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February 28, 2003

A Terrible and Overlooked Anniversary

A Terrible and Overlooked Anniversary

Today is an anniversary, which I have not seen mentioned elsewhere.

The anniversary of a shattering moment in which the United States misstepped so badly, we are paying for it this very day.

On February 27th, 1991, the order was sent out to halt all U.S. and allied forces in Iraq. The Iraqi army in shards. . . .the 'vaunted' Republican Guard fleeing like frightened children. . . .the most powerful army in the world 24 hours from Baghdad and an end to one of the most miserably cruel despots of our time - of any time.

24 hours from the 'Mother' of all victories. A 5-day war!

Instead, we stepped away from this victory and all that it would have meant. To the entire world.

If we had continued, I suggest that Iraq would today be a prosperous nation, with a thriving free market economy giving others a run for their money - literally - just as resulted from our occupation and restructuring of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan.

Other thugs would be much more hesitant to challenge the peace - I rather think this strange Kim Jung-IL would be quietly listening to his single radio station, instead of waving in the air history's most dangerous kinds of weapon, like an infantile bully raging at those who would dare ignore him. He would welcome being overlooked.

And I also opine that September 11th would not have happened, not with a U.S. standard in the center of the Middle East. From that standard, I suggest, would have flowed more power for freedom and good that can be imagined. The cowards would hesitate, the oppressed would come out into the sunlight. And the world would be a far better place.

Not perfect - for we are far from perfect - but a better place for all but the malevolent.

We were told that the reasons given for halting the advance were several - one of them is that to continue would "destabilize the region".

Well, we can all see that it certainly became a much more stable part of the world.

So now we must not hesitate. Or another moment is gone. Perhaps forever, this time. Who will believe us, in the future? Why should they? Uncle Sam with a big mouth and a paper hat.

And our allies? Ah, France and Germany don't want this venture, because they know how it would increase the influence of the United States, and cause a proportional decrease in theirs -- and their vanity. We can certainly understand why the princes and the dictators of the Middle East don't want us there. What gang wants a police station in their neighborhood?

There is a tremendous jealousy of this country - it is only natural. We can understand it, be mindful of it, and always, always try to never misuse this incredible power. But we cannot let this international petulance dissuade us from clear and crucial opportunities to make the world a better place. For there is no other country that can. Or will.

Those who scoff at this hubris? Let them look at the world in 1940 and then again in 1946. Let them look at Bosnia before and after, Panama, Grenada. Indeed, let them look at what used to be the USSR and the Warsaw Pact nations in 1990, and today.

Let them especially look at Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, the before and would-be after - the first would be a province of Iraq, the second an eviscerated vassal. The tortures, the maiming, the executions would be uncountable.

And why would the victorious Saddam have stopped there? Did Hitler stop with rearming the Rhineland? Or taking Austria? Or Czechoslovakia? Did Imperial Japan stop with Korea, Borneo, the East Indies, Burma, Indo-China?

We must do this thing, ladies and gentlemen - we must do it for the future of millions upon millions who will be free, who shouldn't have to fear that a son of Saddam will want to video tape their torture, or that a son-in-law will want his wife or children for sex, or that Saddam himself will settle a regional problem with poison gas or loathsome biology.

We must do this.

And, then, folks, we must turn to North Korea. . . .

--Joe McCain

Editor's Note: Joe McCain is the brother of Arizona Senator John McCain, and resides in Washington. I got the essay above from an e-mail he sent to the parents of his godson yesterday, whom the Sainted Wife and I have been friends with for years.

Needless to say, I agree with every word.

Posted by Bigwig at February 28, 2003 10:11 AM | TrackBack
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