There had been no war in Iraq? Many assume that Bush would have won his second term and his approval ratings would be in the 60's, but how can we know? I assume that if I had not married my exhusband I would have met a rich man who would have fallen helplessly in love with me and right now I would be vacationing in our summer villa. But then I snap out of it and realize that I could just as easily have married a serial killer.
In other words alternative reality is tricky.
Back in 1998 when Clinton was playing tough with Saddam, Zawahiri made the following statement:
"We say it loud and clear that we will retaliate for what is happening to the sons of our nation in Iraq. For the crimes committed by the US against our Islamic nation will not pass without punishment." The statement was signed by the Vanguards of Conquest's secretary general, Abduallah Mansour [an alias for Al Queda's #2 man and strategic planner, Dr Ayaman al Zawahiri]. It was published in the al-Hayat on December 19, 1998.
I keep hearing how Saddam was secular and thus was no friend to terrorists and yet it has always been the case that terrorists were far more upset about attacks on Saddam and his regime than they were even about the fall of the Taliban.
But what if we had waited for the day that Saddam and Osama publicly joined forces before we responded? Would that day have ever come? I would say it was about as likely as a pubic confession from Al Capone that he was indeed the man who ordered the Saint Valentines Day Massacre.
So, as we see the marches and listen to the debate we assume that this was all just a choice that we made that could have been unmade.
But what if we had just turned Saddam loose and he had rebuilt his programs? What if the sanctions regime collapsed and we were forced to stop patrolling the no fly zones and Saddam went back to killing his own people? I think that perhaps we have forgotten that the man who could have stopped this war or one like it was not George Bush, it was Saddam Hussein himself.
So my feelings are that sooner or later this fight was going to take place because the Gulf War itself never really ended. What is more the man who very nearly won the 2000 national election Al Gore felt the same way:
In 2000 Gore was saying something very different than we hear Democrats saying today.
There can be no peace for the Middle East so long as Saddam is in a position to brutalise his people and threaten his neighbours
Meeting a delegation from the Iraqi National Congress (INC), he also reiterated the administration's view that the Iraqi leader should be tried for war crimes and crimes against humanity.
As late as February, 2002 Al Gore was saying Saddam had to go:
Al Gore said last night that the time had come for a "final reckoning" with Iraq, describing the country as a "virulent threat in a class by itself" and suggesting that the United States should consider ways to oust Saddam Hussein.
I realize that there are good people who will always oppose war, I respect that. But sometimes in the course of this war I have gotten the feeling that reality has shifted. Somehow there has been a deliberate attempt to recreate the past and forget who and what Saddam was and exactly what lead up to the war. There seems to be the idea that the choice was as simple as war and peace. In truth peace was not an option with Saddam and the Democrats knew that too once upon a time.