It’s ironic that at about the same time the peace movement — which apparently still hasn’t heard that the coalition was victorious in Iraq — launched a new round of protests in the United States over the war the Bush administration released a 25-page report, largely ignored by the media, documenting its successes over the past few months. The peaceniks’ renewed claims about the illegitimacy of the war were answered before the paint was dry on their new “No Blood for Oil” signs.
Entitled “100 Days of Progress in Iraq,” the administration’s report lays out a hundred positive developments in Iraq since the fall of the Hussein régime. Among the achievements are signs of cultural rebirth, improvements in the lives of women (although the administration surprisingly doesn’t mention the end of the Hussein rape gangs), democratic reforms, internal security and economic renewal, among others.
The section labeled “10 Ways the Liberation of Iraq Supports the War on Terror” may be the most important, at least from the perspective of Western security, especially since terrorism was one of the primary reasons why the U.S. led coalition went to war. Contrary to what critics of the war claimed, Iraq earned its reputation as one of the U.S. State Department’s seven state sponsors of terrorism. Its links with terrorist movements, suspected before the war, have been fully exposed.
As the report shows, the link between al-Qaeda and Iraq was more than just mere speculation. A senior member of the terrorist group admitted that al-Qaeda was intent on obtaining weapons of mass destruction from Iraq. Osama bin Laden, said one high-level al-Qaeda source, “did not believe that al-Qaeda labs in Afghanistan were capable of manufacturing chemical and biological weapons, so they turned to Iraq for assistance.” In a gesture of anti-American solidarity, Iraq agreed to train two al-Qaeda members in biological and chemical weapons.
Along with the training, Iraq also played host to two dozen al-Qaeda members, including Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in May 2002, who plotted terrorist attacks aimed at targets around the world. Not content with just providing safe haven for al-Qaeda, Hussein’s regime also gave Ansar al-Islam — a terrorist group closely associated with Zarqawi and al-Qaeda — a place to stay and create a poisons and toxins laboratory. That camp was destroyed during the war by American soldiers and turned up documents, computer discs and passports belonging to fighters from across the Middle East.
The report also confirms reports that Hussein was a supporter of several Palestinian terrorist groups including the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command, HAMAS, and the Palestine Islamic Jihad, and provided protection for the Iranian Mujahedin-e-Khalq and the Abu Nidal organizations. Hussein’s activities included paying the families of Palestinian suicide bombers, as canceled checks and testimonials from the families have shown.
We can expect more good news out of Iraq in the coming weeks. Former international weapons inspector David Kay has reportedly found substantial evidence of biological weapons and a thriving missile development program and is currently ramping up his search for chemical and nuclear weapons. Those developments, according to rumors coming out of the White House, will be reported to the public sometime in September. Those weapons won’t fall into the hands of al-Qaeda.
Whether those opposed to the war will admit it, even with the evidence staring them in the face, the end of the Hussein regime has made the world a far safer place. The Bush administration’s progress report effectively demolishes several key arguments of the anti-war movement. For all the finger pointing and accusations over those “16 words” it is clear that Saddam Hussein posed an imminent danger to global security. It remains to be seen if the doves will ever have the intellectual honesty to admit it.
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