- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 6, 2001

Now that Round One of our war against terrorism Afghanistan is about 80 percent over, the generals should be positioning forces for Round Two.

There's scuttlebutt aplenty about which country is next: Somalia, Yemen, Lebanon, Syria, Libya, the Palestinian Authority or Iraq. Like the now-defeated Taliban's Afghanistan, the contenders are all training grounds for terrorists and major exporters of this particularly reprehensible form of warfare. Snake pits of hate that as our president has articulated so well must be defanged before we in the civilized world can even begin to contemplate getting back to our way of life.

Happy days might be here again a lot sooner if Saddam Hussein was moved to the top of the terrorist hit list. While our fight shouldn't be with the people of Iraq who have been tortured by this certified war criminal for the past 20 years the head of the most dangerous state among the meanest of company needs to be knocked off next.

When you get into a barroom fight, you take out the baddest dude first. Check out Saddam's track record: He used poison gas against Iran and his own people; he has huge stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction bugs and gas and maybe nukes; and insiders say his death factories are churning out more.

If that's not justification enough to punch out his lights, high-ranking Iraqi defectors say (and U.S. intelligence confirms) that his prints have been on all the terrorist strikes against the U.S.A. since Stormin' Norman stumped him, including running a terrorist training camp for members of Osama bin Laden's gang and other major players, complete with a mock-up of a 707 for some hands-on hijack simulation. A U.S. intelligence source told me it will soon be conclusively proven he was a key player in the assaults on our embassies, our overseas military personnel, World Trade Center I and II and some of the anthrax attacks that have been coming down since September 11.

Now George W. Bush has laid down the gauntlet to Saddam: U.N. arms inspectors must be allowed to return immediately to Iraq and continue the WMD (Weapons of Mass Destruction) inspections agreed to after Desert Storm. The Master of Miscalculation says there's no way this is going to happen.

But most European and Arab leaders are against our taking out Saddam. The Europeans are worried about their gas tanks, pocketbooks and pacifists, while the Arabs paint us as a bully picking on one of theirs as an excuse for their own political instability.

Well, let them come to New York City and visit our WTC national wound, where 4,000 civilians were having their first cup of coffee on the day they were fiendishly murdered. Let the politicians and peaceniks in Paris and Berlin sit on their hands and wag their diplomatic tongues as they did for years when ex-Yugoslavia was burning. Let them appease Saddam as they did Adolf Hitler while this century's mustached madman builds his nuclear, biological and chemical weapons arsenal, financed with the smuggled oil that runs their cars and factories.

We didn't take out the Soviets because of MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction), and we were lucky that the Evil Empire imploded before one of theirs or ours pressed the button in an insane moment and turned planet Earth into a radiated ash pit. We cannot allow Saddam to have such power.

Employing the operational methods we used in Afghanistan Air, Special Ops and limited conventional forces, but with an infinitely bigger sledgehammer and the help of old and new foxhole pals along with the Iraqi exiles and Kurdish militias, we should clean his clock with similar dispatch. Then, as with Afghanistan, the people of Iraq will finally be free to rise up and reclaim their country.

Clearly Saddam represents our most clear and present danger. You either stop terrorism or it will stop you. We must put Saddam and all other terrorists down or suffer the fate of Israel, a terrorist punching bag for 53 years.

Taking out the Taliban and then Saddam's evil regime should cause other states to reconsider if they really want to bear the consequences of being in the terror business when Uncle Sam is on a roll.

David Hackworth, a retired colonel in the U.S. Army, is an author and a nationally syndicated columnist.

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