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US action against Iraq - Terrorism



Arab specialist Miles Seeley said: "I must ask General Sullivan why he thinks the threat of terrorism will be lessened if we get Saddam Hussein". Tim Brown is eager to prove that it will. Here is the essence of his reply; "The impact on terrorism of changing the regime in Iraq by force will be considerable. Terrorists do not exist in vacuums. While their combatants may be few, their support requirements are massive. The "tooth-to-tale" ratio of US forces in Vietnam was about 9-1, 9 support for 1 combatant. Today this has probably grown to 15-1, counting only uniformed personnel.

Iraq remains a state-sponsor, if not directly of Al Queda then of other terrorist groups. Al Queda is, after all, not the sole such animal. Iraq almost certainly has WMDs and a demonstrated willingness to use them. And even if it does not have them today has had them in the past and can have them again tomorrow easily. Iraq also sponsors terrorism. Action in Iraq will thus serve several strategic purposes. Removing a threat; removing a regime that sponsors terrorism; drawing a line no country can cross except at unacceptably high costs, and; ironically, reinforcing international arms control regimes by demonstrating the consequences of thumbing your nose at the UN and violating international norms (notice I don't say laws!). We fight, the UN benefits, even when it doesn't want to do so".

RH: I still think Miles has a valid question.

Ronald Hilton - 2/3/03


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