the country that gives us all we have, however, we can continue to come pretty close.
You know, it’s not that I’ve ever taken things for granted, but my deep appreciation for American life only really settled in on September 11th. The feeling has yet to let me go. Yes, the terrorists have knocked us down, but they haven’t won. They’ll never win if people like us rise up again. As Americans, we have never failed to beat the 10-count. Freedom has never thrown in our towel. We mustn’t forget this. We mustn’t turn our backs on freedom, lest freedom will turn its back on us. I don’t know about you, but I personally couldn’t live with myself if I denied future generations the freedom for which our forefathers fought.
The events of September 11th ignited the torch of liberty anew. To spread this flame upon the Earth’s nations is our duty, our calling. Our fire must not be contained.