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3/17/03 - IRAQIS LOOK FOR LIBERATORS - 2003-03-18

The late British leader Winston Churchill said the Second World War should be called “the Unnecessary War” -- because “there never was a war more easy to stop.” What Churchill meant by this was explained by U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz. For years, Mr. Wolfowitz pointed out, “the world had allowed the [German] Nazis to build a war machine -- in direct violation of international agreements. For years, nothing was done -- despite the warnings of Churchill and others, and in spite of the fact that courageous leaders could easily have put a stop to the threat that was building.”

By the time Western leaders realized the danger posed by German dictator Adolf Hitler, it was too late. He had built a huge military machine. Western leaders then tried to appease Hitler -- and the result was a terrible world war.

Today, the world faces a similar situation in dealing with Iraq. But the danger is not that Iraq will build a very strong army. The danger is that Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein will acquire a powerful arsenal of chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons that he could unleash on his neighbors or provide to terrorists.

For a dozen years, Saddam Hussein has ignored United Nations demands to eliminate Iraq’s programs for weapons of mass destruction. Yet, said Mr. Wolfowitz, “we hear calls to give Saddam Hussein more time. But we should ask: how long should we wait? And for what?”

“Should we wait,” asked Mr. Wolfowitz, “until the front-line members of our coalition are feeling the strain of standing up to Iraq? Until the people inside Iraq who are ready to help us have given up hope? Or until Saddam Hussein finishes preparing weapons of mass terror -- weapons that will further endanger our troops, or which he can use on the Iraqi people as he has in the past?”

“America and our allies,” said President George W. Bush, “are called upon to defend the peace against an aggressive tyrant, and we accept this responsibility. We don’t believe freedom and liberty are America’s gift to the world; we believe they are the Almighty’s gift to mankind. And for the oppressed people of Iraq. . .the day of freedom is drawing near.”