Iraq War as Retribution for 9/11

George Paine at is one of my favorite war-obsessed webloggers these days. So it was interesting to see him respond to a critical email he received last night, from someone describing himself as a newly returned soldier in the 3rd Infantry Division: A letter from the Third ID.

As I read through that exchange, and as I read through the postings and discussions on various pro- and anti-war weblogs, it seems like the debate over the war’s justification comes down to one question: Was Saddam Hussein either directly or indirectly involved in perpetrating the 9/11 attacks? Or, if not, do you think he was likely to involve himself in such attacks in the future? If you answer that question with a “yes”, then you probably supported the war. If you answer “no”, then you probably didn’t.

The people who seem most confident in their positions for or against the war also seem to be the ones most sure about the Saddam-9/11 connection (or lack thereof). In the pro-war camp, I was struck by this item from 9/11 widow Christy Ferer, describing her participation in a recent USO tour in Iraq: A note of thanks to those who serve. Her account reinforces what I see on pro-war weblogs: for those currently or previously in uniform, the tight linkage between Saddam and 9/11 is pretty much a given.

For people who’ve never paid much attention to the world beyond the US border, the category “Arabic bad guys” is sufficiently all-inclusive to make this a non-issue. But others offer a more-nuanced version of the same position. Check out the opinion piece from righty weblogger Steven Den Beste that ran in the Wall Street Journal last week, for example: We won’t back down. Den Beste’s argument is a lot longer than Ann Coulter’s prescription for world peace (“we should invade their countries, kill their leaders, and convert them to Christianity”), but they share the same wellspring, which is the normal human impulse to see every major world problem as susceptible to the same, simple solution: just make everyone else in the world much more like me (at the point of a bayonet, if necessary).

See? Problem solved.

In general, simple solutions are a good thing. Einstein famously observed, “Everything should be made as simple as possible — but no simpler.” It’s the “but no simpler” part that worries me here. A “solution” that involves the forcible conversion (or extermination) of some 280 million Arabs seems, how shall I put it, cumbersome. As in, not going to work.

So I think we need another solution. It almost certainly won’t be as simple. But it will have the even greater virtue of actually having a remote chance of success.

Update: George Paine goes another round with his military correspondent: Continuing the correspondence with Third ID.

11 Responses to “Iraq War as Retribution for 9/11”

  1. Adam Says:

    That article by Christy Ferer was profoundly disturbing, especially for laying bare the psychosis that has gripped this country since 9/11.

    “To me, those troops were there to avenge the murder of my husband and 3,000 others.”

    This woman’s grief is understandable, and I begrudge her none of it. But how her grief and the grief and anger of this country has mutated into insanity is the real tragedy.

  2. Michael Williams Says:

    Even if you don’t believe there was a direct connection between al Qaeda and Saddam (despite some evidence of such a relationship), you can’t deny two things:

    1. Saddam was directly involved with other terrorist groups, such as Hamas.

    2. Saddam was a part of the vast swamp responsible for breeding Arab Muslim terror around the world.

    Saddam’s Iraq was the low-hanging fruit. Defeating him and helping to build a liberal democracy in his place will go a long way towards eventually eliminating the true root cause of terrorism.

    In WW2, the first place America invaded was Monaco. Why? Because Monaco had attacked Pearl Harbor? No, of course not. For strategic reasons it was a sensible place to start our campaign against our main enemies: Japan and Germany. Same with Iraq.

  3. Madison Says:

    Today I opened up the Los Angeles Times, and read an article titled Read Between the Lines of Those 28 Missing Pages. It relates to the recently released 9/11 report, minus the 28 pages not allowed to be released by the White House, that in many peoplesí opinion makes clear that the U.S. should have focused on Saudi Arabia, and not Iraq (or Afghanistan) in the aftermath of Sept. 11. I had to look around a little, but hereís the Report. Itís nearly 1000 pages in length, and the omissions could well be the most important parts of the document, but from the skimming I did I was satisfied that the conclusion that intelligence did not demonstrate a connection between the Sept. 11 bombing and Iraq is supported by the report.

  4. Master of None Says:

    Monaco and Iraq
    John Callender at Lies writes that many advocates of the battle in Iraq see our invasion as a direct result of 9/11. This is true. He goes on to say, however, that because there as been little evidence of a…

  5. Master of None Says:

    Morocco and Iraq
    John Callender at Lies writes that many advocates of the battle in Iraq see our invasion as a direct result of 9/11. This is true. He goes on to say, however, that because there as been little evidence of a…

  6. Michael Williams Says:

    I mean Monocco. Duh.

  7. Michael Williams Says:

    ARGH. I mean MOROCCO.





  8. Adam Says:

    I *was* wondering why we invaded Monaco. :-)

  9. heather Says:

    we should all just trust in jesus

  10. heather Says:

    we should all just trust in jesus

  11. Caylee Says:

    I am a senior in high school and one of my main projects this year is to “be a candidate.” I was chosen to play the role of George Bush and sadly, I dont know much about politics. One main topic that I have to debate is war and terrorism. I am asking you and everyone else who reads this- to please help me with pro facts about Bushs choices ton going to war etc. BTW this artical was a great start for me!
    Thank you

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