Jewish World Review August 12, 2002 / 4 Elul, 5762
Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder is up for re-election this fall, and things are not looking good for the big burgomaster. He is running behind in the polls to a conservative candidate, and his only hope is to galvanize the anti-American German left. So Schroeder is putting his political career ahead of doing the right thing -- supporting his friends the Americans.
There is no question that Saddam Hussein is a murderous thug. He has started two wars, gassed Kurdish children, fired Scud missiles at Israeli civilians, and killed and tortured thousands of his own people -- including his son-in-law. According to defectors, Saddam has highly paid scientists working on biological, chemical and nuclear weapons. Does anyone believe the man is not capable of handing over deadly germs to al Qaeda operatives?
Still, we hear the drumbeat of skepticism about Saddam's intentions and capabilities. This same drumbeat was heard 65 years ago in Germany itself. It was in the late 1930s that journalists like William Shirer began reporting on the murderous intentions of Adolph Hitler. Yet many refused to believe the Third Reich was bent on world domination and savagery. President Franklin Roosevelt and Ambassador Joseph Kennedy scoffed at early reports of mass executions by the SS and the Gestapo. Millions of Americans wanted to see more "proof."
Saddam Hussein is not nearly as powerful as Hitler was, but his mindset is similar. He hates the Jews, hates the decadent West, hates just about everyone. Yet millions clamor for more evidence that Saddam is a danger.
Of course, this is foolish and dangerous. And it is exactly the way the United States handled Osama bin Laden in the '90s. The Clinton administration thought it could contain bin Laden after he ordered the bombings of two American embassies in Africa and the attack on the USS Cole off the coast of Yemen. The men captured and tried for those crimes gave up Bin Laden, but the United States did not aggressively go after him because of the perceived political damage killing him would have caused in the Arab world and Afghanistan.
U.S. intelligence rightly concludes that it is just a matter of time before Saddam finds a delivery system for whatever weapons he is able to develop. We know from Czech intelligence that one of Saddam's top spies met with 9-11 hijacker Mohammed Atta in Prague a few months before the attack. We also know from Russian intelligence that former Soviet weapons experts are on the Iraqi payroll.
Gerhard Schroeder knows all this as well. But he is calculating that Saddam will not attack his country, and Schroeder seems to be ready to accept a first-strike by Saddam somewhere else. Danke, Gerhard.
For sheer, colossal ingratitude, it is hard to beat Germany. America rebuilt that country after World War II and protected the majority of Germans from the Soviet Union. We have spent trillions over there, and now, when we need them, the Germans are not there for us. This is a very vivid lesson that generosity does not always swing both ways.
Even if Schroeder and his countrymen have doubts about the wisdom of America's Saddam policy, they should give the United States the benefit of the doubt. Don't they owe America that much after all it has done for them? It disturbs me greatly that so many people all over the world are willing to play Russian roulette with the likes of Saddam Hussein. They are comfortable betting that this madman might not strike them. That if he attacks, somebody else will bear the brunt of the carnage. This is cowardly and unacceptable after 3,000 American civilians were killed last September.
The Gerhard Schroeders of the world are terrorist enablers. There is no reason on this earth why a man as dangerous as Saddam Hussein should be able to continue to operate. The rest of the world may not have the courage to deal with Saddam, but America knows that with weapons of mass destruction "a one strike and you're out" policy is simply irresponsible. Saddam has to go. And so does Schroeder.
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08/05/02: Heaven only knows