Murdoc in the Grand Rapids Press

Rice is right on Iraq

My letter to the editor of my local newspaper (remember those?) was printed this morning.

A March 22 letter (“Rice is wrong, plays politics,” Pulse) claimed that Condoleezza Rice was wrong when she said Iraq was “the most dangerous regime in the most dangerous region.” I believe she said exactly what she meant.

Part of Iraq’s threat to the world is its location. A beautiful 10-bedroom mansion isn’t the beat-all if it’s sitting in the middle of a cornfield in Nebraska. A modest four-bedroom rancher is worth millions if it’s sitting in downtown Chicago or overlooking the ocean. Iraq isn’t in some rural backwater. It’s a hornets’ nest in the middle of many hornets’ nests. Location is everything.

By working to stabilize and install a democracy in the heart of the Middle East, the Bush administration is directly attacking the root causes of international terrorism: poverty and oppressive, medieval governments that breed fear and hatred.

Critics are right when they say we can never kill all the terrorists. What we need to do is make the terrorists believe that there’s a better way to live life. With a decent life and hope for the future, suicide-bombing or fighting U.S. Marines doesn’t seem like such a good alternative. In the meantime, of course, we need to continue to kill terrorists, but Iraq is part of the bigger picture and al Qaida is only a symptom.

If North Korea were in the Middle East and Iraq were on a peninsula on the Pacific edge of Asia, we would have troops in North Korea today, not Iraq. Iraq was a threat to stability in the Middle East (and therefore the world), and its flaunting of the 1991 cease-fire agreements and U.N. resolutions made it a legitimate target.

Rice made it clear that Iraq’s location, geographically and politically, made it more of a threat than North Korea. I think history will prove her correct.

Wyoming[, MI]

The letter that I was responding to stated that North Korea presents a far greater threat to the US than Iraq because the former may possess nuclear weapons and the missiles to hit the continental US with them. I must point out that capability doesn’t equal threat. If it did, Russia, Ukraine, Great Britain, France, and others would all be on our list, as well.

Also, everyone seems to accept as fact that DPRK has nukes today. I personally agree that they probably do. But when I’ve pointed out that we don’t really KNOW that they’ve got them, I get pooh-poohed as naive. Of course they’ve got them, I’m told. It’s obvious.

It also seemed obvious (no matter what Hans Blix and others tell us today) that Iraq had WMDs in March of 2003. I’m just pointing out that there are known unknowns.

What if we invade, for one reason or another, North Korea? And it turns out that they don’t actually have nukes and their program isn’t nearly as far along as we think or they claim? Would the same people who today deride Bush for invading Iraq (which obviously doesn’t have WMDs) and not invading the DPRK (which obviously does) ridicule Bush for invading on false pretenses? I imagine we all know the answer to that question.