Oct. 13, 2004 #01Political Satire/Commentary where satire is always commentary but commentary isn't always satire 
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Third Bush-Kerry Debate:  It's not "the economy, stupid"; It's "the vision, stupid"-- The non-existence of a "Goldilocks" luxury of being "just right" re Saddam left choice between "too soon" or "too late."

            In the current fever of anti-war arguments predicated on the now apparent absence of WMD stockpiles, many people forget that before the war many anti-war activists posited the presumed presence of WMD stockpiles as an argument against our taking military action to topple Saddam Hussein.  The gist of their argument was that Saddam Hussein's presumed possession of, and previously demonstrated willingness to use, weapons of mass destruction made it too dangerous to try to topple him.  Those critics, of whom Sen. Carl Levin was an example, argued that "containment" was the only sensible way for dealing with a fanatic like Saddam Hussein possessing stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons and eagerly seeking ways to develop nuclear weapons.  (I remember Levin, and others, making these very arguments on more than one occasion on Meet the Press and in similar forums when the country was debating the wisdom of Bush's strategy before commencement of Operation Iraqi Freedom.)  

            Their argument was, in essence, that it was already "too late" for military action to be a viable solution to the threat posed by Saddam.  Stressing the success of the West in "containing" the vastly larger threat posed by the Soviet Union for 70 years, they vigorously argued that events had deprived us of the luxury of preventing Saddam from reacquiring such capabilities and had thereby left us "containment" as the only viable option.  (For a then-contemporaneous explanation what was wrong with their "containment" theory, go here.)  They predicted that toppling Saddam would lead to the deaths of "hundreds of thousands of Iraqis" and tens of thousands of American Troops.  They predicted that Saddam would destroy the oil wells.  They predicted the collapse of neighboring governments.  They predicted a massive refugee problem.  


Goldilocks, Kerry & Bush.

For Kerry, the "test" to "invade"
would count on a "Goldilocks" fate
to wait for a fight
'til timing's "just right"
to not be "too soon" or "too late."

For Dubya, the "test" to "invade"
did not trust a "Goldilocks" fate
'cause hist'ry has shown
"just right" can't be known--
it's better "too soon" than "too late."

            These same people today complain that after toppling Saddam, we've discovered that he had not preserved, or re-created, the capabilities everyone presumed he still retained even though their pre-war opposition to the use of force rested upon the implicit argument that using force to topple him would not be unwise if we were to have had ample reason to believe that he had not retained (or re-created) such capabilities.  Go figure.  

            The most prescient statement on the subject was by Rumsfeld in the Spring of 2002 before a Senate Committee.  After reciting instances in which other countries (for example, China, India, Pakistan) developed nuclear weapons long before the time within which our intelligence services believed they would have such capabilities, he explained that we cannot safely assume that we will have the luxury of being able to know precisely the last moment at which we could safely act to preempt a danger such as the acquisition of such a weapon by Saddam Hussein.  He elaborated that the absence of such luxury left us with only two choices-- To act too late or too soon, and he sensibly expressed a preference for the latter -- especially with respect to a sociopathic megalomaniac such as Saddam Hussein with a long track record of using chemical weapons, maintaining an interest in developing more dangerous weapons, and furnishing funds and supplies to terrorists (not to mention authorizing an attempted assassination of former President Bush).

            Thus, like those of us who supported Operation Iraqi Freedom on the assumption that Hussein probably still retained WMD stockpiles and was actively pursuing nuclear weapons in the near term, those opponents ought to be congratulating rather than condemning Bush for having succeeded in acting "too soon" rather than "too late" in toppling Saddam Hussein.  If Kerry were to have been President and were to have done what he now says he would have done, Blixeau would have reported that no WMD stockpiles could be found, the sanctions (already on the verge of being rendered meaningless by what we now know about how Saddam used the Oil for Food program to corrupt U.N. officials and Kerry's favorite "allies") would have become meaningless, our continued enforcement of the "no-fly" zones would have become politically unsustainable for a President Kerry trying to placate our "allies" in the U.N., and the rationale for our continued large-scale military presence (250,000 troops) in the Gulf for the purpose of "coercing" Saddam to submit to inspections would have evaporated.  

            In short, by now, Saddam Hussein would have already reconstituted chemical and biological stockpiles, would be well on his way toward reconstituting his nuclear program (with help from Libya), and our entire strategy of trying to prevent him from succumbing to the temptation to covertly furnish such weapons to our terrorist enemies would rest entirely upon taking a leap of faith that this madman would somehow decline such opportunities to use surrogates to inflict catastrophic injuries on us.  Like Rumsfeld and Bush, I prefer too soon over too late.

--Jim Wrenn, Editor at PoliSat.Com.

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