Both of these can, of course, be elaborated on extensively (certainly, books have been written on the subject of combating terrorism) but that is my prescription in a nutshell.
First, I have seen little evidence that Al-Qeada was ever able to get any serious recruits from Iraq (I certainly am unfamiliar with any known terrorists originating from there, or from Iran, for that matter). Second, the attack (at the very least in the short term) increased the level of hatred towards the United States all over the Arab world, encouraging new recruitment. Fourth, our presence in Iraq gives Al-Qeada a target, a base from which to kill Americans in a society that remains relatively lawless. Iraq has become a symbol, in a way the entire country has been martyred and has been an effective recruiting tool throughout the region. Hence we have invented a front in the war on terror that need not exist. Finally, American presence in Iraq has severely damaged our relations with many former allies whose assistance is absolutely necessary in any serious effort to fight terrorism (see point one above).
Finally, I would like to address the policy of pre-emption. I do not believe that this is an accurate term to describe Bush’s attack on Iraq. Pre-emptive attacks are not only morally acceptable, but historically as well. Perhaps the most famous of these was Israel’s 1967 attack on Egypt prior to an Egyptian offensive. What we did in Iraq is more accurately called an invasion, nothing more. We were not pre-empting anything. Not only was Iraq not preparing to attack us, but there were United Nations personnel all over the country searching for weapons right before the invasion. Going into Iraq may be many things that are open to debate, but I have a hard time buying into the idea that it was pre-emptive of anything. Preventative, perhaps, but not pre-emtive.
When I look at the present world and the threat of terrorism which 9/11 underlined as a serious major threat rather than a horrible but minor one, I am forced to the conclusion that Bush’s policy is right. It may not be well executed in detail, and it entally wrong in major plan of execution www.rksloans.com/title-loans-id, but it is right in overall concept.
We cannot protect the United States against terrorism by a defensive posture. . Any successful defense will have to be by offense — we have to disrupt terrorism before it can be initiated.
That, of course, is the core of Bush’s policy of pre-emption. I have heard many arguments against pre-emption. I have never heard an argument for a policy that would likely be more successful.
Pre-emption need not be just by military means — it can also be economic or political, but given the state of the world today, particularly in the mid-east it must cause significant change.
Is Iraq the proper place and key for that change? Could better results be obtained somewhere else? Where and what?
“What are the costs of inaction? Something the administration is intimately aware of that most of America cannot conceive of.”
I am not sure the administration knows any more than George H.W. Bush, whose predictions of what might happen if they take the country have proven prophetic, or the numerous scholars on the region, or the many other politicians, diplomats, and world leaders that advocated against this war.
In any event, the cost of inaction would have been a stronger and more dangerous Iraq. However, few actually suggested inaction. Rather, Bush’s tough stance on the issue forced the inspections process to resume more stronger and more effective than they were before 1998, and act that I commended him on at the time. Had he left it at that, or waited for definitive proof of violations of the UN, or for an openly belligerent act by Iraq, Bush would be remembered as the president that brought peace to Afghanistan and law and order back to Iraq. But he did not stop there. He invaded the country, decapitated the government, and here we are.