I mentioned in the “Sunday Verse 6” post about the idea of a “just war.” In my opinion, our entry into Iraq in 2003 was appropriate — a “just war” as the saying goes — and it may be the only war in all of history that was initiated based upon conditions that both sides had agreed to in advance. The invasion and ouster accomplished much good, not just in Iraq but with other very beneficial effects:
- Within days of our entry into Iraq, Moammar Qaddafi privately sought us out and renounced his own WMD programs, opening his country up for inspections.
- Iran completely halted their efforts to develop a nuclear weapon. Later, this was used to argue against the Iraq war, as if Iran’s cessation of this effort in 2003 after our invasion (and confirmed in a National Intelligence Estimate released years later) was something they were going to do anyway.
- Saudi Arabia become suddenly much more cooperative, and began coordinating closely with the US to capture terrorists based in their own country. At the same time, they applied pressure to financial backers of al Qaida (even among the far-extended royal family) to cut off this source of supply.
- Syria, after receiving thousands (perhaps tens of thousands) of truckloads of materials from Saddam in the weeks before the war, became suddenly more discreet and contrite. And as long as we didn’t ask what they had stored from Iraq in their underground WMD bunkers, they were a bit more cooperative in stemming the flow of terrorists into Iraq across that same border.
- Other countries in the region were suddenly much more respectful of the US, as our “empty” threat against Hussein was not as empty as it had seemed to them. We had greater cooperation across the Middle East, and even Russia (who told us of Saddam’s attacks on the UK and US that had been planned for July).
- Saddam Hussein’s funding of suicide bombers in Palestine and al Qaida operations in the Philippines and elsewhere, plus his extensive bribery operation to highly connected people all over the world, were revealed in detail. Sadly, this didn’t have much effect — many of those bribed by Hussein are still active politicians.
- But from all of this, al Qaida’s funding was severely damaged, and as I noted in 2004, Usama bin Ladin admitted that we were killing fifteen of his soldiers for every one of ours that he got.
But the later prosecution of the war, the handling of the remaining Ba’athist soldiers, rabble-rousing clerics, and influx of al Qaida terrorists, was very poorly done. We won the war, but were losing the aftermath. This gave an opening to Usama bin Ladin to make a last pitch for funding, based upon one big success — and it had to be away from the Iraq battlefields where he was losing so badly.
He found that success, in Madrid, and the train explosions there enabled him to raise funds to continue. It also enabled the left wing candidate to come from behind and take the election, three days later, on the promise to immediately pull out of Iraq.
London, then, provided the next big boost, though British leadership remained uncowed. And it took the 2006/2007 “Surge” (which involved not just people, but strategic changes) to get Iraq more or less back on track, so that we could pull out in 2010 based on President Bush’s planned schedule,which President Obama followed more or less. (At some point, I need to write up how that got nearly derailed.)
===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle