Greetings, Redstaters...smagar here. I have a question for the collective: To what extent was the US decision to invade Iraq motivated by the existence of, and peril to, Israel? Here's why I'm asking that.
About a week ago, National Review's Jonah Goldberg tweeted that, while listening to the Diane Rehm show on NPR, he couldn't help but notice the high levels of animosity towards Israel that he heard in Rehm's callers. That got me thinking...
IMO, over and over again, there's been plenty of good justifications made for invading Iraq in the first place. (I'm not talking about the conduct of the war once it started---I'm specifically referring to the decision to attack). Yet, the lefties refuse to drop the subject. The Iraq War continues to inflame a large number of Americans, even though almost none of them actually fought in it. Most Iraq War opponents literally were at the mall while the US and coalition militaries were at war.
Why are they so pissed about a war they didn't fight, and didn't really affect them?
Could it be Israel?
Nikita Khruschev is quoted as saying that, when he wanted the Western powers to scream, he squeezed on Berlin. IMO, Saddam Hussein felt the same way about Israel.
Hussein knew he couldn't best the West in open battle. But, he could menace Israel with the possibility of missile strikes. He could also develop and produce advanced chem and bio agents that he could then slip to Hamas, Hezbollah or al Qaeda. Or, if he couldn't give them the actual agents, he could e-mail them the recipe for advanced, potent pathogens which terrorists could then assemble themselves. And, Hussein could do all that quietly enough to avoid forcing the UN's hand, and compelling it to take meaningful action against his regime.
I can't help but thinking that all of that went through George W. Bush's mind as he weighed going to war.
If Saddam Hussein and his sons were to leave Israel alone, perhaps we could have figured some way to coexist with him. But I don't think the crazy daddy and his just-as-crazy sons would have left Israel in peace. Ever. It was just too easy, too tempting, to squeeze on the world's only Jewish state.
If our alliances with, and support for, Israel, mean anything, then we're obligated to help our ally.
A Hussein-led Iraq was bound to be an enduring, intractable peril to Israel. If you can't get your enemy to change his ways, then the only real, lasting solution is to remove that enemy.
Let's say you're someone who doesn't actively dislike Israel---but you just want America to reduce its overseas obligations. You're tired of policing the world. OK---but worthwhile nations and honorable people don't leave their allies in peril. Israel probably could win a war with Iraq---and devastate the Middle East in the process. If you wanted the US to leave the Middle East, but also have the Middle East (and Israel) STAY at peace, how could you leave the Husseins in charge of Iraq? You couldn't.
IMO, the only way you could justify turning your back on the Husseins long-term, was if you were indifferent (or hostile) to the long-term security of Israel.
I suspect that, if you scratch through the outer layers of the arguments of Iraq War opponents, you'll find plenty of anti-Israelis below the surface.