“What If…”

Here, from the Times of London’s Gerard Baker, a “what if” scenario to commemorate the third anniversary of the Iraq War:

In March 2003 Hans Blix and Mohamed ElBaradei, of the UN, secured a remarkable, last-minute deal that averted war and seemed to guarantee the disarmament of Iraq. “Saddam Hussein has finally consented to eliminate all his weapons of mass destruction,” they said, in a signing ceremony with the Iraqi leader.

Saddam, flanked by his two sons, Uday and Qusay, accepted the plaudits of the UN with pomp and grace. Beaming as he smiled at a hastily assembled crowd of French, German and Russian children, he said he had saved the world from the bloodlust of George Bush and Tony Blair with a magnanimous gesture of international friendship. There were approving murmurs of support in many Western capitals. In Oslo there was talk of a Nobel Peace prize.

The last sentence I quoted gives away Baker’s bias. Read the whole thing to see how it plays out. Baker believes that, as catastrophic as the war has proven to be, a far worse outcome has been averted, at least for now. I tend to agree. If you’re like most of my friends and family, most of you strongly disagree. But Baker’s looking at the war the way we all should, as a fork in the road leading to two very different futures. If the players three years ago had chosen a different course, where would the Islamist war stand? What would be happening in Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia? Have we averted a more dangerous future, or created one?

If you want to answer this question, all I ask is: Be thoughtful, and be specific. Use your imagination. Follow the falling dominoes. Where do they lead?

One thought on ““What If…”

  1. First I question your framing. Iraq had less to do with exporting fundamentalists terrorism then at least a handfull of other states. Let’s put it this way, Bush invaded a country of Muslims rather then tackling the problem of small groups of non-state terrorists scattered around the world. Bush said this was a different kind of war, yet has acted like its a WWII era nation-state conflict. Imagine Bush is your doctor, you have a tumor. Rather then the delicate removal of the tumor, Bush decides it would be easier to kill you then explaining that course of treatment might be bad, but it will kill the cancer. Only in this case the cancer has spread. Most Muslim’s regardless of any dislike toward the west are reluctant to live home, family, and job to kill or risk being killed.
    Then their were other factors having to do specically with Iraq and its religious and cultural history. Do some reading about the British and Iraq circa 1921. The only thing that has united some Iraqi factions is the desire to kill anyone on their territory regardless of how many of them have to die to do it. That is nationalism, not islamo fascism. The fundamentalists are just fanning the flames.
    Bush’s invasion has also pushed Iran toward the arms of the extremists.
    Then, does it matter if politicians lie, distort, tell half truths to get us into war. To me that quetion goes to the heart of our survival as a democracy. Johnson and Nixon set the bar pretty low, Bush has set a new presedent for exploiting fear and ultra nationalism.
    I’m jumping around here, but also consider this. The rate of terrorism under Bush has increased ten fold, worse then the last three presidents combined, is that really because violence has suddenly become more attractive to Muslims in the middle-east or because Bush has pushed some of them into the open arms of terrorists recruiters. I’m just not buying into the whole huge islamo fascist movement. There are about a billion Muslims in the world, it is the world’s largest religion, if this Isalamo-f stuff was really serious we’d see a world on fire. The recent cartoon riots and Iraq would be child’s play by comparison. Its become heresy to say so, but its all more of an international policing problem that should be mostly pursued by the CIA and special forces ( and similar organizations from other countries) then a conventional battlefield approach. Lets remove the cancer, not kill the patient, not encourage violence by over reacting. One of your other posts said these guys were in over their heads, which they are, but its their policies that are screwy, not just the execution. They’ll never get it right, there world view just will not permit them ask the right questions, much less answer them. Lots of other thoughts, but have to feed the dog.

    Please don’t read powerline or kaus, they been known to kill brain cells after prolonged exposure.

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