The Consequences Of Inaction In Iraq

by John Hawkins | October 3, 2002 12:09 pm

The Consequences Of Inaction In Iraq: The consequences of removing Saddam Hussein by force have been discussed ad nauseam over the last few months. However, the consequences of inaction have not been as fully explored and that needs to be remedied.

If you are not in favor of removing Saddam Hussein via force, then you are by default in favor of or at least willing to risk that…

— Saddam will acquire nukes. At this point, you’ve got to admit that it’s just a matter of time unless he’s stopped.

— You are willing to risk that a nuclear blackmail scenario like the one described here by Eugene Volokh[1]. You may think it’s farfetched and irrational but I do not. In fact, were I in Saddam’s shoes I’d consider Volokh’s plan it to be worth the risk.

— That al-Queda & other terrorist groups will be given a safe haven in Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, & Syria. If we’re not willing to hit Iraq, we’re certainly not going to hit these other nations. That means terrorism will be allowed to flourish in those nations just as it did in Afghanistan pre-911.

— It will be impossible to finish off al-Queda since we’ll have made it clear that we’re not willing to go after them no matter where they go.

— The chances of a terrorist attack in the US involving nukes will go up dramatically since Saddam knows that even if a nuke goes off in an American city it will be very difficult to PROVE that he was somehow responsible if he’s careful about covering his tracks. Saddam might be very willing to go along with a scenario where al-Queda sets off a nuke in a US city and then publicly took credit for it and claimed that they received the nuke from Pakistan or off the Russian black market to deflect attention from Hussein.

— Saddam Hussein will continue to rule Iraq. That means he will in all likelihood deliberately starve tens of thousands, and perhaps hundreds of thousands of his people to death and blame the sanctions (even assuming that they’ll be lifted in a couple of years). Countless numbers of people will be tortured, raped, and murdered by his regime and all the Iraqi people will continue to be oppressed.
The people against a war with Iraq consider this preferable to removing Saddam.

— Terrorists across the world would begin to believe (correctly I might add) that if America doesn’t invade Iraq, we don’t have the will to continue to fight terrorism. That belief would inspire more terrorist attacks on America and American interests in an attempt to force us to meet the terrorists demands.

— Once it’s clear that we’re not willing to continue to use force, we’ll likely see backsliding from other regimes that have been cooperating with us at least partially out of fear since 9/11. Nations like Yemen, Somalia, Libya, Pakistan, and Sudan could suddenly become much less willing to cooperate.

— Rogue regimes like Iraq, Iran, Syria, Lebanon, and the ‘Disputed territories’ will continue to arm, train, and protect terrorist organizations just as the Taliban did in Afghanistan. This will make these organizations much more effective than they would otherwise be and will make it easier for them to carry out large scale operations like 9/11.

— UN resolutions will be totally meaningless. They are already meaningless if the US and Britain don’t support them, but giving Saddam a free pass will mean that any nation can ignore the UN with impunity in all situations.

The anti-war activists who want to simply stick their heads in the sand and pretend that we can go back to 9/10/2001 if we don’t attack Iraq are drastically misreading the situation. Saddam Hussein and the rest of the global terrorist network are not going to go away and refusing to deal with them is potentially MUCH more dangerous than dealing with.

  1. Eugene Volokh:

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