Saturday, December 17, 2011

What Iraq changed

Editorial - December 16th, 2011 - New York Post

The flags came down in Baghdad yesterday as President Obama declared an end to an eight-year campaign in Iraq that removed a genocidal tyrant from power, defined new modes of battle — and shaped a generation of American warriors.

It also set into motion a chain of events that could transform the Middle East.

More than 1 million Americans served under arms in Iraq, facing battle conditions that challenged, tested and ennobled them.

The cost was heavy: Some 4,500 died there; more than 32,000 were injured.

The Iraq War was controversial from its inception, and — as always — history will deliver the final verdict as to its efficacy.

What is bizarre to me is that one of the most important consequences of this war is totally ignored in this article. Lybia and it's dictator Muammar Quaddafi decided to surrender its nuclear program to America. Though it was surprising, it is not unreasonable that Quaddafi would lose his nerve. He had barely survived death during the earlier attacks by President Ronald Reagan. Quaddafi was clearly influenced by the reality that American Presidents have a lot of military power at their disposal. With President Bush successfully invading Saddam Hussein's Iraq, how likely was it that he would not at some point discover the huge number of Iraqi scientists and engineers who were working on the Lybian nuclear program?

I still remember the articles about the surprises when we took over the program. Our "experts" could not believe how close Quaddafi was to success. We could not believe how many Iraqi and Syrian personnel were involved. If they had built their bomb, it would have meant that three rogue nations, Lybia, Iraq and Syria would all have attained nuclear bomb capability at the same time.

This was ended by our invasion of Iraq. No matter what others say, this delay in some of the worst of the tyrants in the Middle East getting nuclear bombs was the single best result of the war in Iraq. They may get them some day but we are far better off that they do not have them right now.


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