It’s Like Being A Little Bit Pregnent
Bill Safire’s NYT column today is even better than usual — and that’s saying something. As he explains the Bush’s call to go after terror-sponsors North Korea, Iran, and Iraq, something hit me: the importance of finishing wars.
And I’m not talking just about the Current Mess.
1953. Korea. Stalemate. Now North Korea is building nuclear weapons and the long-range missiles to deliver them. If we wait too long to act, then replacing the evil North Korean government could cost us Pearl Harbor. Or Los Angeles.
1979. Iran. Desert One fails. The new Iranian theocracy learns the US can be triffled with. We never teach them any better. Result? Iran is working on WMD and missiles, too. Teaching them otherwise now could cost us Haifa or Tel Aviv.
1991. Iraq. We let Saddam stay in power. And now Saddam supports terror worldwide, including al Qaeda. Might have had a part in both WTC attacks. Only reason we think he doesn’t have nukes is ten years of trade sanctions — sanctions which have ruined our moral authority in the Middle East.
In all three cases, we put off “finishing” the war because it seemed too expensive. In Korea we worried about starting WWIII. In Iran, we feared Soviet intervention, too. In Iraq, we feared taking Bagdhad would lead to a lengthy occupation and Marshall Plan. Well, now we know — acting later is always more expensive than acting now. Compound interest collects on unfinished wars, too.
Thankfully, I think the current President understands that. More thankfully, I think the American people understand it now, too.