The talking heads are the happiest people in town, relieved that they have something to chatter about during the slow summer months. We have breathless reports hourly, from senators wanting new hearings to troops in the field complaining (as anyone who has served in the military knows, troops aren't happy unless they're complaining).
And some allege that the "just war" rationale for the war advanced by many religious leaders, myself included, is undermined.
But the critics are missing the point.
The first question is, "Would we have invaded Iraq were it not for September 11?" Of course not. September 11 was an act of war against the United States by an organized band of Islamist terrorists committed to bringing down the structures of Western society.
The administration's first response was an attack on Afghanistan to clean out the Taliban—clearly self-defense. But in the war on terrorism, one has to look beyond geographic boundaries. Terrorists are all over the world. Looking at danger spots, Iraq became an obvious next target. Saddam Hussein, after all, flouted every UN resolution, demonstrated his intent to build nuclear weapons, and had chemical and biological weapons that he used to murder his own people. There were also clear ties to terrorism. President Arroyo of the Philippines reported in a Newsweek interview that Iraq was fueling the radical Islamist terrorists in the Philippines. Our attack on Saddam Hussein has reduced terrorism in her country, she reports.
But the justification for attacking Iraq goes beyond the borders of that nation. Iraq is simply one theater in this war, as the president has said and as most observers realize.
Is the use of force morally justified? Absolutely. Princeton Professor Bernard Lewis, one of the world's leading authorities on Islam, in a recent interview with Ken Myers of Mars Hill Audio, explained the genesis of September 11. For years he noted that bin Laden and his cohorts had been saying the West was decadent, debauched, corrupt, and weak, and that America would not defend herself. Our responses to Vietnam, Somalia, Lebanon, the attack on the U.S.S. Cole, and our embassies in Africa were viewed as evidence that America would cut and run even when attacked at home. This perceived weakness, our decadence, and fear, Lewis contends, led to September 11.