May 7, 2007
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
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
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
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.
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
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
Withdrawal would be a blunder from which the world would never recover.
© 2007 North Star
Writers Group. May not be republished without permission.
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