Friday, July 16, 2004

US, World Clearly Are Safer


By Condoleezza Rice

Lord Butler's panel released a report this week on the accuracy of Britain's intelligence prior to the Iraq war. It is the latest addition to a list of investigations, including those by former U.S. weapons inspector David Kay and the Senate Intelligence Committee.

None disputes that Saddam Hussein had contacts with and ties to terrorists. None disputes that he possessed weapons of mass destruction (WMD), used them against innocents, desired to resume their production and had capabilities that would have let him do so over time. None disputes his 12-year history of deceit, obstruction of United Nations weapons inspections or material breach of multiple U.N. Security Council resolutions. And no one disputes his failure to prove he had destroyed his WMD stockpiles as required by U.N. Resolution 1441.

In choosing a course of action in Iraq, President Bush had to consider these facts and answer simple questions: Could the international community continue to accept Saddam's 12-year defiance of its will, or would the world be safer if the word of the United Nations were seen to count and have consequences? Could the U.S., in the post-9/11 world, continue to hope for the best from Saddam, or would America be safer with his removal? The president and an international coalition concluded that Saddam had to go, and events since his removal have proved this judgment right. Iraq is no longer supporting terrorists, threatening the region or pursuing WMD.

Our efforts in Iraq have been critical to success in the global war on terror. Afghanistan today is an emerging democracy, no longer providing sanctuary to al-Qaeda. Libya's Moammar Gadhafi has surrendered his nuclear-weapons program. Pakistani scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan's secret nuclear-proliferation network, which sold technology and know-how to some of the world's most dangerous regimes, has been exposed. And the governments of Saudi Arabia and Pakistan are U.S. allies in the fight to root out terrorism. All of these developments have made America and the world safer places.

As democracy gains in Iraq and Afghanistan, we are reminded that no democratic nation in the world threatens America. Saddam's removal has advanced peace and democracy throughout the broader Middle East. America and the world are clearly safer with this tyrant in the jail cell he has earned.

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