Wednesday, May 05, 2004 "I recommend his post, and we're pretty much in agreement (his question isn't rhetorical, but he's for staying and getting it right). Here are my thoughts, for what they're worth. There was an alternate plan (the 'low hanging fruit' strategy focusing on Somalia, Sudan, etc.). But we went to Iraq, I think, for several reasons:

First, we needed to make the point Ed describes. It's dangerous to be on our bad side, even if you're a powerful dicatator with a large army and lots of bribed foreigners. That point has been made.

Second, we couldn't have a powerful, rich dictator with WMD programs and terrorist connections, who hated us, operating in the region without facing serious handicaps in our efforts elsewhere. That's taken care of, too.

Third, invading Iraq let us credibly extend that threat to other terror-supporting nations like Syria, Iran and, to some degree, Saudi Arabia. There's no question that they feel threatened -- in fact, it seems likely that they're sending fighters into Iraq as a way of mounting a 'spoiling attack' intended to make us less likely to move against them. And we appear to be returning the favor in a lower-profile way. (And, on a more overt level, the Bush Administration is putting sanctions pressure on Syria.)

Fourth, over the longer term, we felt that a de-Saddamized Iraq provided an opportunity to produce an Arab state that would be neither a theocracy nor an autocracy, but a democratic model that would undercut Arab dictatorships (a root cause of terror, you know!) and terrorists themselves throughout the region. The dictators and terrorists certainly seem worried about that, as evidenced by their efforts -- and the efforts of their propaganda arm, Al Jazeera -- to undercut that project."

Read the whole thing, and then read the post he links to. They say it way better than I could ever hope to.

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