politics, history and the war on terror
Thursday, April 01, 2004
The Case for the Iraq War 

It has been stated that the Iraq War was not justified; this was a war for oil, a war to avenge an assassination attempt on President George H. W. Bush, a war to enrich Halliburton and a clever distraction from social and economic problems in the United States.

These claims have no basis in fact. The Iraq war was justified for the following reasons: repeated violations of the terms of the cease fire and subsequent UN resolutions; the danger posed by Iraq’s WMD capabilities; Iraq’s ties to international terrorism; Iraq’s history of domestic and foreign brutality; and the need to remove Saddam and establish democracy in Iraq. Former Secretary of Defense George Shultz, in An Essential War builds a similar case in the Wall Street Journal.

(editor’s note: the fourth rail’s writing of The Case for the Iraq War was nearly complete prior to reading Mr. Shultz’s article. David Kay’s interview with Chris Wallace was the only item reproduced from Mr. Shultz’s article.)

Violations of Ceasefire & UN Resolutions

Since the ceasefire that ended Gulf War I in March of 1991, Iraq has violated 17 UN Security Council resolutions which demanded that Iraq relinquish WMD, provide evidence on it disarmament and honor the agreement to abide by the no-fly zones in the Kurdish areas in the north and the Shi'a areas in the south. Instead, Iraq prevented UN inspectors from investigating disarmament and US and British warplanes that patrolled the no-fly zones were attacked repeatedly.

The violation of the terms of the ceasefire itself was legal justification to resume the war in Iraq; the subsequence violations of the UN resolutions provided further proof that Iraq never intended to comply with its obligations to the international community.

Quest for WMD Capabilities

US Secretary of State Colin Powell’s presentation to the UN documented Saddam’s attempts to obtain, produce and store WMD. This presentation was based on twelve years of intelligence gathered via the UN inspectors and the intelligence agencies of multiple nations. It contained the best intelligence available at the time. But there is no such thing as perfect intelligence, especially when dealing with a police state intent on hiding its illegal activities. David Kay's report to Congress concerning the post-war inspections was distorted in the media, as they only focused on the fact that no stockpiles of WMD have yet to be found. In fact, here is what David Kay had to say to Chris Wallace of Fox News about the importance of Iraq’s WMD capability:

"We know there were terrorist groups in state still seeking WMD capability. Iraq, although I found no weapons, had tremendous capabilities in this area. A marketplace phenomena was about to occur, if it did not occur; sellers meeting buyers. And I think that would have been very dangerous if the war had not intervened."

When asked by Mr. Wallace what the sellers could have sold if they didn't have actual weapons, Mr. Kay said: "The knowledge of how to make them, the knowledge of how to make small amounts, which is, after all, mostly what terrorists want. They don't want battlefield amounts of weapons. No, Iraq remained a very dangerous place in terms of WMD capabilities, even though we found no large stockpiles of weapons."


The Iraq Survey Group inspectors have found that Iraq violated the UN resolutions by building dual use industries, developing long-range delivery systems and retaining knowledge on WMD. And the search for stockpiles of WMD is not yet over.

Ties to International Terrorism

Iraq sheltered well known terrorists such as Abu Abbas and Abu Nidal, men responsible for the murder of American citizens. The U. S. Department of State documents how Saddam financed Palestinians terrorist groups & provided money to the families of suicide bombers:

Baghdad provided material assistance to other Palestinian terrorist groups that are in the forefront of the intifadah. The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command, HAMAS, and the Palestine Islamic Jihad are the three most important groups to whom Baghdad has extended outreach and support efforts.

Saddam paid the families of Palestinian suicide bombers to encourage Palestinian terrorism, channeling $25,000 since March through the ALF alone to families of suicide bombers in Gaza and the West Bank. Public testimonials by Palestinian civilians and officials and cancelled checks captured by Israel in the West Bank verify the transfer of a considerable amount of Iraqi money.


Links between Iraq and al Qaeda have been established via Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of Ansar al-Islam, an al Qaeda affiliate. According to the U.S. Department of State, Iraq was actively supporting Ansar al-Islam:

The presence of several hundred al-Qaida operatives fighting with the small Kurdish Islamist group Ansar al-Islam in the northeastern corner of Iraqi Kurdistan—where the IIS operates—is well documented. Iraq has an agent in the most senior levels of Ansar al-Islam as well. In addition, small numbers of highly placed al-Qaida militants were present in Baghdad and areas of Iraq that Saddam controls. It is inconceivable these groups were in Iraq without the knowledge and acquiescence of Saddam’s regime. In the past year, al-Qaida operatives in northern Iraq concocted suspect chemicals under the direction of senior al-Qaida associate Abu Mus’ab al-Zarqawi and tried to smuggle them into Russia, Western Europe, and the United States for terrorist operations.

The links between Iraq, international terrorism and al Qaeda have not been manufactured by the Bush Administration. The Clinton Administration believed these links existed, and attacked the Shifa plant in Sudan in conjuction with the attack on al Qaeda camps in Afghanistan in 1998:

The United States also claims it had other evidence linking the plant with chemical weapons production. That evidence includes links between officials at the facility in Sudan and an Iraqi official who has been labeled by U.S. intelligence as "the father of Iraq's chemical weapons program."

The Iraqi, identified as Emad Al Ani, is said to have had extensive dealings with officials at the plant in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum.

That and the connection between terrorism sponsor Osama bin Laden and Sudan's "military industrial complex" were enough to convince the United States that the Shifa plant was involved in chemical weapons production, the official said.


Iraq’s History of Domestic and Foreign Brutality

Iraq has an ugly recent history of domestic and foreign brutality was presented by President Bush in the January 2003 State of the Union Addresss. Saddam and his sons Uday & Qusay used rape, torture and fear to rule the nation:

The regime cost the lives of at least 2 million people through its wars and internal oppression, and 4 million Iraqis were forced to become refugees. According to estimates from USAID, more than 270 mass graves have been found in Iraq. These alone should vindicate the war. That the world should have acted sooner, I have no doubt.

He invaded two countries, Iran and Kuwait. He used chemical weapons against his own Kurdish population (warning, this article is not for the feint of heart) and Iran during the Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s.

Iraq's history in domestic and foreign affairs leaves no doubts about its nature and intentions.

Establishing Democracy in the Middle East

The Bush administration could not openly state the case to establish democracy and change the ways of the Iraq’s failed government and institutions, as it was clear Saddam would not stop his pursuit of WMD or threatening his neighbors. However, if you read The National Strategy For Combating Terrorism, released prior to the Iraq War, it is perfectly clear what the intentions of the administration was towards Iraq. Regime change was the only way to ensure that Saddam would no longer threaten the region. Support for the war in Iraq would have been nonexistent among the Middle Eastern states as they fear the establishment of a democratic state on their borders. The Middle East Initiative (MEI) proposed by President Bush is a bold plan to transform the Middle East by pushing for reform in the areas of education, economic policies and government.

Conclusions

The violations of the Ceasefire and the UN Resolutions were itself justification for going to war with Iraq. The need to remove Saddam’s WMD capability, sever the links to terrorism, remove Iraq as a threat to the region and establish democracy in the heart of the Arab world supports the case for the war. Together, these items build a convincing case for the Iraq War.

President Bush spent enormous political capital by pursuing war in Iraq, as evidenced by the drop in the polls. This was not a decision taken lightly, as some would have you believe. The ‘safe’ policy on Iraq would have been to continue sanctions through the United Nations, and pass the problem off to the next administration. But after 9/11 the calculus on dealing with threats has changed. America was attacked because we underestimated the imminence of the threat of terrorism and were not properly prepared to deal with it prior to the 9/11 attacks. We could no longer underestimate the threat of Iraq and its relationship to the problems of international terrorism and the distribution of WMD.

Posted by bill roggio @ 10:22 AM

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