President Bush has offered the case, once again, that the war in Iraq is part of the war on terror, and the response to 9/11. It must be noted, though, there are no ties between Iraq and 9/11.
Except, of course, for:
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1) The people we are fighting in Iraq are Islamist terrorists, many of them associated with al Qaeda, the same organization that carried out the Sept. 11 attacks.
2) The principal purpose of the Iraq war is to promote the spread of freedom and democracy throughout the Arab world, which remains the only long-term cure for the problem of Islamist terrorism that anyone has proposed. (If the Democrats have an alternative, they're keeping it a secret.)
3) After Sept. 11, knowing what terrorists could achieve with (relatively) conventional weapons, it was no longer acceptable to risk leaving in power a tyrant like Saddam, who a) had a decades-long fascination with weapons of mass destruction; b) had used weapons of mass destruction on many occasions; c) was a long-time supporter of terrorist groups; and d) had long been viewed as such a threat to America and its allies that since 1998, regime change in Iraq had been the official policy of the United States government, based on an act of Congress.
4) Let's follow up on 3 c). One of the Democrats' most ridiculous mantras is that there was no connection between Saddam's Iraq and international terrorism. This claim is demonstrably false, but as usual, the Democrats are playing to the least well-informed Americans. Let's just itemize a few of Iraq's most notorious pre-war connections to 9/11 style terrorism:
a) Ansar al Islam, an al Qaeda branch, manufactured ricin for use in attacks on Europe.
b) Saddam hosted al Qaeda's number two leader, Zawahiri, in the 1990s.
c) Saddam harbored, and put on a government pension, one of the few perpetrators of the first World Trade Center bombing who escaped apprehension.
d) Saddam harbored Abu Nidal, once the world's most famous terrorist, until, for reasons that remain mysterious, Saddam apparently had him murdered shortly before the war began.
e) Saddam harbored Abu Abbas, organizer of the Achille Lauro cruise ship hijacking in 1984; Abbas was captured in Iraq during the first days of the war.
e) Zarqawi, the world's most deadly terrorist, fled Afghanistan when the Taliban fell at the end of 2001 and went to Iraq. Why? Because he knew that terrorists were welcome under Saddam.
f) From Iraq, Zarqawi organized the murder of American diplomat Lawrence Foley in Jordan.
g) From Iraq, Zarqawi organized and financed a chemical weapons attack on Jordan that could have killed tens of thousands. The perpetrators of that scheme are now on trial in Jordan.
h) Saddam paid the families of suicide bombers to encourage terrorist attacks against Israel.