Ask Kerry one question: What would Zarqawi be doing if he weren't in Iraq

Dennis Prager

10/12/2004 12:00:00 AM - Dennis Prager

The most frequently offered argument of Sen. John Kerry and other anti-war Democrats to support their charge that the invasion of Iraq was a mistake is that Iraq has become a den of terrorists.

This claim is true. But it completely undermines the Democrats' charge that invading Iraq was a mistake.

They say this: There are far more terrorists in Iraq since the invasion, and, therefore, the invasion was a mistake.

Yet, in order to believe that the greater number of terrorists in Iraq means the invasion was a mistake, you have to believe one or both of the following -- that were it not for the invasion, the terrorists who are in Iraq would have been engaged in some peaceful work in some other country, or that they are newly minted terrorists who were perhaps selling shoes prior to the war in Iraq.

Neither scenario makes sense.

Take the leading terrorist -- the Jordanian butcher of human beings, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Everyone acknowledges he was a terrorist before the war in Iraq. In the 1990s, he spent seven years in a Jordanian prison for plotting to overthrow the government and establish an Islamic state. He then went to Germany, where he set up a terrorist cell.

So here's the question that apparently goes unasked of all the Democrats who are sure it is President Bush who lacks intelligence: What would Zarqawi be doing now if he were not slaughtering people in Iraq? Selling used cars in Amman?
Playing cello in the Berlin Philharmonic?

The president has said from the beginning that a major reason for invading Iraq was to bring the war to the terrorists, and that if we don't fight them on their soil, we will have to fight them on ours. Therefore, unless one posits that Zarqawi and other Arab sadists would be doing nice things elsewhere, their presence in Iraq seems to vindicate the president entirely -- that they would be busy in the West if they were not kept busy defending their very lives in Iraq.

It is sad that this obvious point is not constantly repeated when Democrats make what they believe is some unassailable point about the influx of terrorists into Iraq.

Which raises a variation on this theme: Why are so many Arab and other Muslim terrorists in Iraq? The point that Iraq has become a terrorist haven is made so often by critics of the war in Iraq that these critics must think it is a
self-evident argument against the war.

But this point is as weak as the first. The fact that many terrorists have flocked to Iraq argues what, exactly?

No one ever quite says. Because the only argument against the war suggested by this fact is that all the terrorists flocking into Iraq are new recruits -- Arabs and Iranians who left their accounting firms to blow up themselves and Iraqi children because America invaded Iraq and deposed Saddam Hussein.

There is no evidence offered to prove that contention, however. And it defies common sense. As Charles Krauthammer pointed out after we invaded Afghanistan, unlike before the invasion, there were no more Osama T-shirts being sold in Pakistan; people love winners, and Osama was finally losing. Recruits to Muslim terror are made by Muslims who preach evil in God's name and by terrorist victories, not by America fighting back.

Just as in the first case, the claim is true, but it undermines the charge.

The claim that there are more, indeed many, terrorists in Iraq now is true. But the terrorists are there because they know that if America prevails in establishing a relatively free country where there once stood an America-hating terrorist-supporting Arab regime, they are ultimately doomed. Liberals love to find out the root causes of sociopathological behaviors. Well, one root cause of Islamic terror is the hermetically sealed Arab-Muslim world. Open that up to even some freedom, and the cesspool that produces the terrorist monsters begins to dry up.

That is why so many terrorists have moved to Iraq. They agree with President Bush -- the war on terror is taking place in Iraq.