... should the United States take President Bush's words literally and continue the war on terror until terrorism was entirely uprooted from Middle Eastern and Muslim politics? If the United States overthrew Saddam Hussein next, it could create a reliable American ally in the potential superpower of the Arab world. With American troops so close, the Iranian people would be emboldened to rise against the mullahs. And as Iran and Iraq built moderate, representative, pro-Western regimes, the pressure on the Saudis and the other Arab states to liberalize and modernize would intensify. It was quite a gamble--but also quite a prize.
Iraq presents another issue. To many, it is distinct from the 'war' that Bush announced in that Frum speech.
According to Bush, it apparently was to remove Saddam in order to ensure there were no WMDs.
The question is whether stability and a functioning democracy was ever a war aim, or if it is an assumed duty.
it could be a success as it removed a sponsor/harborer of organized terrorism
it would be a loss if it was said that this would all be done in 6 months or for X amount of dollars... conditions which were never placed on the conflict
If the record of the past four years is one of failure to stem the growth of the jihadist threat, then the question is: What would a successful strategy look like?
We need to start with first principles. A comprehensive counterterrorism strategy must be centered on four goals:
First, stop terrorists from committing acts of violence by capturing them, disrupting their cells, or, if necessary, killing them.
Second, keep the most dangerous weapons out of their hands.
Third, recognizing that there is no way to prevent all attacks, protect those facilities in the United States that, if struck, would cause catastrophic damage.
Fourth, halt the creation of new terrorists by dealing, to the extent possible, with those grievances that are driving radicalization.
In each of these areas, the United States can do better--in the last, we could hardly do worse.
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