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Reader comment on item: What If the United States Had Not Invaded Iraq

Submitted by Pat (United States), Sep 11, 2005 at 19:45

Would the sanctions against a Saddam-ruled Iraq have been lifted by now?
Absent the September 11th attacks, my answer would be yes.
Those who condemn the war and say we had him "in a box" ignore the costs of that structure. We had tens of thousands of troops in Saudi Arabia patrolling no-fly zones. Those troops were a lightning rod for all who hated America and the Western presence in Arabia.

Saddam was not so weakened that he was unable to support terrorism against Israel. He was not incapable of doing business in defiance of sanctions and now, thanks to the war in Iraq and the subsequent Volcker investigation, we know the UN turned a blind eye to his deeds, making a mockery of the US effort.

Removing Saddam was a messy job, but it was necessary. It should have been done in 1991, but it wasn't, for what seemed at the time to be valid reasons. A showdown was inevitable and we were better off doing it while Saddam was in his box, rather than wait until sanctions were lifted and he had rebuilt his entire military infrastructure. It was a case of pay now or pay later. We got a bargain by paying now.

Ironically, it might never have happened but for September 11th. Saddam may have had no role in its planning, but the outcome was a realization on the part of some Americans that he could no longer be ignored. A future alliance between Saddam and anti-western terrorists was a risk we just couldn't take. It's a perfect example (to our adversaries) of the law of unintended consequences. They wanted to get the US out of the Middle East and instead we are committed even further.
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