Imagine if there had been no Iraq

Monday, November 14, 2005
Is it possible to imagine what the world would be like today if Bush hadn't invaded Iraq?

We'll grant Saddam his box.

Afghanistan: a protracted war with not only tribal leaders and Taliban remnants, but al Qaeda as well. Bin laden knew America would come to Afghanistan. At best we'd lob a few rockets at camps. At worst we would end up in a protracted quagmire in the mountains, valleys, and forests just like the Soviets did. And al Qaeda thought they could eventually rout us, just as they did the Soviets. They would have fought us hard there. Four years later, we would probably still be in Afghanistan, in greater numbers, with a larger loss of life, and little in the way of democracy in place for the Afghan people.

Well, okay then. What else?

We would still have captured the likes of Kahlid Sheik Mohammed. We would still have Gitmo. We would still have routed terror cells inside the US. Would still have long lines at airports for security checks. Would still have tried drying up funding for terrorism. Would still have worked with intelligence agencies around the world to identify and neutralize terrorists. We would still have spent billions on homeland security.

Well, okay then. What else?

The muslim world's opinion of the West, especially America, was already had cheered the 9/11 attack on America. But with no Iraq it wouldn't have been made worse. The muslim world paid little attention to the extremists...except for cheering when they attacked the West.

Well, okay then. Not so bad. What else?

Attacks on the West. Would there have been more? fewer? More on America? fewer on Europe? the Same? Those questions I have no real answer for. I suspect with or without Iraq it would have been much the same. With al Qaeda middle-management killed or captured, the disparate groups loosely affiliated would have gone their own way anyway. What they could get away with they would have attempted.

Except for one item.



Zarqawi's plotted ricin attacks on Europe were thankfully thwarted. Would he have tried again? Does anyone think this cruel, persistant, terrorist would simply have faded away? Would he have been killed or captured before or after some horrific attack on the West was successful or would he still be plotting and executing more?

And, whatever attacks would occur in the West, the arab world would cheer.

And attacks and threat of attack would continue for year after year after year for decades with always the possibility of escalation to horrific levels.

If we hadn't invaded Iraq.

But we invaded Iraq.

Yes, attacks have still occurred in the West and will continue to be a problem for some time to come.


the Arab world, though many still cheer when the West is attacked, is not as united in its cheering as it once was. Zarqawi is a little too occupied blowing up muslims in Iraq to attack the West. And to show how potent a 'believer' he is, he puts out videos of his carnage and slaughter. The muslim world has noticed.

To gather momentum for the movement Zarqawi needs the muslim world to validate him, to cheer him on, to give him recruits. But the muslim world is having second thoughts about that--especially when Zarqawi pulled his worst PR stunt of all: blowing up a wedding party of muslims in Jordan.

Now combine the disgust many muslims have of the slaughter inflicted by Zarqawi and al Qaeda, with the sight of the struggle of the Iraqi people to embrace their freedom as well as their courageous determination to have self-government, and you have a muslim world on the verge of tossing out their extremists. If rejecting these extremists is a step on the way to their own freedom, this choice is becoming obvious to them.

And the very recognition of the horror of the slaughter speaks against the same horror inflicted on the infidel. There has been no tipping point yet. But it will come.

The already low opinion the Arab world had of America went even lower when we invaded Iraq. It has since recovered but no matter how some of us protest, the idea is not for them to love America but for them to reject the extremists.

As for Afghanistan, al Qaeda tried for a while but Iraq, the heart of the Arab world, was too important for them to ignore...even though they don't have the mountains, valleys, and trees to hide in. Afghanistan is already a better place because of Iraq. And no quagmire. I doubt that the slaughter of innocent Afghanis would have had the same effect on the Arab world as the slaughter of Arab muslims.

As I said, there will still be attacks on the West for some time to come. But without the support of the Arab world and muslims in general they will not last forever and an end to the slaughter inflicted by Islamic terrorism can at least be imagined.

Because of Iraq.

But don't just take my word for it. Here is part of a Washington Post editorial:

But Iraq has given Arabs across the Middle East a gruesomely vivid demonstration of al Qaeda's real vision for the region: bombings in mosques; the beheading of fellow Muslims; and Taliban-style dictatorship in areas under its control. Now Arabs watch the footage of a wedding turned into a massacre, with no conceivable U.S. targets in sight. No wonder al Qaeda ideologue Ayman Zawahiri is allegedly concerned enough about the movement's image to have dispatched a chiding letter to the Iraqi branch. And no wonder Arabs who demonstrate in the streets of their cities these days most often do so in favor of democracy -- and against the criminals of al Qaeda.
Some people are seeing the rejection of the terrorists yet are not quite ready to make the connection to Iraq. The Washington Post, to its credit, does.


Rick Ballard said...

There must be a place for Libya in the equation. The current MSM show continues to ignore the Libyan nuclear program now stored in Oak Ridge, TN. Without Iraq, Qadaffi would still be working on toys that our mint teas sipping intelligence services say that they didn't know about until he coughed them up.

Perhaps they didn't know and perhaps they did. When you read the IAEA report on the Libyan scheme it is not comforting. Baradei and the UN band of nitwits in "control" of the UN team admit that they were absolutely clueless about the Libyan program. Libya had four times as much yellowcake on hand as Iraq did. Libya is also just a long drive from the Akouta uranium mine in Niger - owned and operated by COGEMA. The IAEA report does not state where Libya obtained the uranium. They bury that info in an Annex that is inaccessible (at least to me).

I find it interesting that when Wilson was doing his tea tasting in Niamey he was much farther from the Akouta mine than was the Nigerian border. Also interesting is the fact that the road running north from the mine into Algeria is known as the "Uranium Road".

I don't know why but somehow I have a suspicion that Wilson has never been to the Akouta facility.

I agree with the thrust of your piece Syl. Zarqawi is ruining al Queada's good name with the Muslims. The Iraqis are doing a fine job of killing the enemy whereever they find him. All well and good.

What I want to know with some degree of certainty is whether the IAEA clowns are completely incompetent or only incompetent wrt Arab countries. We really need to know.

truepeers said...

Yes, it's true. Bush has given the Muslim world an opportunity to fight for its freedom. And if the nature of his gift is only now becoming apparent to many, it is testament to its greatness. The consequent irrelevance of many players who came before, and the revelation of their unnecessary implication in tyranny will be the hardest pill. Bush is teaching us why some people come to resent freedom so and thus giving us non-Muslims an opportunity to fight for our freedom too.

terrye said...

If we had not invaded Iraq, most people would still believe the intelligence was correct concerning stockpiles.

And we would not have known about the food for oil scandal that turned the UN into a brothel of sorts.

If we had not known about these failings, we would not have been able to take steps to deal with them.

BTW..I think the weapons stockpiles are out there somewhere myself. It is easier for me to believe that Saddam hid/sold/traded the weapons than it is for me to believe so many were so wrong for so long. And we found enough uranium and chemical warheads and shells with nerve gas and chemical agents in underground bunkers to let us know he did have some stuff. So where is the rest?

But... because we went into Iraq the next tyrant will know that when he hears the phrase "serious consequences" he might ought to pay attention.

Mostly I believe that if not for Iraq the terrorists might have continued to visit mayhem on infidels like some demented avenging demons and that in the long run would have been a very bad thing for the Muslim world. very bad.

Syl said...

Yes, there are lots of things that happened because of Iraq. The discovery of the OFF scandal is another one of them as well.

The lesson here is that without the slaughter of muslims by al Qaeda, terrorist attacks in the West would have continued to be shrugged off and cheered by the arab world.

Bush brought the fight to the heart of the arab world, al Qaeda was forced to slaughter his own, and the reaction to that has changed the entire dynamic.

Now attacks, even in the West, are looked on with shame and scorn and horror.

I doubt that would have happened, or at the very least would not have happened as soon as it has, without Iraq.

markg8 said...

Just imagine. This is a little off topic but check out the following recap by Arianna Huffington of her dinner with Ahmad Chalabi and John Cusack. I kid you not. You'll be surprised at some of his views.

Knucklehead said...

Unless I've missed mention of these things...

1. If we hadn't invaded Iraq we'd still have Saddam's Iraqi Intellingence Service agents operating far and wide with diplomatic immunity.

2. If we hadn't invaded Iraq we'd still have "his box" to manage - a large force of US military capability maintaining the no fly zones and providing a laboratory for the French, Russians, Chinese, and Norks to study US technology and tactics and develope countermeasures.

3. We'd still have some form of the UN "sanctions" going on which is to say billions of dollars per year being poured into various corrupt UN and other international power brokers with which to furhter corrupt whatever semblence of stability there was on the international scene.

If item #3, the sanctions, had finally fallen completely apart we'd have an open air bazzar of corruption, #2 (the box) would have been torn to shreds and #1, (the IIS) would have been infinitely more dangerous to the US.