- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 9, 2001

Recent statements by British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his French counterpart, Jacques Chirac, adopted the theme being played over and over in much of the press. For America to attack Iraq without proof of its complicity in the September 11 attacks, so the line goes, would be unjust and surely fracture the weak ties the West now has with countries like Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan. As wrong as that reasoning is, its quick adoption by otherwise staunch allies like Mr. Blair shows how hard it will be for President Bush to move the war on terrorism beyond Afghanistan.
Iraq is our enemy and a sponsor of terrorism. As for its complicity in the September 11 attacks, there are apparently reliable reports that Mohammed Atta, the reputed ringleader of the September 11 hijackings, met in Prague, Czechoslovakia, with Iraqi intelligence agents while planning the attacks. Other reports surely known to be true or false to the CIA said that Saddam Hussein ordered some of his biological and chemical warfare assets moved to hidden locations just before September 11. In short, while nothing is proved, much is indicated. But as National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice said, we don't need September 11 to know that Saddam's regime cannot be left standing at the end of the war against terrorism.
Ambassador Richard Butler's book, "The Greatest Threat," shows how Iraq's decades-long attempts to build nuclear, biological and chemical weapons of mass destruction were relatively undisturbed by years of U.N. inspections. Saddam's dreams of ruling a pan-Arab nation spanning the Middle East drives him to build these weapons and to use them. As the president said, Saddam is the only world ruler who has used poison gas against his own people. If we are going to pursue terrorism to end its threat to America, overthrowing Saddam's regime becomes a matter of when, not if.
We are at war with terrorism, not just al Qaeda terrorists. Nations like Saudi Arabia, who have ignored their obligations to aid the fight, will not be pushed into the terrorist camp by an attack on Iraq. The pressures that drive them away from us come from radical elements among their own populations as well as Iraq and the other terrorist nations. The defeat of each terrorist nation reduces the pressure on those who we look to as allies. For every Iraq left standing when the fight is over, the strain on them increases.
Terrorism is a cancer. It must be cut out and each of the places it has metastasized must be surgically removed or destroyed. Only then can the patient be free of the threat. So long as Iraq remains under the rule of Saddam, our fight will not be over. When the time comes, we hope that Messrs. Blair and Chirac reflect on the burden we take on and come to share it.

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