I know, I know... it was impressive how political leaders, Republican and Democrat, liberal and conservative, lined up behind Bush last week. These congressmen and women were prepared to vote the president authority to attack Iraq whenever and however the commander-in-chief sees fit. The polls also show that most Americans are now convinced that forcing a regime change in Iraq should be the top priority for the Bush administration. Do they all know Bush‘s big secret, too?
Sorry, I still need convincing. Does flattening Iraq, again, seem more important than healing the sputtering U.S. economy? A higher priority than resolving the Israeli/Palestinian crises? Oh yeah, lest we soon forget - of greater importance than rooting out Osama bin Laden? I would argue a resounding, “No“ to all of the above.
What has Iraq done to provoke an attack at this time? No one seems to have a reasonable answer. Hussein is an evil dude who has been watched closely before 9/11 and will be after. It is telling that none of Iraq‘s enemies, who are potentially threatened by virtue of close proximity (such as Saudi Arabia and Kuwait), want anything to do with an invasion of Iraq at this time. Sometimes, containment can be the best strategy.
I say, to hell with Saddam Hussein. His military is even weaker than in 1991 when we crushed him in a matter of weeks. Iraq still doesn‘t have a missile with a range of over 400 miles. Hussein hasn‘t used chemical weapons since the 1980‘s and experts agree: Iraq has no nuclear capabilities in the foreseeable future. Bush vs. Hussein is laughable, on a par with an elephant attacking a flea. He will be massacred instantly if he attempts to make mischief against his neighbors. Bottom line: Iraq is of no military threat to the U.S. - ZERO.
On the other hand, what did happen to the pledge to bring in Osama bin Laden, dead or alive? Other than a one-day commemoration of the 9/11 anniversary and occasionally tossing Americans with middle-eastern ancestry in jail without formal charges, no one seems to talk much about finding bin Laden or the al Qaeda leadership still on the loose. In recent months our ever-present mantra is, “Saddam Hussein, Saddam Hussein, Saddam Hussein.“ Enough!
My fellow Americans, I thought we were at war with those who attacked us a little over a year ago. Prove that Iraq had responsibility for the 9/11 attacks or is protecting significant al Qaeda operatives and I guarantee 99% of all Americans and many of our reluctant allies would be on the front lines, supporting the invasion recommended by the Bush administration. U.S. officials have half-heartedly suggested some intelligence reports of al Qaeda terrorists in Iraq but always drop these propositions when proof is requested.
Most middle-east experts believe bin Laden is still alive but we are not going to find him in Iraq. The al Qaeda fanatics hate Saddam Hussein and his henchmen in the Baath Party for their “atheist ways“. The charge that suicide hijacker Mohammad Atta met with an Iraqi official in Prague was false. Saddam Hussein is no choirboy but had nothing to do with September 11th.
Why are we not in the same kind of hurry to go into Iran, Syria, and Sudan where training camps of al Qaeda have been documented and may still exist? Why don‘t we invade the mountainous border region of Pakistan where bin Laden and his terrorist associates have been observed fleeing Afghanistan? Why haven‘t we tracked down the 9/11 masterminds, who murdered thousands of Americans and are planning more heinous terrorist acts against us in the near future?
I have my own secret to reveal to the Bush administration: the war we should be fighting is against the terrorist network of Osama bin Laden. And it is far from over.