It's no wonder that Saddam Hussein says he sleeps soundly these days. When the French and the Germans said that they'd block any further U.N. action against him, they were sending the message that they'll stop us from going downtown in Baghdad. But for us, and our real allies, going to war without France is like going deer hunting without an accordion. There's a lot of useless, noisy baggage that we can leave behind.
Last week, the world's attention was focused on the girly boys of Old Europe and their complaints that we are too unrefined and aggressive. One apologetic Dutch reporter asked me why America isn't more concerned about European opinion. He explained that the French and Germans were very upset about our lack of manners and thought Dubya was a cowboy. I told him that any nation that made decisions on war and peace based on another nation's manners wasn't being governed by grownups.
Though there's obviously a testosterone shortage in Paris and Berlin, there sure isn't one in places such as London, Canberra, Istanbul, Tel Aviv and Kuwait City, capitals of the Coalition of the Willing. (If only Dubya had picked a name with a better acronym than "COW"). There's probably a beer surplus in whatever town the Australian Special Air Service calls home, because they -- again -- are on the way to war. An Australian reporter I spoke with asked me if Americans appreciated his country's contributions to the war against terror. I told him we did very much, but too few knew about it. It's time to ignore the pink peacocks of Old Europe and praise the stud bulls who are members of the COW and are joining us to end the menace posed by Saddam's WMD.
You don't win a Bronze Star by sitting behind a desk. And you hardly ever see an American combat medal such as that being given to anyone but an American. Major Steve Jobson, an Aussie Black Hawk helo driver, was awarded a Bronze Star for service with the 82nd Airborne in Afghanistan. I suspect he was driving spec ops troops into and out of places such as Tora Bora, where some of the heaviest fighting took place. And the Aussies are stepping up to the plate again, to take a full swing at Saddam. Australia is in the war on terror for the long haul. HMAS Kinimbla sailed recently for the Middle East with men and weapons aboard. She, and other Aussie ships and aircraft, will deliver units of the Australian SAS -- and many other units of ground, air and naval forces -- to fight with us from day one. (The Aussie SAS is just as good as the Brit SAS, which is to say damned good. They just drink more, which is quite an accomplishment in itself.)
The Aussies want a free trade agreement with us. I favor it because both countries will benefit from increased trade, and I will save a bundle when the price of Foster's Special Bitter drops. Special Trade Representative Robert Zoellick has told Congress that the Bush Administration wanted to go ahead with such an agreement. We should, as soon as we can.
Not all the good news comes from Canberra. By last Thanksgiving, nearly all the Brit SAS people and other spec ops guys weren't at home. My guess is that they were in Iraq with our guys, mapping out Scud locations and other prime targets. In Afghanistan, Brit special forces were there in considerable numbers, as were their air and naval forces. In one of the early fights in the caves, a senior SAS sergeant performed so heroically he was recommended for a Victoria's Cross, the Brit equivalent of our Congressional Medal of Honor. As par for the SAS course, not a word more has leaked out. I only wish we could have honored that man publicly as we did Major Jobson.
The Brits carried much of the in-flight refueling burden in the Afghan campaign. It got to the point that our Navy and Marine pilots steered off USAF tankers if the Brits were around because the Brit refueling equipment linked more easily to that used by our carrier aircraft. A very large slice of British forces, including the tankers, will take part in the Iraq campaign. The Brits will make the largest commitment of men and equipment next to ours. They are invaluable.
Turkey, our most under-appreciated ally, is also our only ally in the Muslim world that can fight. They won't send troops as they did in the Korean War and many times since. They are among the world's toughest fighters. Turkey will let use its bases to attack Iraq. That is enough, for now. Kuwait, which has no significant military, will let us use bases there, and may help pay for the war.
In Gulf War 1, the Israelis were told to stay home as part of the price of keeping the Saudis' cooperation. Loud Saudi objections caused us to not go all the way to Baghdad. This time we should welcome the Israelis aboard, and not just because we're going to finish the job. The Israelis will likely suffer the most, even before we attack Iraq. Saddam's Scud-mounted chemical and biological weapons may be fired at Israeli cities before we attack. As the conflict grows closer, Hezbollah terrorists will try to disrupt our plans by firing hundreds of rockets into northern Israel to start the war there, and divert us from Iraq. The Israelis will counter-attack, and drive Hezbollah out of Syrian-controlled Lebanon. They would be right to take that attack all the way to Damascus. The Assad government owns and operates Hezbollah, and should go down in flames with its terrorists.
America is too forgiving of enemies and faithless "allies." We should do better by forging closer ties to the nations that are willing to fight terror, and divorcing ourselves from those that won't. If Saddam can be convinced that we won't stop before he is dead or deposed, he might take the money and run. The longer the French and Germans puff themselves up, the longer Saddam will believe he can survive. Very soon, it will be too late for him, and for the Americans who will lose their lives liberating Iraq. If they continue to refuse support after the action begins, France and Germany will be encouraging Saddam to continue to fight past the point when his forces would have surrendered. America has paid the butcher's bill twice for France and Germany. If they make the bill larger this time, we should never forget or forgive. Saddam delendus est.