Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
October 26, 2004
WAR: Hitchens and Castro
Must-read: Hitchens on what you have to believe to believe that Zarqawi's presence and organization in pre-invasion Iraq is not evidence of Saddam's complicity with Islamist radical terrorists.
Also: Andrew Sullivan catches this quote, which I heartily endorse, from State Department spokesman Richard Boucher:
MR. BOUCHER: We heard that Castro fell. There are, I think, various reports that he broke a leg, an arm, a foot, and other things, and I'd guess you'd have to check with the Cubans to find out what's broken about Mr. Castro. We, obviously, have expressed our views about what's broken in Cuba.
QUESTION: Do you wish him a speedy recovery?
MR. BOUCHER: No.
Castro definitely fits that narrow category of persons whose death would so improve the lives of so many that I feel no guilt in wishing him ill.
UPDATE: So the Bush Administration chose, for a variety of reasons (the quality of available intelligence is, as always, disputed), not to imitate Clinton's ineffective missile strikes on Afghanistan but instead wait for the invasion to deal in toto with Zarqawi's terror camps. And Saddam was able to plan an insurgency, move around dangerous weapons and possibly move men, money and weapons to Syria during the run-up to war. Which may well have included the high explosives the NY Times was huffing about yesterday, which the inspectors had left in Saddam's hands (along with hundreds of thousands of tons of other conventional explosives) without concern.
I'm beginning to think Mark Steyn was right that the real problem with the Iraq War is that we waited too long trying to go through all the international hoops before invading, costing us the ability to catch Saddam by strategic surprise. And yet, as Wretchard puts it, "[t]he price of passing the "Global Test" was very high; and having been gypped once, there are some who are still eager to be taken to the cleaners again."