File 911: The Axis of Evil: Iraq
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James S. Robbins, "Next Up: Iraq" (11/28/01). Is the overthrow of Saddam Hussein a practical idea or just wishful thinking?
Jerry Taylor & Peter VanDoren "'Oil Weapon' Myth" (12/6/01). Should we let fear of an Arab oil embargo influence our policies?
Eliot Cohen, "Iraq Can't Resist Us" (12/23/01). A cogent summary of reasons why we shouldn't fear war against Saddam Hussein.
James S. Robbins, "Overthrowing Saddam" (2/18/02). The first of a five-part series examining the strengths and weaknesses of the Iraqi regime. Part 1 looks at Saddam's power elite.
James S. Robbins, "The Iraqi Opposition" (2/19/02). Part 2 of a five-part series. Almost all Iraqis loath Saddam, but that doesn't make it easy to ally against him.
James S. Robbins, "On the Road to Baghdad" (2/20/02). Part 3 of a five-part series. Diplomacy has a role to play in overthrowing Saddam.
James S. Robbins, "War in the Shadows" (2/21/02). Part 4 of a five-part series. Covert operations can assist the Iraqi opposition in earning the right to govern a free nation.
James S. Robbins, "Liberation" (2/22/02). Last of a five-part series. This part details the likely shape of a well-executed endgame against Saddam Hussein's regime.
Jeffrey Goldberg, "The Great Terror" (3/25/02). A first hand account of Saddam Hussein's war of atrocities against the Kurds of northern Iraq.
Michael Barone, "Off the Side Track" (4/4/02). "The replacement of Saddam Hussein by a democratic regime renouncing aggression against its neighbors, including Israel, would be a firm and unmistakable rebuke of the state of mind that produces suicide bombers and praise and subsidy for them."
William R. Hawkins, "Saddam Is Not Waiting" (4/12/02). "Only decisive military action — including enough American ground troops to capture Baghdad, will stop the 'doomsday clock' before Saddam gains the power to plunge the region into a long, dark night."
Alix M. Freedman & Steve Secklow, "How Saddam Reaps Illegal Oil Profits" (5/2/02). Oil sales that are supposed to help buy food for the Iraqi populace instead help keep the tyrant's war machine in gear.
William R. Hawkins, "Smart Sanctions Aren't" (5/10/02). Loosening economic sanctions against terrorist states will neither help liberate them nor be advantageous to American companies in the post-liberation future.
Daniel Pipes, "State's Terror Untruths" (5/28/02). How the State Department's annual report on terrorism whitewashes many of our most dangerous foes.
Margaret, Lady Thatcher, "Don't Go Wobbly" (6/17/02). The nuclear confrontation between India and Pakistan points up why the Axis of Evil regimes need to be changed.
Max Singer, "After Saddam" (6/20/02). A portrait of Iraqi National Congress leader Ahmad Chalabi, a potential successor to the tyrant.
Michael Ledeen, "Scowcroft Strikes Out" (8/6/02). "It's always reassuring to hear Brent Scowcroft attack one's cherished convictions; it makes one cherish them all the more."
James S. Robbins, "Hot Time in the City" (8/14/02). Hunkering down in urban centers may prolong Saddam Hussein's life but isn't a war winning strategy.
Mark Erickson, "Iraq: In All But Name, the War's Begun" (8/17/02). U.S. and British forces have increased to 100,000 since the beginning of the year, "a build-up without much fanfare, accelerating since March and accelerating further since June. And these troops are not just sitting on their hands or twiddling their thumbs while waiting for orders to act out some type of D-Day drama. Several thousand are already in Iraq. They are gradually closing in and rattling Saddam's cage. In effect, the war has begun."
Charles Krauthammer, "Kidnapped by the Times" (8/18/02); The Wall Street Journal, "This Is Opposition?" (8/19/02). The New York Times enlists its news pages in a crusade to protect Saddam Hussein's regime from American power.
John Derbyshire, "Management or Confrontation?" (8/20/02). "What seems to me increasingly unarguable is that the time for managerialism, for understanding, for 'peace processes,' is past, and the time for confrontation nigh. I think we understand the peoples of the Middle East well enough, having repeatedly watched them dancing in the street at our misfortunes. It is time now to press a little understanding of us on them. The crushing of the cockroach regime in Iraq, aside from its other probable benefits, would be a splendid way to accomplish this - to bring a little attitude adjustment to a region sorely in need of it, and unlikely to acquire it through the efforts of managers, however many 'diplomatic initiatives' they launch, however many 'peace processes' they set in motion, however much 'understanding' they display, however many 'hands of friendship' they extend, however many toasts they raise to those who hate us and who spit on our values."
Tom Delay, "The Imperative for Action" (8/21/02). A Congressional leader's summary of the reasons for moving forward against Saddam Hussein and other terrorist supporters.
Mackubin Thomas Owens, "Are We Taking Counsel of Our Fears?" (8/22/02). Many military experts have a vested interest in pessimism, as shows clearly in their discussions of the risks of going to war with Iraq.
Charles Krauthammer, "The Myth of 'U.N. Support'" (10/4/02). "Forty years ago to the month, President Kennedy assert[ed] his willingness to present his case to the United Nations, but also his determination not to allow the United Nations to constrain America's freedom of action. Today his brother, a leader of the same party, awaits the guidance of the United Nations before he will declare himself on how America should respond to another nation threatening the United States with weapons of mass destruction."
Micha Odenheimer, "Vicious Circles Closing In" (10/4/02). Interview with Thomas von der Osten-Sacken, a German journalist and authority on human rights in Iraq.
David Tell, "Not So Innocents Abroad" (10/5/02). All that needs to be said about Saddam Hussein's duo of U.S. Congressional apologists.
Adrian Karatnycky, "Ukraine's Rogue President" (10/9/02). A semi-democratic ruler betrays the U.S. to help Saddam Hussein bolster his defenses.
Claudia Rosett, "Fuel for Freedom" (10/9/02). ". . . the aspiring architects of a new Iraq are either oblivious to the lessons of the last century or oddly eager to toss them out the window. The broad assumption of the State Department, of the Iraqi opposition, of almost everyone devoting any thought to the building of a post-Saddam Iraq, is that the country's oil should remain in government hands." Not a good idea.
Asla Aydintasbas, "Yes, Change the Regime" (10/10/02). How and why Kenneth Pollack, the Clinton Administration's point man on Iraq, changed his mind about the need to eliminate rather than merely contain Saddam Hussein.
Robert Kaplan, "Slave State" (10/10/02). "Saddam is not just another dictator with whom we have to live. On a moral plane, even by the dismal standards of the Middle East, he is sui generis. The degree of repression is so severe in Iraq that whenever I would journey from Saddam's Iraq to Hafez al-Assad's Syria in the 1980s, it was like coming up for liberal humanist air."
Thomas McInerney, "Liberation Blitz" (10/11/02). A retired Air Force general describes the likely course of an Iraqi campaign. "The Iraqi forces we are facing are about 30% of the Iraqi force in Desert Storm, with no significant modernization. We are about ten times more effective with the addition of the B-2 Stealth Bomber, Joint STARS, the new drones, Global Hawk and Predator plus the satellite guided Joint Direct Attack Munition, which allows our bombers to drop up to 16 to 24 bombs simultaneously at different targets. These additional capabilities will enable the coalition forces to conduct a campaign that will be over within 30 days and have fewer casualties than we had in Desert Storm with a smaller attacking force."
Reuel Marc Gerecht, "A Necessary War" (10/12/02). Far from interfering with the war against terrorism, victory over Saddam Hussein is essential to winning on other fronts.
Holman W. Jenkins, Jr., "Saddam's Economy of War" (10/19/02). "We can blame ourselves for letting it get to this point. Deterrence is finally beginning to work--for Saddam. Happenstance and Sept. 11 have given us one last opportunity to regain the initiative over whether and how he will end up using his terror weapons. That opportunity, though, will vanish fast."
The Wall Street Journal, "A French-Russian Veto?" (10/23/02). "We understand the uses of diplomacy, but enough is enough. It's been five weeks since Mr. Bush asked the U.N. to act, time is running out on the prime winter season for military action in Iraq, and sooner or later Mr. Bush has an obligation to end this pas de Chirac and call the French and Russian bluff. The U.S. should put a blunt, forceful declaration in front of the Security Council, and see if its members really want to veto it."
Claudia Rosett, "When Dictators Blink" (10/23/02). "It's worth noting that truth and clear resolve are themselves useful weapons in dealing with dictatorial thugs, who depend not only on their arsenals but also on silence and fear. Notwithstanding Saddam's 'election' with 100% of a 100% turnout, it looks as if the vote that really registered in Baghdad was the congressional green light in the U.S. to go to war to remove Saddam."
Rich Lowry, "The Anthrax Slander" (10/28/02). "By pointing out the U.S.-Iraq anthrax connection, doves aren't making a serious policy point so much as reinforcing their attitude to American power, which they consider always in the wrong - wrong when it supposedly gives Saddam anthrax, and wrong when it prepares to take it away."
Robert Kagan, "War and the Fickle Left" (12/23/02). A particularly egregious example of a liberal whose position on Iraq seems to depend wholly on whether he likes America's President. "Walzer's illogical about-face is embarrassing but, sadly, not unique. Yesterday's liberal interventionists, in Bosnia, Kosovo and Haiti, are today's liberal abstentionists. What changed? Just the man in the White House. Intellectual consistency, even for great thinkers, is no match for partisan passions."
Fouad Ajami, "Iraq and the Arabs' Future" (12/26/02). "Above and beyond toppling the regime of Saddam Hussein and dismantling its deadly weapons, the driving motivation of a new American endeavor in Iraq and in neighboring Arab lands should be modernizing the Arab world. The great indulgence granted to the ways and phobias of Arabs has reaped a terrible harvest -- for the Arabs themselves, and for an America implicated in their affairs. It is cruel and unfair but true: the fight between Arab rulers and insurgents is for now an American concern."
The Wall Street Journal, "The Not Quite 'Smoking Gun'" (1/17/03). U.N. weapons inspectors "have come to consider their main job not as disarming Saddam Hussein but as averting war and are willing to rewrite Security Council Resolution 1441 to do it".
Thomas W. Murphy, "Security Council Sells Out" (1/21/03). "Critics of possible U.S. military action against Iraq say its all about oil. They are partially right; they just got the 'U.S. part' wrong. Its about Moscow and Paris wanting to protect their oil interests in Iraq. Its about billions of dollars for Russia and France as long as they look the other way while Saddam Hussein develops weapons of mass destruction, supports terrorism, and continues to be a destabilizing force in the Middle East."
The Wall Street Journal, "Iraq for Iraqis" (1/22/03). The U.S. State Department needs to take a less malevolent view of Iraq's democratic oppostion to Saddam Hussein.
The Wall Street Journal, "Nos Amis the French" (1/24/03). The French government's abrupt shift to a pro-Saddam position contradicts the Security Council resolution that it helped write last November.
John F. Burns, "How Many People Has Hussein Killed?" (1/26/03). "In the end, if an American-led invasion ousts Mr. Hussein, and especially if an attack is launched without convincing proof that Iraq is still harboring forbidden arms, history may judge that the stronger case was the one that needed no inspectors to confirm: that Saddam Hussein, in his 23 years in power, plunged this country into a bloodbath of medieval proportions, and exported some of that terror to his neighbors."
Andrew Sullivan, "NYT on Iraq: A Fisking" (1/30/03). "The Times believes that Saddam is evil; that he is a real threat to the region and the West; that he has and is trying to gain more wepaons of mass destruction, and that the U.N. inspectors cannot disarm him. But the Times also believes that, even after eleven years of Saddam's defying the U.N., that war should not be an option, that diplomacy can remove Saddam, that the French and Germans should have a veto over American foreign policy, and that time is on our side. That's their position. It is as incoherent as it is cowardly; as weak as it is afraid."
Jeffrey Goldberg, "The Unknown" (2/3/03). What Western intelligence agencies know about al-Qaeda's relationship with Saddam Hussein - and the crucial limitations on what they can find out.
Reuel Marc Gerecht, "Why We Need a Democratic Iraq" (3/14/03). ". . . advancing democracy in Iraq is the only way Washington can avoid that which the realpoliticians most fear: instability, or the 'Lebanonization of Iraq.' This is so primarily for one reason. When the U.S. armed forces demolish or dissolve the Republican and Special Republican Guards corps, Washington will irretrievably destroy the old Ottoman political order in Mesopotamia, under which Sunni Arabs rule and Shia Arabs acquiesce. In modern Iraq, 60 to 65 percent of the population has humbled itself before 20 percent of the population."
Markus Deggerich (trans. by Stefan Sharkansky), "The Regime of Oil and Blood" (3/14/03). A first hand account, by Der Spiegel's Baghdad correspondent, on how the Ba'ath oligarchy stays in power. "In every neighborhood the Party installs its administrators and inspectors. The 'Mukhtar' serves as a kind of precinct captain. He is appointed by the Party. . . . Sama Heram is one such Mukthar, who sits in his garage and holds court. What is his role? 'To regulate life', he explains tersely."
Martin Kramer, "On Entering Basra and Baghdad, Avoid This Mistake" (3/14/03). A reminder, based on sad historical precedent, of the danger that innocents will suffer if Ba'ath thugs are allowed to remain in charge of local policing after the liberation of Iraq.
Thomas H. B. Ewald, "Get Out of the Way" (3/15/03). An involuntary "human shield" during the first Gulf War recounts his personal experience as a victim of Saddam Hussein's tyranny. Of this war's volunteers for "shield" duty, he writes, "I find it difficult to understand why people would volunteer to put themselves in such a position. Instead of stopping the war, they're running the risk of prolonging it and the agony of the people living under Saddam Hussein, as well as increasing the risk to the allied armed forces."
Jonathan V. Last, "The New, Principled Anti-Americanism" (3/17/03). The author describes how simple fear or hatred of American power has become the last resort of anti-war arguments, but "even if you are inclined to believe the worst about America, the world will still be better off once Saddam has been removed. At the end of the day, even the most principled anti-Americanism is wrong on Iraq."
Tony Blair, Statement to the House of Commons (3/18/03). "Looking back over 12 years, we have been victims of our own desire to placate the implacable, to persuade towards reason the utterly unreasonable, to hope that there was some genuine intent to do good in a regime whose mind is in fact evil. Now the very length of time counts against us. You've waited 12 years. Why not wait a little longer? . . . Our fault has not been impatience. The truth is our patience should have been exhausted weeks and months and years ago. Even now, when if the world united and gave him an ultimatum: comply or face forcible disarmament, he might just do it, the world hesitates and in that hesitation he senses the weakness and therefore continues to defy."
Michael Barone, "Diplomatic Debacle? Not So" (3/18/03). Examination of the the facts shows that American diplomacy did not fail against Iraq. "Daschle's words can only be explained as the product of a kind of hatred, unbuttressed by any serious intellectual argument, likely to hurt the party of the speaker far more than the party of the president they were directed against."
Fred Barnes, "Enter the Allies" (3/19/03). How many allies do we have to assemble before the Left stops calling the war "unilateral"?
Nick Land, "Gulf of Misunderstanding" (3/20/03). "Much of the world has deliberately blinded itself to the depravity and menace of Saddam Hussein's Iraq. Hopefully this cocoon of self-deception will be among the early casualties of the campaign." A sentiment that we have heard before, but notice where it comes from.
Fr. Ken Joseph, Jr., "I Was Wrong" (3/26/03). A clergyman of Iraqi descent and pacifist convictions returns to his ancestral homeland on a peace mission. "Simply put, those living in Iraq, the common, regular people are in a living nightmare. From the terror that would come across the faces of my family at a unknown visitor, telephone call, knock at the door I began to realize the horror they lived with every day."
Mackubin Thomas Owens, "Patience" (3/27/03). "What we have been seeing over the past few days is an attempt by every party with a dog in the fight to vindicate their respective positions. Thus, those who opposed the war are using the setbacks to argue 'we told you so.' Air-power advocates are claiming that the air campaign was too constrained. Land-power advocates on the contrary are arguing that planners placed too much faith in the efficacy of air power."
Victor Davis Hanson, "History or Hysteria?" (3/28/03). "Casualties, POWs, and skyrocketing costs blanket the airwaves; rarely mentioned is the simple military fact that in a single week, a resolute American pincer column has driven across Iraq and is now systematically surrounding Baghdad - and with far fewer killed than were lost in a single day in Lebanon."
Miranda Devine, "Right Time for the Showdown" (4/3/03). "The facts of the war emerging from the front-line cacophony demonstrate why war was necessary in the first place. . . . It is clear now that militant Islamic terrorist mercenaries have been pouring into Iraq for some time, ready for a showdown. There are credible reports that many of these mercenaries have been trained by al-Qaeda, and have bolstered the so-called Saddam fedayeen, death squads run by Saddam's son Uday. . . . But if war against militant Islamic terrorists didn't happen in Iraq now, it was going to have to happen somewhere, sooner or later. September 11 and Bali are proof enough. Better to bring it on now, at a time of our choosing, with all the cockroaches gathered for a showdown out in the open in Iraq, rather than cower at home, our economies shrinking, our civilians picked off, our enemies growing stronger, until we finally wake up to the fact that fighting is necessary, and find it's too late and we are too weak."
John Keegan, "Whom Do You Think You Are Kidding, Mr. Hussein?" (4/3/03). "Saddam, or whoever is in charge, is fighting the strangest war. It is tempting to wonder, on the evidence so far presented, whether the Iraqis have been fighting a war at all."
Deroy Murdock, "At Salman Pak" (4/7/03). "Confirming that Operation Iraqi Freedom is an integral part of the war on terror, soldiers of the 7th Marine Regiment destroyed a suspected terrorist camp early Sunday en route to Baghdad. Located a mile east of the Tigris River, the Salman Pak base was exactly where U.S. terrorism experts and Iraqi defectors said it would be."
Eason Jordan, "The News We Kept to Ourselves" (4/11/03). The head of CNN's news division admits to having softened reports about Saddam Hussein's tyranny. In other words, it was even worse than we were told. "For example, in the mid-1990's one of our Iraqi cameramen was abducted. For weeks he was beaten and subjected to electroshock torture in the basement of a secret police headquarters because he refused to confirm the government's ludicrous suspicion that I was the Central Intelligence Agency's Iraq station chief. CNN had been in Baghdad long enough to know that telling the world about the torture of one of its employees would almost certainly have gotten him killed and put his family and co-workers at grave risk." Mr. Jordan's revelations have received a barrage of negative comment, e. g., from this Instapundit correspondent: "The really moral thing to do, obviously, would have been to pull out of Iraq years ago, instead of allowing Iraqis on CNN's payroll to be tortured so that they could maintain the status symbol of 'access' to the regime. This is nothing more than an attempt to preempt the likely damage to CNN's reputation caused by the (accurate) perception that they have been complicit in Hussein's enslavement of the Iraqi people since at least 1991."
Anthony Shadid, "A War Waged With a Sword at His Throat" (4/13/03). A first hand account of the wartime experience of a rank-and-file member of the Saddam Fedayeen. "Struggling against hopelessness and fear, he prepared for battle under the scrutiny of the militia's swordsmen, appointed to decapitate any deserters. Clad in black fatigues, he weathered bombing and boredom. Then he plotted his escape to the safety of relatives on the Iranian border. 'For what was I going to fight?' he asked."
Mark Steyn, "Movers and Shakers Have Moved on to the Next 'Disaster'" (4/14/03). "On to the next quagmire! Don't get mired in the bog of yesterday's conventional wisdom, when the movers and shakers have already moved on to new disasters. America may have won the war but it's already losing the peace! Here's your at-a-glance guide to what the experts who got everything wrong last week will be getting wrong next week."
Victor Davis Hanson, "Our Western Mob" (4/14/03) "It is often a trademark of successful Western societies that create such freedom and affluence to fool themselves that they are a hair's breadth away from utopia. Journalists who pad around with palm pilots, pounds of high-tech gear, dapper clothes, and expensive educations have convinced themselves that if lesser people were as caring or as sensitive as themselves then we could all live in bliss. The subtext of the daily Western media barrage has been that if we were just smarter, more moral, or better informed, then we could liberate a country the size of California in days, not weeks, lose zero soldiers, not 110, and be instantaneously greeted by happy Iraqis who would shake hands, return to work, and quietly forget thirty years of terror as they voted in a Gandhi."
Franklin Foer, "CNN's Access of Evil" (4/14/03). "To be fair, CNN was not the only organization to play this game. But as the network of record, soi-disant, they have a longer trail than most. It makes rich reading to return to transcripts and compare the CNN version of Iraq with the reality that has emerged."
Stephen F. Hayes, "Saddam's Cash" (4/25/03). It wasn't just George Galloway. "The Galloway revelations surely help explain the ravings of a fringe British politician. But they are more important for what they reveal--or more precisely, remind us--about the Iraqi regime. Saddam Hussein has a long history of bribing anyone who could help his regime - businessmen, diplomats, politicians, and journalists."
Rep. J. D. Hayworth, "War Was Justified. . . ." (4/29/03). If no chemical, biological or nuclear weapons are found in Iraq, will that prove that Saddam Hussein should have been left in power? "President Bush was right to equate disarmament in any permanent sense with regime change. The inspections regime pushed by France, Germany, and Russia, on the other hand, would at best have led only to a temporary disarmament. So while the threat to U.S. interests from Saddam was never imminent, it was always inevitable. Given that realization, the question became Do we wait for Saddam to field WMDs or do we act immediately to remove the threat? Considering that Saddam acknowledged one of his major blunders was invading Kuwait before he had nuclear weapons, the case for a preemptive strike was overwhelming - even if WMDs were never found."
Brendan Miniter, "Is Graham Crackers?" (4/29/03). "Why do Mr. Graham and some of his fellow Democrats insist, against all evidence, that the war in Iraq has nothing to do with terrorism? Because they seek to discredit President Bush's most impressive achievement to date, yet they can't be seen as opposing the war on terror."
Jonathan Foreman, "Bad Reporting in Baghdad" (5/3/03). A reporter on the scene debunks the media's gloom about Iraqis' reaction to liberation. "To an amazing degree, the Baghdad-based press corps avoids writing about or filming the friendly dealings between U.S. forces here and the local population - most likely because to do so would require them to report the extravagant expressions of gratitude that accompany every such encounter. Instead you read story after story about the supposed fury of Baghdadis at the Americans for allowing the breakdown of law and order in their city."
Mansoor Ijaz, Nabil Barakat & James Abrahamson, "How to Win Iraq's Hearts and Minds" (5/5/03). Practical suggestions for an American-Iraqi sister city development program, public works projects (New Dealish but sensible in context) and limiting the influence of Islamic extremists.