What lies before us?

Butch Mazzuca

In the months since 9/11, our government has taken both offensive and defensive measures to eliminate or reduce this threat.

Whether the Bush administration has balanced our right to information vis-à-vis the inherent risks in disclosing too much of its strategy is unknown.

However, it is clear that the next overt action in this war is to effect a regime change in Iraq. I believe the reasoning for this action is as follows.

Almost a quarter of he world’s population practices Islam, a faith that galvanizes its followers like no other religion the world has seen. Every nation on earth has either a significant Muslim population or important economic interests with a Muslim nation. Consequently, governments acting in their own best interests do not want a war that may be perceived as a war against Islam because such a war could cause civil unrest and economic disturbances within their own borders.

For example, France has a significant Muslim population, as well as having billions of dollars invested in Iraqi oil deals. If the U.S. topples Saddam, France may experience both internal strife and economic disruption.

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Like France, Germany, Russia, China and the other major nations of the world have separate but similar reasons for opposing a war in the Middle East. Each is predicated upon what they perceive as being in their best interests.

It is also likely that much of the world fears that a quick and decisive U.S. victory in Iraq will assuredly signal greater American influence in the region, a situation that some nations may not perceive as being in their best interests, either.

With the above in mind, I believe it’s imprudent and even reckless to allow nations that are looking out for their own interests to overly influence us when we should be looking out for ours.

The argument that Saddam’s weapons don’t threaten us directly is valid. Saddam has been effectively contained since the spanking he received during the Gulf War in 1991.

It’s reasonable to say that he has been deterred from overt aggression toward his neighbors, but that’s not the most pressing issue facing Americans.

The real issue and the real threat to Americans are the thousands upon thousands of angry young Muslim men that hate us more than they love life. America came face to face with 19 of these miscreants on 9/11/01. We will encounter them again.

According to a recent NY Times article, “The U.N.’s Human Development Report, the Arab countries have fallen so far behind the rest of the world that their combined GDP is less than that of Spain.”

The reasons are apparent. Arab nations have failed to build infrastructures, provide jobs, educate the masses and empower women. Because they lack a free press there is nothing to make these governments accountable to their citizens.

Exacerbating the situation is that the region is experiencing a population explosion. The Middle East is a veritable witch’s cauldron spewing out angry and uneducated young men who have been told by their government controlled media that the cause of their ills is the United States and the West.

What the burgeoning populations of the Arab world desperately need is a regional progressive model of government. A free and democratizing regime in Iraq will provide that model. An open and free Iraq will have an enormously positive impact upon the Arab world. This is not only necessary but also critical because as liberal political columnist Tom Friedman recently stated, “In a world of globalization, if we don’t visit a bad neighborhood, it will visit us.”

The outcome of war is certain: Saddam will be ousted. But the cost in terms of loss of life, destabilized economies and internal unrest are not clear. Will Saddam launch Scud missiles armed with biological warheads at Tel Aviv and Kuwait City? Will he use chemical weaponry on our soldiers? Will the U.S. homeland be a target of retaliation? Will the various factions within Iraq meld together afterward?

No one knows these answers because the consequences of war are always uncertain.

I believe that the ultimate goal of invasion is to remove Saddam and lay the foundation for a progressive government in Iraq to serve as a model for the rest of the region. In doing so, we will eliminate a major potential resource for terrorists.

At the dawn of the 21st century, the Middle East is a snake pit of malcontents that under the current regimes will only worsen.

No Western nation is capable of eliminating these vipers’ nests, but the people of the Middle East have that capability if they are given the opportunity along with the assistance from the West. Underpinning this strategy is the fact that no nation experiencing a democratic system of government has ever reverted to totalitarianism by consensus of its people, and that’s why we need U.N. support.

Winning the war on terror means eliminating the root causes of Middle Eastern discontent, which is the social suffocation of its citizens. The leaders of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Syria, et al, have proven they are willing participants in the social and political strangulation of a region whose malcontents will continue their despicable attacks against the United States if left unchecked.

Therein lies the moral and strategic justification for this war.

Butch Mazucca of Singletree writes a weekly column for the Daily. He can be reached at

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