For those with short memories, the principal causes were Iraq’s development of WMD, the brutal and near-genocidal acts by Saddam’s regime, and…the terror connection. Now, WMDs rather infamously were not found after our invasion. All major intelligence services, ours included, had a different opinion, and, well, they were wrong in their timing. As for the brutality of the Saddam regime, not to forget the use of WMDs on Kurds and ethnic cleansing of the Swamp Arabs, enough has been said, and all by itself is sufficient to justify regime change by force.
Now, on to that terror connection. Liberal and paleoconservative critics of the war in Iraq simply ignored those connections or claimed they were not systematic. Ignored Saddam’s payments to Palestinian suicide bombers’ families. Hey, it’s the Palestinians’ national sport, isn’t it? The critics also ignored al-qaeda connections, or used ad hominen attacks on those who cited evidence of those connections. In fact, many critics, especially those on the left, insisted that the cause of jihadis being in Iraq was our very liberation of the country — except they can’t bring themselves to utter the word “liberation.” Now that the so-called insurgency appears to be waning, it’s hard for the angry left to get up a good head of steam on the issue.
And, just to show that there are some on the left who may, on occasion, be logical, consider these extracts from Thomas Friedman’s column today:
To the extent that the Baathists and Jihadists have a coordinated strategy, their first priority, I think, is to defeat American forces in the heart of their world…
In short, the more the Jihadists lose in Iraq, the more likely they are to use their rump forces to try something really crazy in America to make up for it.
Note that “to the extent that.” The Baathists and jihadis have always had this in common: a hatred of freedom. It’s also interesting that you hear a lot less these days about how so-called secular Arab thugs had little to nothing in common with the al-qaeda terrorists. The latter being allegedly driven by Islamic theology. Allegedly.
What Friedman suggests, and what has I posit always been true, is that in the Middle East those who hate us have always hated us. It didn’t take the liberation of Iraq to create that hatred. If all of our troops left today, it would not remove that hatred. The only thing that would remove it would be our total submission, i.e. “islam”, the literal English meaning of the word, to the forces of darkness posing as Islamists or as Baathists.