June 20, 2003

Reality v. Political Theater…

On the Iraqi front of the war with Jihadistan, Saddam Hussein loyalists, lingering Ba'athists, and foreign Jihadis – “dead-enders,” in Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s estimation – continued ambushing coalition forces, mainly U.S. troops. As of today, 41 troops have been killed in combat since the “cessation of hostilities.” (While we are deeply saddened by these deaths, Mr. Rumsfeld noted that our warriors in Baghdad are still safer, statistically, than on the streets of Washington, D.C.)

Meanwhile, as U.S. forces continue to neutralize pockets of resistance and search for Saddam’s WMD, they scooped up one of the “aces” from the Iraqi “Deck of Death” – Saddam’s bodyguard Abid Hamid Mahmoud al-Tikriti. Abid may have knowledge of the whereabouts of the murderous Iraqi dictator (dead or alive), his sons Uday and Qusay, and other top aides. He may also be convinced by interrogators from Task Force 20 to share some insights on the location of Saddam’s substantial cache of weaponized anthrax and nuclear bomb components.

While tensions and the temperature remain hot in Baghdad – the high today is expected to be 130 degrees (and under protective cover of Kevlar vests and helmets, it feels like that reading is centigrade) – Leftists on Capitol Hill are turning up the heat on President George Bush, claiming he outright lied about the existence of Iraq’s WMD stores in order to depose Saddam – though they have no evidence or any rationale for such action. But it makes good political theater!

Asked about the issue last Sunday, Démo Sen. John “Ketchup” Kerry, whose support for action against Saddam extends way back into the Clinton years, said, “I think it would be irresponsible of me at this point to draw conclusions prior to all the evidence being on the table.” By Wednesday, his political handlers got to him a copy of the script and Kerry proclaimed, “[Bush] misled every one of us. That’s one reason why I’m running to be president of the United States. I will not let him off the hook throughout this campaign with respect to America’s credibility and credibility to me because if he lied he lied to me personally.”

Of course, The Federalist’s concern, and the concern of all Patriots, is determining what Saddam did with his WMD. You may recall, our assault on Iraq was the direct result of Saddam’s refusal to comply with the UN Security Council mandate to provide evidence he destroyed his known stores of WMD. The burden of proof was on Saddam, not on Mr. Bush. But the Left and their media talkingheads largely control the public debate, and if you tell a lie often enough….

In other news…

On the trail of other WMD producers, President Bush put Iran on notice in a “carefully worded escalation,” telling Ayatollah Ali Ruholla Khamenei that the United States and our allies “will not tolerate the construction of a nuclear weapon in Iran.”

This, as growing protests calling for democratic reform in Iran entered the tenth day and spread beyond the initial student uprisings in the capital of Tehran. Mr. Bush said of the protests, “This is the beginning of people expressing themselves toward a free Iran, which I think is positive.”

Our analysts believe that the democratic reform protests in Iran are part of a sophisticated and growing reform movement. Additionally, our sources indicate that these demonstrations may in fact be qualitatively different from similar uprisings in the past. Over 70% of Iran’s population is under the age of 30. The country’s youth have consistently been the vanguard for democratic reform in Iran, and now their numbers are growing and their movement is spreading across age, ethnic and economic boundaries. The BBC quoted one demonstrator as saying, “We want a complete overthrow of the Islamic republic and establishing a proper democracy like the one in UK or USA.”

The Federalist noted last fall that one possible outcome of our campaign against Jihadistan, specifically on the warfront with Iraq, could be a “domino effect” of democratization. Despite all the criticisms emerging from the war with Iraq, it appears that the hope of a democratic Iraq serving to inspire similar democratic awakenings throughout the Middle East may be transitioning into reality. The West’s last best hope for the containment of Islamic terrorism is the spread of democracy and free-market capitalism throughout the Middle East.

One significant obstacle to the democratization of the Middle East has been – you guessed it – the French. In 1979, when the Shah of Iran was forced out of power, that vacuum was filled by Ayatollah Khomeini, who was living in exile in – you guessed it again – France. It is notable this week that the French arrested 150 suspected members of an Iranian opposition group, the Mujahedeen Khalq, or People’s Mujahedeen.

As for the third member of the “Axis of Evil,” North Korea’s Communists, Secretary of State Colin Powell was in Asia this week, seeking to bolster support for interdiction of North Korean vessels on the high seas, to bar nuclear WMD sales to terrorist groups and terror-sponsoring nations. North Korean officials threatened “immediate” retaliation if their ships are stopped.

The Cold War may be over, but the immortal words of President John Kennedy in 1962 resonate today: “We no longer live in a world where only the actual firing of weapons represents a sufficient challenge to a nation’s security.”

Quote of the week…

“The credibility of this country is based upon our strong desire to make the world more peaceful and the world is now more peaceful after our decision…. And history will show … time will prove that the United States made the absolute right decision in freeing the people of Iraq from the clutches of Saddam Hussein.” –President George W. Bush

On cross-examination…

“The battle of Iraq was a major victory in the war on terror, but the war itself is far from over. We cannot allow ourselves to grow complacent. We cannot forget that the terrorists remain determined to kill as many Americans as possible, both abroad and here at home, and they are still seeking weapons of mass destruction to use against us. With such an enemy, no peace treaty is possible; no policy of containment or deterrence will prove effective. The only way to deal with this threat is to destroy it, completely and utterly.” –Vice President Dick Cheney

Open query…

“If the U.S. intelligence agencies bent their data to damn Saddam, why is it that the French, German and Russian intelligence services all came to the same conclusion? Why is it that every country on the Security Council, including Syria, in the unanimous Resolution 1441, declared that Saddam had failed to account for the tons of chemical and biological agents he had in 1998?” –Charles Krauthammer

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