Click Here North Star Writers Group
Syndicated Content.
Eric Baerren
Lucia de Vernai
Herman Cain
Dan Calabrese
Alan Hurwitz
Paul Ibrahim
David Karki
Llewellyn King
Nathaniel Shockey
Stephen Silver
Candace Talmadge
Jessica Vozel
Feature Page
David J. Pollay - The Happiness Answer
Cindy Droog - The Working Mom
The Laughing Chef
Mike Ball - What I've Learned So Far
Bob Batz - Senior Moments
D.F. Krause - Business Ridiculous
Paul Ibrahim
  Paul's Column Archive

May 7, 2007

Iraq Will Determine Outcome of War on Terror


Most Americans are under the impression that the Iraq war is, simply put, about Iraq. That is true, but only in small part. The fight in Iraq has in fact evolved to become about not only the country itself, but about the Middle East, the world and the global fight against terrorism.


The reasons first given to justify the invasion of Iraq were mostly limited to issues within Iraq or ones specifically and chiefly concerning its people. The most obvious was the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, a truly despicable human being who treated other human beings in appalling ways. Hussein’s previous wars and behavioral trend gave us excellent reasons to believe that he would get his country into another major disaster.


Another reason for the invasion was the now often-mocked belief that Iraq was developing weapons of mass destruction. Regardless of whether truly threatening weapons of mass destruction programs were actually under way, there is no question that the entire world was convinced that the Iraqi government was pursuing such plans – including European and Democratic leaders who can be quoted to the last man and woman as sharing that view.


Other justifications for the war included the Iraqi government’s repeated violations of United Nations resolutions, Hussein’s previous use of weapons of mass death against his neighbors and his own people, and the continuous persecution of the Shiite majority to the south and the Kurdish minority to the north. Yet as true and important as these explanations were, they remain inferior in magnitude to what Iraq truly represents.


Iraq is one of the most diverse countries in the Arab world. It has a significant number of both Shiites and Sunnis. Its oil reserves are among the most substantial on Earth. Crucially, Iraq is situated right smack in the middle of the Muslim world. Hence, if democracy is successfully established in Iraq, it would represent a model to countries from western Africa to southeast Asia. And with democracy comes many, many good things.


For one, democracy is the best antidote to terrorism. Most terrorist recruits are poor, disillusioned young men who find solace in their extremist mentors when they cannot find it elsewhere. A democratic system would give these men respect for their individuality and basic rights for themselves and their families. Further, the prosperity that accompanies a well-functioning democracy over the long-term would give would-be terrorists valuable jobs and communities that would top their priority lists.


Although there will always be religious extremists, and rich ones at that (such as Osama bin Laden), a democracy would serve to deprive them of further resources, recruits and popular support. With the prosperity that would come from capitalism, the masses will cease being dependent on radicals for their protection and livelihoods. Free trade will prove to be the best form of charity.


Iraq’s same critical characteristics, however, give it as much potential to be the most dangerous place in the world as it could be a force for good. Iraq is a classic setting for the centuries-old Sunni-Shiite struggle to peak. Its central location also makes it an easy place to draw extremists into its borders, and its oil reserves an ideal source of money with which to fund terrorist activities.


If Iraq becomes a terrorist state, any hope for a peaceful, successful, or democratic Middle East would be eradicated. And radicals recognize this reality. Ayman al-Zawahiri, Al-Qaeda’s number two man, and Abu Hamza al-Muhajir, an organization leader in Iraq, recently released statements that demonstrated their true intentions for Iraq. Iraq is not just another country to them – it is now their gate to the Middle East and to the world.


It is irrelevant whether the United States invaded Iraq to merely take out Saddam Hussein or for any additional purposes. The fact of the matter is that now, today, at this very moment, extremist organizations, including Al-Qaeda, are trying to turn Iraq into a terrorist state. How we got to this point does not matter. What matters is that if we leave, we will lose Iraq, and then leave it and the rest of the Middle East to individuals far worse than Saddam Hussein. As such, no political goal in Washington should come close to outweighing the necessity of continuing the fight in Iraq.


Withdrawal would be a blunder from which the world would never recover.

© 2007 North Star Writers Group. May not be republished without permission.


Click here to talk to our writers and editors about this column and others in our discussion forum.


To e-mail feedback about this column, click here. If you enjoy this writer's work, please contact your local newspapers editors and ask them to carry it.

This is Column # PI051. Request permission to publish here.