By the time you read this article, September 11th will have come and gone (I am writing this on September 6th). God willing, the day will have been peaceful and without incident. Hopefully, we will all take the time to reflect on what has happened during the past year, where we and the world stand today, and what is to come.
I am disturbed by the dialogue surrounding the issue of how to deal with Saddam Hussein and the Iraqi threat to the stability of the Middle East. In our nation, there is divisiveness from the President’s cabinet right down to discussions between neighbors as to what should be the proper step. No one doubts the evilness of this man or that he is more than willing to do whatever it takes to remain in power. He will bomb and gas his own people, and he certainly will send a nuclear warhead or chemical weapons into Israel if it serves his purpose, or if he gets desperate.
The issue is whether he has those weapons, as well as the ability to deliver them. Congressional leaders in Washington are correctly calling for a debate, especially over what proof exists that Sadaam has the weapons and the means to deliver them. That debate is beginning as I write this column. I believe it is very important for our nation to remain united in dealing decisively with terrorism. We cannot be united until a better case is made to eliminate the threat of Sadaam once and for all.
But lets say that this case is adequately made by the President. What of world opinion? Will our traditional allies stand with us? Will the Arab world provide the vital air bases necessary for an effective military action against Iraq?
I personally believe that we Americans will be terribly disappointed if we harbor any hope that either the Europeans or the existing Arab leadership will do the right thing. Countries such as France and Germany resent this nation’s power and influence. They also think oil first, and security second, especially if their own security isn’t threatened. And finally, they fear the terrorist threat will spread to their borders if they become too involved in the politics of the Middle East. They would rather sit back and let the United States deal with it. That way, they can benefit from the outcome of US action while openly criticizing that action, whatever it might be. No, for the most part, the Europeans would rather put their heads in the sand as they did in Bosnia and Yugoslavia rather than deal with the problem effectively. They will leave it up to us.
And the Arab nations? Well, countries like Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Kuwait, and Jordan, the so-called moderate nations, are deathly afraid of radicalism within their own borders. The last thing they want to see is accusations by their own people that they have helped the US attack another Arab nation, especially with the Israeli-Palestinian issue so unstable at this time.
And so, while the leaders of these countries may very well believe Sadaam must go, they will never go on record as supporting such an action, for fear of their own hides.
Nope, the US is likely to remain very isolated on this matter. Sadaam has won this part of the fight. And he has done it in a very clever, diabolical way. He has financed the recent outbreak of Palestinian human bombs that has so undermined the country of Israel. So long as he can keep the fires stoked there, he can successfully deflect the world’s attention from his own activities. What did Sadaam do when the Gulf War of 1991 broke out? He shot Scud missiles at Israel. Why? Because he wanted to undermine the coalition of Arab nations that supported the action to remove him from Kuwait. If he could entice Israel to retaliate, he would have been able to inflame the people of the Arab nations aligned against him. It would have destabilized the entire region, and perhaps threatened the success of Desert Storm. He was unsuccessful because Israel agreed not to retaliate, but instead to let the US handle the matter.
Unfortunately, even if we prove that Sadaam has nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them, I believe we will have to deal with him alone. We are the only true superpower on the globe; our traditional Allies are looking out for themselves first; the Arab world is incredibly dysfunctional at this time; and the clock is ticking as to when the next terrorist attack occurs.
Either we have the courage and fortitude to do what is necessary to stamp out this threat to our way of life, or it will continue to fester and grow. Terrorism is a way of life for some; a means to and end for others; and something that no civilized nations can allow to exist for long.
Hopefully, the world will wake up and join us in this fight. Until then, lets hope that President Bush and Congress can find common ground on this issue, and continue to deal with terrorism in an effective, decisive way. While I don’t know what the correct action against Sadaam Hussein should be, I do know that status quo isn’t the answer. God bless our leaders and our nation as we work to find the right answer in these difficult days to come.