The Minneapolis Star Tribune, with exquisitely bad timing, chose today to editorialize that Howard Dean was right: capturing Saddam did nothing to make the U.S. safer, because “the war on terrorism has nothing to do with Iraq.”
That breathtaking assertion ignores Saddam’s payments to Hamas and the al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, Ansar al Islam, Abu Abbas, Abu Nidal, the known contacts between Saddam and al Qaeda over the years, Saddam’s attempt to assassinate the first President Bush, and whatever other facts have yet to come to light. Most fundamentally, it ignores the undeniable risk that Saddam, a fanatical enemy of the United States and the west, could at any time have manufactured biotoxins and given them to Ansar al Islam, al-Zarqawi, other al Qaeda figures or unrelated terrorist groups, for use in an attack on Americans. Rational people can debate the magnitude of that risk; but to assert that removing an anti-American despot with a penchant for weird weapons and multiple connections to terrorist organizations has nothing to do with the war on terror is ridiculous.
And, of course, the Strib, like Howard Dean, fails to take into account the salutary deterrent effect of not only deposing a luxury-loving tyrant, but checking him for lice on television. I doubt that very many Americans are either so obtuse or so blinded by ideology that they will fail to recognize that Saddam’s capture is a good thing for the safety of all Americans.
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