Published on Friday, December 19, 2003 by the Madison Capital Times (Wisconsin)
War on Terror Far from Being Won
by Dave Zweifel
Hopefully, the gloating over capturing Saddam Hussein is over and we can get back to fighting the real war against terror.
That real war didn't include Iraq, but the Bush administration, in one of history's biggest scams, talked America into believing it did. Saddam and his weapons of mass destruction and his support of terrorism were going to get us, we were told.
Now we find out that wasn't the case at all and the new reason we fought this war was to liberate Iraq from this tyrant of a dictator. Certainly, it's good that a man like Saddam is no longer running a country, but isn't it strange no one in this administration told us that's why we were going to sacrifice a few hundred young Americans and spend the country into a massive budget deficit? Could it be they were afraid we wouldn't bite?
In fact, anyone who has watched developments in the Middle East the past couple of decades can't help but be amazed by the pictures we're so brazenly showing the world of this pitiful ex-dictator. This is the same man two previous administrations - Reagan's and Bush I's - propped up, allowing him to become the scourge he did.
Our surly secretary of defense, Donald Rumsfeld, was the same man who made friends with Saddam two decades ago and arranged for huge caches of American arms, including chemicals, to be sent to him so he would fight Iran. Saddam later used those chemicals on his own people. Later, Bush I played footsie with the Iraqi leader, helped him out militarily and made deals with him until Saddam double-crossed him and invaded Kuwait, using many of the weapons we had given him.
But the pity is that we are not any closer to defeating the terrorists today than we were after 9/11. Instead, we face greater peril because this war has helped Osama bin Laden and his fanatical followers recruit thousands more who are willing to strap bombs around themselves and blow up innocent people to push their causes.
What's more, this parading of a humiliated Saddam before the world's cameras to provide yet another image to use in next year's political campaign is being viewed with disdain by the Arab world, including impressionable young men who feel they need to kill to get even.
Let's all face up to it: Capturing Saddam Hussein, while significant, isn't a victory over terrorism.
Rather, it's one more battle won in a costly war that has served only to take our eye off the ball.
Somewhere, a few hundred miles away, the real terrorists are plotting their dirty work unmolested.
Sadly, our president and too many Americans are cheering instead of paying attention.
Copyright 2003 The Capital Times