What Happened to the War on Terrorism?
February 6, 2003

by Joe Sobran

     Notice what Colin Powell didn't say. Addressing the 
United Nations Security Council, the meticulous secretary 
of state -- the Bush administration's most credible 
spokesman -- didn't say that Saddam Hussein had anything 
whatever to do with the events of 9/11.

     That was supposed to be the whole point of the "war 
on terrorism": to avenge and punish the destruction of 
the World Trade Center and part of the Pentagon, and to 
prevent a recurrence of that horror. It's hard to see how 
war on Iraq will achieve either purpose. What do Iraq's 
hidden "weapons of mass destruction," however terrible, 
have to do with a score of terrorists armed only with 
box-cutters? Nothing.

     Nor did Powell say that conquering Iraq would amount 
to a victory. Or that it would defeat or diminish 
terrorism. Or that Americans would be safer from 
terrorists if the United States launches war on Iraq.

     Have Americans already forgotten that the "war on 
terrorism" is supposed to be about -- terrorism?

     The rest of the world seems to remember. It wonders 
what the real purpose of this war is, when North Korea is 
both far more evil and far more menacing.

     Powell did allege nebulous "links" between Iraq and 
al-Qaeda, but he gave no evidence of any operational 
conspiracy in the events of 9/11. He didn't even try. He 
knew better. Instead he offered horrifying descriptions 
of the weapons in question -- particularly chemical 
weapons -- and made a plausible-sounding case that Iraq 
has them and has deceived the UN inspectors. But his 
claims were so technical that few of us can assess them, 
and we had to take his word even for what the satellite 
photos showed.

     In short, there was no "smoking gun" -- or, more to 
the point, smoking box-cutter. All this had nothing to do 
with 9/11. Powell, like the rest of the administration 
for the last year or so, was talking about an entirely 
different subject and hoping we wouldn't notice.

     Al-Qaeda's modus operandi is totally different from 
Hussein's. If he had wanted (and been invited) to help it 
stage the 9/11 attacks, he could have supplied the 20 
terrorists with flight training, lodgings, money, and 
chemical weapons. They obviously didn't rely on him at 
all. If they even asked him for support, they may well 
have been refused. But more likely they are entirely 
separate from him. In his eyes they would be fanatics and 
loose cannons. He likes to be in control, and it's hard 
to imagine him sharing his precious weapons with them to 
do what they please with them. For their part, they saw 
him as one of the many "traitors to Islam" who rule the 
Arab world.

     So why does the Bush administration want this war so 
badly? What's it all about? Oil? Israel? There are plenty 
of rabid Zionists in the administration, and they do want 
war with Iraq (for starters), but they aren't in command. 
The oil men are. Not that they need access to Middle 
Eastern oil; the free market could take care of that well 

     But whoever controls the Arab world controls 
everyone's access to oil. If the United States conquers 
Iraq, then Iran, it will gain enormous leverage over the 
whole industrialized world -- including a little country 
that has been largely ignored during the recent 
discussions: China. No wonder China has been resisting 
the American war plans.

     Not too long ago, the United States had virtual 
control of the region through compliant rulers in Iraq, 
Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait. But Iran overthrew the 
shah, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait are also vulnerable to 
Islamic revolution, and Iraq acquired its own ambitions. 
So if the United States wants global hegemony, it must 
step in and take the reins in its own hands.

     The purpose of the 1991 Gulf War was to restore the 
status quo when Iraq seized Kuwait. Gulf War II has no 
such pretext. The American people aren't in the mood for 
yet another war. So the trick was to convert the shock of 
9/11 into war fever, then to redirect it at Iraq by 
"linking" Saddam Hussein to "terrorism." This required 
some slippery semantics and a lot of propaganda -- which 
is mostly sheer repetition of nonsense until resistance 
is worn down, and logic surrenders.

     That's about where we are now. Osama bin Laden may 
have started one war, but Saddam Hussein is about to lose 
the other one it has morphed into.


Read this column on-line at 

Copyright (c) 2003 by the Griffin Internet 
Syndicate, www.griffnews.com. This column may not 
be published in print or Internet publications 
without express permission of Griffin Internet 
Syndicate. You may forward it to interested 
individuals if you use this entire page, 
including the following disclaimer:

"SOBRAN'S and Joe Sobran's columns are available 
by subscription. For details and samples, see 
http://www.sobran.com/e-mail.shtml, write 
fran@griffnews.com, or call 800-513-5053."