If you enjoy arguing with Democrats about the validity of the Iraq War (do you also like to dart in front of a bull wearing long, red, flannel underwear?), you will discover that every such discussion always ends the same way: because we didn’t find pyramids of carefully labeled nuclear missiles from the Acme WMD Warehouse, the whole war was a “complete fraud”… we had “no reason at all” for going into Iraq; consequently, the exercise was utterly “futile” and a “miserable failure.”
(And how did that bull get into red, flannel underwear in the first place?)
It does little good to point out what nobody now denies: that Hussein had many ongoing programs to develop such chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons; they just weren’t as advanced as we were afraid they were. Given how little intelligence we had about that secretive country, the choice was to trust in Saddam Hussein’s restraint and good judgment, or trust in the United States military. “You should have just waited a few more months,” the lib invariably intones; “maybe a year. Then we would have known for sure.”
In other words, they wanted us to wait until two minutes to midnight. Then we could have moved… unless it turned out our watch was slow.
But now we know that it was not just on WMD that the clock was ticking. As Claudia Rosett, George Russell, and others pointed out, the oil-for-fraud program was already starting to produce the nightmare scenario of terrorist groups with their own revenue streams, independent of individual donors and fundraisers. Articles written for Fox News and National Review Online revealed that at least one company linked to al-Qaeda was already involved in kickback schemes to make millions in profits from the U.N. program — money that would be directly available to fund al-Qaeda operations, now that Osama bin Laden’s personal fortune is long since spent. And it was not just al-Qaeda; several other terrorist organizations also wound up with oil leases, right under the noses of Benon Sevan, Executive Director of the Iraq Programme (Oil for Food), Secretary-General Kofi Annan, and his spawn-of-the-devil Kojo (or is that Cujo?)
Had we waited just a few more months — waited until two minutes before midnight — even more high officials in Security-Council governments would have been corrupted; it’s entirely possible that, in the end, even Britain would have bowed to international pressure and pulled out of the Operation Iraqi Freedom. Would we still have gone to war, then? I don’t think anyone can really say for sure.
So the Left is actually right, for a change: we miserably failed to wait until two minutes to midnight to strike against the tyrant. We struck at twenty till, instead. Maybe even twenty and a half minutes before the witching hour.
Which would make it the second time in history that an 18½ minute gap saved the presidency… and this time, possibly the entire Global War on Terrorism as well.