From NATIONAL POST: “Iraq’s Poisoned Babies have made me a hawk”
When I came to autonomous northern Iraq – which since 1991 has been protected from Saddam’s reach by British and U.S. warplanes — I was intensely skeptical of the wisdom of Washington’s insistence on deposing Saddam. Its claims of links between al-Qaeda and Baghdad seemed tenuous. As for the assertion that Saddam will soon have the bomb, well, the evidence was pretty flimsy. Indeed, I could have reeled off a host of counter-arguments. At a time when the Western world is entering a long, drawn-out struggle against Islamist terrorism, it made little sense to fritter away resources to oust a man whose regime was weaker than ever. A war also risked alienating hundreds of millions of moderate Muslims whose support would be essential if the threat of Islamist extremism was to be neutered… But nothing could have prepared me for the odious evil of Saddam Hussein’s rule…Thousands of Iraqis are still being executed without trial, and tens of thousands routinely tortured. Millions live in a state of numb fear… One doctor who works in the town told me: “A woman came to see me two months ago. She had given birth to a little girl who had no feet.” Who could argue with taking action against the regime responsible for such outrages? Assos Hardi, the editor of the liberal newspaper Hawalati in Sulaimania, was more mathematical in his appraisal. He said: “How many people do you think will die if America attacks Saddam? It will probably be less than the number of people he kills in a single month.” As the drums of war beat ever louder, I am still unsure of the strategic wisdom of opening a second front in the war against terror. But of the moral rectitude of such a course, there can be no doubt.