When the soft-on-Saddam crowd—from France and Germany to the millions of street protesters across Europe and the United States—chants “give inspections a chance,” what these doves really mean is “give tyranny a chance.” Allowing Saddam Hussein to survive with his weapons intact will not just bolster the prospects of terror emanating from Baghdad, but it will also embolden terrorists and thugs the world over. Simply put, not going into Iraq is just not an option.
Critics of the Bush administration love to point out that the United States still hasn’t vanquished al Qaeda and that North Korea is an increasingly pervasive threat. Those factual statements are, in fact, correct. But the best response to the threats posed by al Qaeda and Pyongyang is to disarm Saddam Hussein—not because of any links that exist between them, but because a decisive victory over Saddam would make bad guys think twice before messing with America.
Thugs and terrorists sorely need a reminder of America’s might because, sadly, there hasn’t been one in a while. The Taliban’s iron grip over Afghanistan was supported by a relatively paltry military—and even then, our campaign there wasn’t exactly a smashing success. Sure, there’s a new government in Kabul, but “skirmishes” continue to this day, and most importantly, al Qaeda is still alive and kicking. But looking at pre-9/11 history, there’s nothing to suggest that bad deeds against the U.S. get punished.
On February 26, 1993, the north tower of the World Trade Center was rocked by 1,000 pounds of explosives, killing six and injuring over 1,000 people. Ramzi Yousef was finally held to account in 1995, but the people who made his actions possible were not. After the infamous Black Hawk Down incident in October 1993, the U.S. responded by pulling out of Somalia—handing a huge victory to the warlords. The Khobar Towers were bombed in 1996, and the U.S. did nothing. Two embassies in East Africa were destroyed in terrorist attacks two years later—and the U.S. did nothing. Saddam Hussein kicked out weapons inspectors later that year, and—aside from a few “impeachment” bombs—the U.S. did nothing. And in a brazen attack in 2000, terrorists killed 17 and injured 39 aboard the U.S.S. Cole. And the U.S. did nothing.
With a greenlight to grow and prosper throughout the last decade, it should have come as little surprise that al Qaeda did just that. Osama bin Laden’s terrorist network had done plenty to warrant attention, but the United States paid no mind until it was impossible not to. 9/11 gave us the determination—hopefully not temporarily—to go after not just terrorists, but the nations that harbor them. But now that nearly 18 months have passed, do we still have the will to make the world a safer place? If we were to give Saddam a pass, the answer would be no—and the safety and security of the world would be put in a far more tenuous position.
Taking out Saddam Hussein does not just rid the world of his particular brand of tyranny, it gives other despots a moment’s pause before going after the United States or helping al Qaeda. A show of strength in Iraq will teach Kim Jong-Il that the U.S. cannot be forced to the bargaining table on North Korea’s terms. Pyongyang would also be far less likely to pull out of the 1953 Korean War armistice if it sees that the U.S. makes sure that even tyrants must live up to post-war agreements.
Nobody enjoys war, but sometimes it is necessary. America would not stand as the beacon of freedom that it is today if not for war, and freedom generally would be a scarce commodity if not for war. If France and Germany and their faithful flock truly want a better world, they too would understand the necessity of war in Iraq—for that is the only way in the long run to “give peace a chance.”