Jewish World Review Sept. 30, 2002 / 24 Tishrei, 5763

Jack Kemp

Jack Kemp
JWR's Pundits
World Editorial
Cartoon Showcase

Mallard Fillmore

Michael Barone
Mona Charen
Linda Chavez
Ann Coulter
Greg Crosby
Larry Elder
Don Feder
Suzanne Fields
Paul Greenberg
Bob Greene
Betsy Hart
Nat Hentoff
David Horowitz
Marianne Jennings
Michael Kelly
Mort Kondracke
Ch. Krauthammer
Lawrence Kudlow
Dr. Laura
John Leo
David Limbaugh
Michelle Malkin
Chris Matthews
Michael Medved
MUGGER
Kathleen Parker
Wes Pruden
Sam Schulman
Amity Shlaes
Tony Snow
Thomas Sowell
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Ben Wattenberg
George Will
Bruce Williams
Walter Williams
Mort Zuckerman

Consumer Reports

Questions to ponder

http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | About war, Winston Churchill said, "Never, never, never believe any war will be smooth and easy, or that anyone who embarks on the strange voyage can measure the tides and hurricanes he will encounter. The statesman who yields to war fever must realize that once the signal is given, he is no longer the master of policy but the slave of unforeseeable and uncontrollable events."

Certainly, this wisdom is proving true in Afghanistan. We aren't sure about Osama bin Laden and haven't brought to justice most of his lieutenants. Al-Qaeda's basic infrastructure and financial network appear to be frustrated but essentially intact. Afghanistan is a mess and almost certainly will require more U.S. troops and a longer, larger commitment to nation-building lest the Taliban come back. Al-Qaeda cells fester like a cancer inside Pakistan, Iran, Syria and Egypt, awaiting the day they can destabilize these regimes and gain access to "Islamic Nukes" or chemical and biological weapons. And, al-Qaeda cells infect Kurdish safe areas of Iraq hoping a U.S. invasion will splinter the nation and give them a chance to turn the country into another Afghanistan or at least a Kurdish state on Turkey's border.

In addition to these dangers, the administration believes Saddam Hussein is on the verge of acquiring weapons of mass destruction and using them against us. Outside the White House complex, there is some doubt on this score. I am not convinced and I do not believe the majority of Americans are yet convinced that it is wise or prudent to divert resources away from the difficult struggle against the fanatical Islamic Jihadists and the task of rebuilding Afghanistan.

Despite his rhetoric in the 1930s, Churchill strongly believed in diplomacy before putting anyone in harm's way. I believe the American people, too, will only support an invasion of Iraq if they are convinced Saddam Hussein is an imminent threat and there is no other option.

If I were sitting alone with the president and vice president, I would put it this way: Would we be safer a year from now if (1) Saddam Hussein were gone from power but Osama bin Laden was still at large and his al-Qaeda infrastructure still intact? Or would we be better off if (2) Saddam Hussein remained in power with U.N. inspectors back in Iraq and bin Laden and his lieutenants were in their graves with certainty or at least brought to justice?

I am inclined to say the latter but the Bush administration, obviously, believes the former. Since Americans like me who instinctively hold this point of view are not privy to the secret intelligence data, I would strongly urge the president to reveal as much hard evidence as he can to justify his point of view and to show Congress behind closed doors what cannot be made public.

Next I would ask: What leads the administration to believe Hussein would be irrational or crazy enough to use a weapon of mass destruction against us? After former Secretary of State James Baker warned him of the gravest possible consequences were he to use weapons of mass destruction in the Gulf War, he dared not use them, even after he had used chemical weapons against Iran just a few years earlier.

The third set of questions is more difficult to answer but no less important because it requires us to think about the long-run implications of taking action on the basis of fear rather than hard evidence: If there is a lack of sufficient hard evidence to conclude that Saddam has his finger on the trigger of a weapon of mass destruction, or at least is taking active steps to use one in the near future, are we prepared to assert the moral and legal authority to invade and conquer Iraq preemptively because we fear Hussein might use a weapon of mass destruction against us if he were able to acquire one? Would the same apply, say, to Pakistan or Iran if we fear the current regimes might fall and Taliban-like regimes take their place? What is the evidence that should cause us to fear Iraq more than Pakistan or Iran in this regard?

The fourth set of questions go to the very heart of the danger of using preemption as a justification for war: Does the United States now claim the legal and moral authority to attack any other country preemptively because we fear that country might attack us in the future if it acquired the weapons to do so? Do we reserve the right to launch a preemptive war exclusively for ourselves or might other nations, such as India, Pakistan or China, be justified in taking similar action on the basis of their fears of other nations?

Based upon the hard evidence I have seen, I do not believe the administration has yet made a compelling case for the invasion and occupation of Iraq. There is no doubt in my mind we could win such a war and dispose of Saddam Hussein. The question that continues to nag, however, is "what then?" I know the administration sincerely believes that we can bring about freedom and democracy between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers once Saddam Hussein is gone. My last question is, beyond wishful thinking, where is the concrete plan, the detailed vision, of how we intend to build a free and democratic Iraq, notwithstanding the "unforeseeable and uncontrollable events" of which Churchill warned?

Enjoy this writer's work? Why not sign-up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Jack Kemp is co-director of Empower America and chairman of Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. Comment by clicking here.



Up

08/25/02: A great democratic revolution
08/23/02: Time to get serious about the economy
08/16/02: The territorial truth
08/01/02: No economic security without economic growth
07/24/02: 'Infectious greed' and other miasmatic diseases
07/12/02: Solving the "Arab Problem"
07/02/02: July 4, 2002
06/26/02: Unsigning an unratified treaty
06/10/02: Establishing 'givens' in Middle East geo-politics
06/10/02: New role models for Africa
05/02/02: What wasn't heard out of Crawford
04/25/02: In search of Arab dignity
04/16/02: Taxes and history lessons
04/09/02: Arabs must take a stand against terrorism
04/02/02: Nuevo dependencia and world government
03/26/02: Bureaucratic buffoonery at the INS
03/19/02: California's newest citizen politician
03/06/02: Peaceful relations or public relations?
02/27/02: American trade policy at war with itself
02/20/02: Three-conjecture strategy on global warming
02/14/02: Nurturing democratic capitalism in Afghanistan
02/06/02: Gephardt embraces tax cuts and tax simplification
01/30/02: Just the facts
01/22/02: 'Been down so long it looks like up to me'
01/15/02: Confronting terror wherever it occurs
01/09/02: Daschle's war on Bush
01/03/02: Prosperity policies, not partisan politics
12/27/01: Governments create calamity, markets get the blame
12/18/01: 'Tis the season for Daschle to compromise
12/12/01: Hard choices made simple
12/05/01: Straight talk on Iraq
11/28/01: Not all tax cuts are created equal
11/20/01: Words have consequences
11/15/01: Deflationary recession
11/07/01: Consider Mideast reality in the war on terrorism
10/30/01: No 'stimulus' required
10/23/01: Good out of evil
10/16/01: Watching Iraq
10/12/01: The putrid stench of evil
10/04/01: Trade, terror and truth
10/01/01: Drive this scourge from the face of the Earth
09/25/01: Bush emerges as leader for his time
09/06/01: Middle East Madness has a chief instigator
08/30/01: It's about economic growth, stupid!
08/22/01: Phlebotomizers at the IMF
08/17/01: The Greenspan Recession
08/08/01: From Kyoto to Bonn, no science equals nonsense
07/25/01: Fiddling while the world economy freezes
07/19/01: Schundler should be New Jersey's next governor
07/12/01: Second wind for the global economy
07/06/01: An interest-rate target with no bull's-eye
06/28/01: Tax harmonization --- American-style
06/21/01: Warming diplomacy --- at what price?
06/13/01: A party that stands for nothing deserves to lose
06/07/01: No peace in the Middle East
05/30/01: Jeffords' palace coup
05/24/01: A supply-side energy plan
05/16/01: Getting Lincoln right
05/10/01: A good reason to borrow
05/01/01: Supreme Court makes racial profiling the law of the land
04/26/01: Campaign finance reform: silencing the lambs
04/17/01: Right wanted might in China case
04/12/01: How minority entrepreneurs can save the tax cut
04/04/01: Whose privacy is it?
03/29/01: A letter from Seoul
03/20/01: Ignore the double talk and double the tax cuts
03/13/01: Don't give up the bully pulpit on Social Security, Mr. President
03/06/01: Another attack on the economy
02/28/01: It's time to end deflation
02/21/01: Building blocks of humanity
02/15/01: Trumping the propaganda
02/06/01: The Gipper at 90
01/30/01: Kicking off a season of economic growth
01/24/01: The Bush tax agenda
01/17/01: Debating the Clinton legacy
01/10/01: No need for another Social Security commission
01/03/01: Truly a Golden Age, if we can keep it
12/27/00: The Grinch who turned off the holiday lights
12/20/00: Forging ahead
12/13/00: A new tax system for the 21st Century
12/07/00: Global government in retreat
11/30/00: An open letter to Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan
11/21/00: Don't forget the guy in charge
11/15/00: Civic virtue, civic vice
11/08/00: Memo to the president-elect
10/31/00: Scare tactics won't work
10/24/00: Prosperity in the balance
10/11/00: Al Gore's economics of fear
10/03/00: Al Gore IS debatable
09/27/00: Government should protect our online privacy
09/13/00: The most important issue
09/05/00: Defeating the Gore blitz
08/29/00: Workers of the world, rejoice
08/22/00: Just the facts, Mr. President
08/08/00: Reclaiming Lincoln's legacy
06/23/00: A renaissance for urban America?
06/16/00: Capital access can bridge 'digital divide'
06/08/00: Some friendly advice for Rick Lazio
05/26/00: Is the economy being saved or destroyed?
05/22/00: Immigration and the promise that is America
05/12/00: Stock market roulette or snobbery?
05/04/00: Is Rule of Law whatever we say it is?
05/01/00: Myths happen

© 2002, Copley News Service