Q&A Friday #37: Would You Trade A Democratic Iraq For Secure Borders And Ports In America?

Question: “My question for John:

Would you trade a democratic Iraq for secure borders and ports in America? Assume for the sake of this question that you couldn’t have both.” — President_Friedman

Answer: A democratic Iraq would be more important to our security.

Let me tell you why.

The United States is a vast, open country with an almost unlimited number of high value targets to terrorists that have minimal security. Even with borders and ports as secure as humankind can make them, terrorists, in numbers, can still get into the US and a relatively small number of them can do enormous harm to this country. A hundred well-trained terrorists in the United States, broken down into four man groups determined to cause as much mayhem as possible, could easily kill tens of thousands of Americans and cause trillions (and yes, I meant to say trillions) of dollars worth of damage.

What it all comes down to is that defense alone will NEVER work. If you don’t believe that, look at Israel where they take precautions and security measures far beyond anything in the US and are still hit with terrorist attacks.

That’s why the best defense is a good offense. In order to succeed we’ve got to go after the terrorists where THEY LIVE and infiltrate, imprison, and most importantly, kill them, before they ever get to our shores.

So, teaming up with the Iraqis to fight and kill terrorists in Iraq is infinitely better than turtling up here and trying to stop them from getting into the soft underbelly of this country. Iraq has proven to be flypaper for terrorists, an irresistible target that has drawn them into a place where they will have been killed by Coalition and Iraqi soldiers. That will likely continue even after Americans are no longer on the street policing the country. A Democratic Iraq will continue to be an enemy of terrorism, if only because they’re interested in self-preservation, lest they be viewed as having been defeated. It’s a battle the terrorists won’t be able to win.

Furthermore, Iraq’s democracy will serve as a model for the rest of the Middle-East and, as time passes, democratic reforms will help leech the anger and extremism out of the region. It won’t happen overnight, but it will happen and it will work to our advantage.

PS: We are going to win in Iraq and at this point, we are progressing much faster than most people realize. There’s no way to predict exactly what will happen, but in 12-15 months, I wouldn’t be surprised if 75% of our troops have come back home as a result of the Iraqis becoming capable enough to handle their jobs.

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