Jewish World Review Dec. 16, 2003 / 21 Kislev, 5764
Anti-war myths quickly eroding
Criticism of the U.S. effort to depose Saddam Hussein and the central role of Baathist Iraq in
international terrorism has rested on four pillars.
The first pillar that the war in Iraq was a failure without
the capture or death of Saddam Hussein came
crashing to an ignominious end Saturday night on a farm
near Tikrit. The tyrant who struck terror in the hearts of
millions of his own citizens, the butcher who sent
hundreds of thousands of people to unmarked graves
across Iraq, is now a prisoner.
The irony is great that a man who buried so many victims
in the earth was himself pulled from the ground, alive and
safe, by those sent to liberate his long-suffering country.
Images of a tired and haggard Saddam, compliantly being
checked for lice, opening his mouth for a medical
examination and the fact that the self-styled, modern-day
Saladin gave up without resistance all will have a profound
That impact will be felt first and foremost in Iraq where, as
British Prime Minister Tony Blair said, a shadow has been
lifted from the Iraqi people. Ordinary Iraqis can now
confidently believe that their march toward democracy is
irreversible. Saddam and his henchmen will never return to
power and exact retribution.
By the same token, Baathist dead-enders must now
unequivocally understand that their terrorist attacks
against coalition forces and free Iraqis are futile.
Their extremist allies, both secular and religious, across
the Arab and Islamic world are similarly demoralized. Their
symbol of defiance, the man who waved swords and fired
rifles into the air before adoring crowds, surrendered. He
neither fought nor took his own life.
The second pillar of criticism asserts that Saddam's Iraq
had nothing to do with the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks against
the United States. That pillar is also crumbling.
Britain's Sunday Telegraph reported that the new Iraqi
government has uncovered documentary proof that
Mohamed Atta, mastermind of the 9-11 attacks, was
trained in Baghdad by the Palestinian terrorist Abu Nidal.
That Abu Nidal was for two decades an honored guest of
the Baathist regime ought to be enough to demonstrate
the ineluctable connection of Saddam with international
This new documentation corroborates the mounting
evidence marshaled by researchers such as Laurie
Mylroie that the 9-11 attacks, like the first attack on the
World Trade Center in 1993, were acts of revenge
engineered by Saddam.
The third pillar of criticism ridicules the notion that
Saddam possessed weapons of mass destruction or
programs to produce them. This pillar, too, is crumbling.
The Telegraph also reported last week that a former Iraqi
army commander and spy confirmed that Iraq did, in fact,
possess weapons of mass destruction and that he
personally saw them. Lt. Col. al-Dabbagh was also, the
Telegraph disclosed, the intelligence source who asserted
that Iraq could mobilize and launch weapons of mass
destruction in 45 minutes.
Saddam possessed weapons of mass destruction, used
them against Iran and his own people and refused to
supply proof to the international community that he had
completely destroyed them. With sources such as
al-Dabbagh now going public, these new claims even if
they turn out to be without merit give lie to the theory
that the war in Iraq was based on nonexistent intelligence.
The final pillar of criticism rests on the failure, thus far, to
capture or kill Osama bin Laden. Saddam's capture
demonstrates that American intelligence is working, and
that the discovery of bin Laden's whereabouts, like the
disposition of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, is only a
matter of time.
The struggle for freedom in Iraq is far from over. But the
capture of Saddam and the concomitant acceleration of
the process of democratization and stabilization mean that
thousands of American troops now in Iraq can more
quickly be deployed to Afghanistan.
Osama's day is coming, and with it the destruction of the final crutch upon which vapid criticism of the
war on terrorism now rests.
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JWR contributor Jonathan Gurwitz, a columnist for the San Antonio Express-News, is a co-founder and twice served as Director General of the Future Leaders of
the Alliance program at NATO Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. In 1986 he
was placed on the Foreign Service Register of the U.S. State Department. Comment by clicking here.
12/03/03: Want fair, balanced? Separate intelligence, politics
08/12/03: N. Korea, Iran paradox to anti-war crowd
06/29/03: Real sports heroes don't make headlines
06/26/03: Strange bedfellows are a sure sign of rocky times
06/26/03: What Einstein taught Bush
06/26/03: JFK's message of struggle for freedom still stands
06/19/03: Most Americans understand this cynical equation
04/22/03: War opponents share burden of guilt
04/10/03: Iraqis get liberation and respect
03/28/03: Constitutionally protected SOBs
03/25/03: Morality changes with the times
03/12/03: Will all of those, ahem, "sincere" peace activists remember the Iraqis tomorrow?
02/27/03: Blood already on UN inspectors' hands
© 2003, Jonathan Gurwitz