The Bush Administration is obliquely serving notice on Syria that it could be the next country liberated in the war on terror. Mr. Bush's critics at home and abroad are horrified at the possibility that this conflict might take such a turn. If they wish to avoid such a step, however, they should learn a signal lesson from the now-nearly-accomplished liberation of Iraq: War is more likely to be made unnecessary if would-be critics support the President, than by their opposing him.
After all, it now seems clear that Saddam Hussein made the latest -- and probably last -- of his famous miscalculations by believing that the United States would be talked out of, or otherwise forestalled from, launching military operations against Iraq. In the end, he bet his regime on the ability of peace activists and sympathetic veto-wielding members of the UN Security Council to prevent Gulf War II. If all else failed and President Bush actually initiated hostilities, Saddam evidently felt confident of his forces' ability to shed enough American blood to inflame anti-war movement and assure his survival yet again.
With the swift and decisive destruction of the Iraqi regime, things should look very different to the remaining members of the "Axis of Evil" (North Korea and Iran) and other rogue states like Syria. If not encouraged to believe otherwise, these countries' governments --which are no less odious than the one ruled until recently by Saddam Hussein -- have every reason to believe that they are at risk of meeting a fate similar to his, unless they undertake significant and far-reaching changes.
Syria most especially has cause to take seriously President Bush's demands for behavior modification. Like Iraq, it is a long-time sponsor of international terrorism. Most of the world's terror organizations have long been given headquarters, branch offices and/or training facilities on Syria's territory or in Syrian-controlled Lebanon.
Like Iraq, Syria has also been involved for decades in the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). In addition to its own chemical and biological stocks, and considerable quantities of short- and medium-range ballistic missiles for their delivery, Damascus may have acquired some of Saddam's WMD spirited out of Iraq.
Frank Gaffney Jr. is the founder and president of the Center for Security Policy and author of War Footing: 10 Steps America Must Take to Prevail in the War for the Free World .
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