In Plain Sight
but seemingly invisible to all, has happened in our understanding of Iraq. It has been a staple of the opposition to the war to argue that there was no connection between the secular Ba'athist regime of Saddam Hussein and the religious jihadis of Al Qaeda who perpetrated 9-11. The death of Al-Zarqawi proves otherwise. He is described as "a prince of Al Qaeda" and a lieutenant of bin Laden. No one seems to dispute that he was the leader of those fighting against the US and the Iraqi government.
No responsible person questions the legitimacy of the American campaign to destroy Al Qaeda. Al Qaeda either directly or indirectly have been responsible for 9-11, for the bombings of the Madrid subway, of the London tube, of the Bali nightclub, of the USS Cole, and for many other atrocities, entailing literally thousands of murders. The overthrow of their Taliban hosts in Afghanistan has not been questioned.
The argument that there was no connection or complicity between Al Qaeda and the Ba'ath regimes was not based on intelligence, only on assumptions. It is as though one were to insist that secular republican Italy could not have common purposes with the religious monarchical Vatican. Now we see, among the few facts that can ever reach the light of day in a war of covert organizations, that Al Qaeda leads the coalition of the remnants of the Ba'ath and the Sunni sectarians.
There is a significant silence on this subject coming from the opponents of the war. Perhaps because, without it, their argument that the war is unjustified crumbles.
The question becomes, "What should a president - any president - do whose country has been attacked at home? Should he wait for a second and a third and a fourth blow? Or should he use the armed forces to destroy the attackers before they can strike again?"
The recent arrests in Canada make clear that these are not idle questions.