By lex, on September 2nd, 2010
In the WSJ, Danniel Henninger employs the alternate history strategy to close out the Iraq War, asking, “What if Saddam had Stayed?”
Let us assume that Mr. Obama’s “smarter” view (2002) had prevailed, that we had left Saddam in power in Iraq. What would the world look like today?
Mr. Obama and others believe that Saddam and his nuclear ambitions could have been contained. I think exactly the opposite was likely.
At the time of Mr. Obama’s 2002 antiwar speech, three other significant, non-Iraqi events were occurring: Iran and North Korea were commencing toward a nuclear break-out, and A.Q. Khan was on the move.
In March 2002, Mr. Khan, the notorious Pakistani nuclear materials dealer, moved his production facilities from Pakistan to Malaysia.
In August, an Iranian exile group revealed the existence of a centrifuge factory in Natanz, Iran.
A month later, U.S. intelligence concluded that North Korea had almost completed a “production-scale” centrifuge facility.
It was also believed in 2002 that al Qaeda was shopping for nuclear materials. In The Wall Street Journal this week, Jay Solomon described how two North Korean operatives through this period developed a network to acquire nuclear technologies.
In short, the nuclear bad boys club was on the move in 2002. Can anyone seriously believe that amidst all this Saddam Hussein would have contented himself with administering his torture chambers? This is fanciful.