September 16, 2005

Wrong War at the Wrong Time

Here's my letter on Iraq that was published by the Washington Post, in response to a recent op-ed piece:

Robert Kagan said that many people supported taking action against Saddam Hussein for years, but he ignored the critical problem behind President Bush's Iraq war: It was the wrong war at the wrong time.

After Sept. 11, 2001, when the president should have been devoting maximum resources to defeating the terrorist organization that attacked us, he instead used the specter of Sept. 11 to attack a country whose leader, while an evil tyrant, did not attack us on Sept. 11. Not only was this cynical and dishonest, it was and is dangerous.

The United States has devoted only a fraction of the troops and resources it has sent to Iraq to going after Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda in their likely nests in Afghanistan, the border areas of Pakistan and elsewhere. Osama bin Laden has not been caught; al Qaeda has not been defeated. Does any American feel safer?

We all agree that Saddam Hussein was evil and dangerous. As Mr. Kagan pointed out, many valid arguments were made for years that he should be removed from power, perhaps even by military force led by the United States. But the manner in which Mr. Bush used Sept. 11 to accomplish this item on his agenda, while leaving us vulnerable to those who led those terrorist attacks against us, is shameful. I hope that even those with short memories will not forget.


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