On to Baghdad — And Beyond

by Patrick J. Buchanan – October 7, 2002

When Richard Gephardt left the White House with the president’s blessing on a Gephardt-Bush resolution empowering the commander in chief to attack Iraq at a time of his own choosing, congressional resistance instantly crumbled.

The debate is over, the issue settled. If Saddam does not open up his “palaces” to U.N. inspectors, his successor will open them up to U.S. troops.

The president still demands a U.N. resolution authorizing force. But a Security Council refusal to vote for it will not deter him.

Thus, with millions of Americans skeptical, most of Europe opposed and the Islamic world either bitterly against this war or terrified of its consequences, the president will likely give the order to U.S. forces this winter to smash Iraq.

Congress’ abdication is astonishing. For no one knows what America’s plans are, once U.S. troops reach the gates of Baghdad.

Some, however, have made plans. Read antiwar.com. The War Party sees the attack and invasion of Iraq as but the first battle in an imperial war of conquest against the entire Arab-Islamic world.

According to Ha’aretz, Rep. Tom Lantos, ranking Democrat on the House International Affairs Committee, soothed Colette Avital, a visiting Knesset member, with this assurance: “My dear Collette, don’t worry. You won’t have any problem with Saddam. We’ll be rid of the bastard soon enough. And in his place we’ll install a pro-Western dictator, who will be good for you and good for us.”

Our “pro-Western dictator,” said Lantos, will rule for “five or six years,” and “after America gets rid of all the regimes of evil, it will go straight to Syria and tell young Assad that’s what will happen to him if he doesn’t stop supporting terrorism.”

In “War Against the Terror Masters,” scholar Michael Ledeen identifies the “regimes of evil” we must destroy:

“First and foremost, we must bring down the terror regimes, beginning with the Big Three: Iran, Iraq and Syria. And then we will have to come to grips with the Saudis. …

“[O]nce the tyrants in Iran, Iraq, Syria and Saudi Arabia have been brought down, we will remain engaged. … We have to ensure the fulfillment of the democratic revolution.”

If you have been wondering about the difference between a true conservative and a neoconservative, hearken to Ledeen’s idea of the “historic mission” Providence has given to America.

“Creative destruction is our middle name, both within our society and abroad. We tear down the old order every day, from business to science, literature, art, architecture and cinema to politics and the law. Our enemies have always hated this whirlwind of energy and creativity, which menaces their traditions (whatever they may be) and shames them for their inability to keep pace. … We must destroy them to advance our historic mission.”

These are the men who have hijacked the once-honorable name of conservative. Yet Ledeen’s wars of conquest are far too modest for Norman Podhoretz, who claims that Bush’s mission is “to fight World War IV – the war against militant Islam.” Podhoretz’ enemies list dwarfs Ledeen’s:

“The regimes that richly deserve to be overthrown … are not confined to the three singled-out members of the axis of evil (Iraq, Iran, North Korea). At a minimum, the axis should extend to Syria and Lebanon and Libya, as well as ‘friends’ of America like the Saudi royal family and Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak, along with the Palestinian Authority.” If this is the minimum, what, one wonders, is the ideal?

Podhoretz believes, writes columnist Paul Craig Roberts, that Bush “must find the stomach to impose a new political culture on the defeated” Islamic world, just as we did on Germany and Japan.

What Lantos, Ledeen and Podhoretz are cawing for is for our country to invade, occupy and pacify hundreds of millions of Islamic peoples, the same policy Ariel Sharon, perhaps the most hated man in the Middle East, is pursuing on the West Bank.

Is this truly America’s mission, or neoconservative madness?

How many body bags filled with American boys will it cost to realize the vision of Lantos, Ledeen and Podhoretz, and destroy all the regimes in Iraq, Iran, Syria, North Korea, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Egypt and the Palestinian Authority? Whose sons will they be? Do they care?

How much treasure must we sink into a war of civilizations to impose Podhoretz’s “new political culture” on an Islamic world of hundreds of millions? Who made this America’s mission, and why? Cui bono, World War IV?