Winston Churchill once said, “The price of greatness is responsibility.” The United States has 4% of earth’s population but produces one-quarter of the world’s wealth every year. America is the only superpower. We have aircraft carrier battle groups in every ocean, troops in 27 different countries, 16 intelligence agencies, and no one else comes close to our power projection capabilities. If we cut back militarily, our national wealth will decline.
America is truly a great nation, and we will not continue to enjoy the benefits of freedom without our national security role. As a great nation we have global responsibilities, and that is why we are in Iraq. The conflict is not over, but 27 million people are living in freedom and I believe history will prove our cause just.
Britain was the superpower of the 19th century. Unlike the United States, they were a colonial power and believed in imperialism. That will never be America’s policy but there is a similarity. The UK was never known for its large army but they nevertheless controlled India with very few soldiers. How did they do that?
There were internal tensions and conflicts in India, and at that time the nation included Pakistan and Bangladesh. They wanted Britain’s role, and for a time it stopped their internal conflicts. The United States is a power for peace, and our role in NATO, the Korea DMZ and the Persian Gulf is wanted.
Sandy Berger, the National Security Advisor to former President Clinton, spoke a few years ago about America’s role in the world. “We cannot be everywhere and do everything. But we also cannot afford to do nothing, and be nowhere,” Berger said. Without American leadership the job will not get done. Iraq is an example of where the US had to lead in order to maintain security and maintain prosperity. We cannot hunker down if we want our children to live safely and thrive. Many people say we must be engaged in the world — but they never want us to do so when our engagement is needed.
The UN inspectors were asked to leave Iraq before President Clinton’s Operation Desert Fox in 1998. They did not return until President Bush insisted. Every intelligence agency in the world told us WMD was still present. Saddam’s high command did not realize he had destroyed the stockpiles, because it was a state secret. If President Bush lied about Iraq, then so did President Clinton, Prime Minister Blair, President Chirac and Chancellor Schroder.
Saddam Hussein did not live up to the 1991 cease fire agreement by meeting HIS burden of proof to disclose the whereabouts of the WMD. Saddam Hussein did not plan the 9/11 attack, and this was never claimed. He was a significant threat to both the United States and the Middle East peace process. The CIA did produce faulty intelligence but there were still numerous reasons to topple Saddam.
It is disappointing the news media rarely reports the direct connections between Saddam’s Iraq and numerous terrorist organizations. This was addressed in a March 2008 Pentagon-sponsored study entitled “Saddam and Terrorism: Emerging Insights from Captured Iraqi Documents.” It was based on a review of more than 600,000 Iraqi documents captured after the 2003 US invasion. The study noted “Saddam supported groups either associated directly with al Qaeda (such as the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, led at one time by bin Laden’s deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri) or generally shared al Qaeda’s stated goals and objectives.” According to the Pentagon study, there were many terrorist and jihadist groups that Iraq’s former dictator funded, trained, equipped, and armed.
Saddam was willing to use operatives affiliated with al Qaeda, and this “created both the appearance of and, in some ways, a ‘de facto’ link between the organizations. At times, these organizations would work together in pursuit of shared goals but still maintain their autonomy and independence because of innate caution and mutual distrust.” The report says Saddam had the will to use his terrorist capabilities directly against United States.
The late Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of al-Qaeda Iraq was responsible for a number of deadly attacks. He and his men trained and fought with al-Qaeda for years. Zarqawi’s network helped establish and operate an explosives and poisons facility in northeast Iraq. Zarqawi and nearly two-dozen al-Qaeda associates were in Baghdad before the fall of Saddam’s regime.