From Jim Gilliam's blog archives
Yet more evidence Saddam wasn't a threat to America

January 13, 2004 8:46 PM

Tomorrow's New York Times:

Saddam Hussein warned his Iraqi supporters to be wary of joining forces with foreign Arab fighters entering Iraq to battle American troops, according to a document found with the former Iraqi leader when he was captured, Bush administration officials said Tuesday. ... Officials said Mr. Hussein apparently believed that the foreign Arabs, eager for a holy war against the West, had a different agenda from the Baathists, who were eager for their own return to power in Baghdad. As a result, he wanted his supporters to be careful about becoming close allies with the jihadists, officials familiar with the document said.

More from the archive in War and Peace.

Yet more evidence Saddam wasn't a threat to America (01.13.2004)

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Read the 1 comments.


I hear this a lot, but its a rather simplistic and naive view of the situation in the middle east and Saddam's role in it.

Let's set aside the WMD, which were always a pretext, regardless of whether they exist, or as media dolts and political opportunists maintain, "never existed" (documented evidence to the contrary notwithstanding).

WMD were just one threat amongst many that Saddam provided. The primary threat of Saddam was that in middleeastern culture, he was a hero for "standing up" against the west. Unless you know something of the recent (the last 300 years or so) history of Islam, you simply cannot appreciate the danger that Saddam defiance of the UN represented. We are seeing a domino effect right now of rogue state after rogue state repentantly renouncing terrorism, nuclear programs and tacit or overt support for terrorism.

So how does it work?

With Saddam as popular as he was general among Muslims (paradoxical I know, considering that he was a radical socialist), neighboring states could not light refuse him aid. The tightrope walk we've seen in Saudi Arabia between western interests and Al Qaeda is much more generalized than the average American knows, certainly far more that the angry left is willing to even consider. The destruction of Saddam's credibility, the fact that he was found in a hole and meekly surrendered to American troops, has destroyed his myth for all time. The "idea" that you could successfully resist western civilization was swept away except in the most radical corners of Islam. For the pragmatic leaders of Arab states, always aware of that tension between Islamic aspiration and modern realities, this was license to cooperate with the west.

Bush must be reelected simply because Democrats cannot be trusted with our national security, not to mention world security. My reason for stating this so boldly and irritating my liberal friends is oddly enough because they are so "conservative" on issues of national security. Four decades, Democrats have conservatively defended containment, a defensive an ineffective strategy for dealing with threats. Republican President have taken the risk (Reagan with the Soviets, Bush with Islamofascism), have essentially taken the "liberal" view on national security, and won big as a result.

It is deeply disappointing that Democrats can't seem to emerge from their navel-gazing funk to simply "do a Clinton" and coopt the issue by acknowledging it as a superior strategy.

Its not a good thing that we have a Republican congress and a Republican president, but I don't see that changing until Democrats can stop deluding themselves that alleged war hero candidates (Kerry's military record is going to be a surprise...) are enough of a symbol to paper over the fundamental weakness of Democrat foreign policy.

Sun Feb 8 2004 4:09 PM

Jim Gilliam
Jim Gilliam


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