Today’s blast at the Bush Administration from George Will ends with this aside, which is really the entire debate:
Today, with all three components of the “axis of evil” — Iraq, Iran and North Korea — more dangerous than they were when that phrase was coined in 2002…
Iran is certainly more dangerous, as the world has refused to force an end to the mullahs nuclear ambitions. So does Will suggest a unilateral strike at the secret plants and their products?
North Korea is also exposed and certainly not more dangerous if, as we have believed for years and the regime has occasionally admitted, it already had in 2002 a secret nuke program which chugged along nicely under the appearance of a nuclear freeze deal struck by the Clinton folks. Clarity as to the regime’s ambitions seems to me to be a great improvement over stockpiling weapons in secret, and the six power talks have held together. Again, WWWD? Invade? Appease? Or persevere, as this Administration is doing.
In both instances, the world is now on alert, on the sort of notice and guard which was not present in 2002. Will’s assertion is not persuasive unless by it he means that ignorance of the two regime’s evil designs is to be preferred to candor, or unless he means we ought to have waged ar on all fronts.
Will’s remark is most puzzling when it comes to Iraq, for only a deeply perverse or willfully ignorant perspective could judge Iraq of 2006 to be worse off than the Iraq of 2002. As Robert Kaplan, the most trusted of all commentators as he is the most travelled and the least concerned with his D.C. standing, has brushed aside this argument repeatedly, reminding people that Iraq 2002 was a Stalinist’s dream, a killing machine eager to slip the last chords of sanctions, ready to acquire openly what it had been stealing via oil-for-food-for-terror purposes, funding suicide bombers, training terrorists, allowing Zarqawi free passage through Baghdad, and with the evil dictator ready to pass control at some distant point down the road to the even more deranged sons.
More dangerous? That is just absurd. The sort of nonsense Geoffrey Dawson of the Times might have tossed up while editing the resignation remarks of Duff Cooper to save Neville Chamberlain the embarassment oif having been confronted by an enemy of Munich.
To pronounce Iraq “more dangerous” today than it was in 2002 is to promote a political agenda over facts. I have seen George Will do it before concerning the Bushes, and this deep resentment is back and on display.