Is Iraq Worth Fighting For?

By on March 7, 2007

Is Iraq worth fighting for? Two experts debate.

robert-dreyfussRobert Dreyfuss
The Nation

Robert Dreyfuss is author of Devil’s Game: How the United States Helped Unleash Fundamentalist Islam, a contributing editor at The Nation, and a writer for Mother Jones, The American Prospect, and Rolling Stone.

quin-hillyerQuin Hillyer
The American Spectator

Quin Hillyer is a senior editor of The American Spectator, a managing director for Qorvis Communications, and a columnist for the Washington Examiner and the London Guardian’s website Comment Is Free.

Part 1: Robert Dreyfuss: Catch-22, Iraq-Style

Nearly four years into the Iraq War, the Bush administration is once again scrambling to put together an Iraqi government that works. For four years, the White House has been picking and choosing among a relatively fixed cast of characters in Iraqi politics, mostly exiles who spent the years before 2003 in London, Washington, Tehran, and the American-protected Kurdish enclave in Iraq’s northeast. For four years, they have failed, and—despite the administration’s warmed-over stay-the-course strategy for 2007—they are certain to fail again.Despite the surge, despite a huge pile of cash, despite renewed vows that the United States will not accept defeat in Iraq, there is no combination of political players in Iraq who can establish a stable, American-backed regime in Baghdad.

Part of the problem, of course, is that Iraq is so chaotic that the idea of a government that can provide basic services and security seems fanciful, at best. Deep into civil war, beset by a persistent insurgency that continues to kill American troops at a steady pace, and plagued by dozens of private paramilitary armies, Iraq has become a Mad Max nation. There is no central government at all. The army is not an army but a collection of mercenaries and militiamen loyal to partisan warlords. The police not a police force but a sectarian, Shiite killing squad armed and trained by the United States. Neighborhoods are protected by local militia, who barricade themselves in—except for those mixed neighborhoods in which bloody ethnic cleansing is the norm and death squads run amuck. Unemployment is at 30 to 60 percent, and unemployed men readily sign up for the Sunni-led resistance or for one of the Shiite-led militias and death squads.

But another part of the problem is that any Iraqi leader who chooses to ally himself with the United States, who supports the U.S. occupation of Iraq, instantly looses credibility with the vast majority of Iraqis. Polls done in Iraq, though unreliable given the levels of social chaos, consistently show that 70 to 80 percent of Iraqis oppose the occupation of Iraq by the United States and that 60 percent of Iraqis actually support the killing of U.S. troops. With public sentiment running so strongly against the American role in Iraq, for an Iraqi politician to cooperate with the United States is a political death sentence.

Therefore, the catch-22 of politics in Iraq, at least from the standpoint of the United States, is that any leader that Washington decides to support becomes—precisely because of that support—a leader that few, if any, Iraqis respect.

Since last fall, President Bush has been seeking to create a political coalition in Iraq that can isolate both the Sunni-led resistance and the radical-nationalist Shiite forces led by the Mahdi Army of cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. According to the latest iteration, the sought-after coalition in Baghdad would include two Shiite parties (the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq [SCIRI], led by Abdel-Aziz al-Hakim, and the Islamic Dawa Party, led by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki), two Kurdish warlord parties (the Kurdistan Democratic Party [KDP] and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan [PUK], the latter including President Jalal Talabani), and a Sunni religious bloc led by the Iraqi Islamic Party, which is currently led by Tariq al-Hashemi.

Both Hakim, a turban-wearing Shiite cleric, and Hashemi, a suave Sunni Islamic scholar, separately visited the White House late in 2006, as President Bush tried to cobble together what he hopes will be a “moderate,” pro-American Iraqi government.

But because of the catch-22, it is an effort doomed to fail. In fact, by so publicly visiting the White House, both Hakim and Hashemi lost credibility in the eyes of many Iraqis.

For the White House, the paradox of Iraq is that the United States is trying to isolate and marginalize the only two forces in Arab Iraq—namely, the Sunni resistance and the Shiite Mahdi Army—that have credibility among their constituencies. Both the resistance and the Mahdi Army strongly oppose the U.S. occupation. The resistance, of course, is waging a deadly war against it, and in December U.S. casualties were at an all-time high for 2006. The Mahdi Army, which fought battles with U.S. forces in 2004, is explicitly opposed to the United States presence in Iraq, and in November Muqtada al-Sadr pulled his parliamentary deputies and government ministers out of the ruling coalition. Before they will return, he said, the Iraqi government must agree to demand an immediate withdrawal of foreign forces from Iraq, including those of the United States and Great Britain.

Sadr’s defiance of the Iraqi government came as Prime Minister Maliki traveled to Amman, Jordan, in November for a powwow with President Bush. After freezing his participation in the government, Sadr opened talks with political leaders from the Sunni side, including several who have close ties to the resistance. Among those who talked to Sadr’s party were people representing Saleh al-Mutlaq, a former Baath party official who leads a Sunni bloc in parliament, and clerics from the Association of Muslim Scholars, led by Harith al-Dari, which is reportedly very close to the nationalist Sunni resistance. “We are the political arm of the resistance fighting to evict American forces from Iraq,” says Dari’s son.

The talks between Sadr and the Sunnis raised the specter of an Iraqi government that would no longer be beholden to the U.S. forces that invaded Iraq in 2003. Such a coalition, across the Sunni-Shiite divide, is difficult to imagine, given the sectarian passions that are tearing Iraq apart. But it is not unthinkable. In fact, during the 2004 U.S. assault on Fallujah, a stronghold of the Sunni resistance, Sadr openly backed the resistance and offered aid to Fallujah fighters. Sadr has also reached out to clergymen from the Association of Muslim Scholars, and he has gotten a positive response from AMS representatives in Basra, Nasariyah, Baghdad, and other Iraqi cities. What would hold such a coalition together, at least at the beginning, is its opposition to the continued U.S. occupation of Iraq, a position that would give it a strong base among ordinary Iraqis.

The opposite possibility—namely, a Shiite-Sunni coalition of moderate pro-occupation parties forged with U.S. support—has a far less chance of stabilizing Iraq.

Many, perhaps most, of the so-called moderates in Iraq, the ones supported by the White House, are former exiles who have spent two or three decades or more living outside the country. Many of the Shiites lived in Iran. The Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, for instance, was created in Iran in 1982 during the Iran-Iraq war, when Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini built SCIRI out of the Iraqi prisoners of war. Its leaders, like those of Dawa (another Iranian-backed party of exiles), rode to Baghdad on American tanks in 2003, along with other leaders of Ahmed Chalabi’s Iraqi National Congress. Few, if any, of these exiles have any credibility among Iraqis, and most of them depend for their very lives on the protection of U.S. forces. As Zbigniew Brzezinksi, President Carter’s national security adviser, said to me, “Those Iraqis who want us to stay in Iraq are the ones who would have to leave when we leave.”

So, almost by definition, the only Iraqi government that would have the political support needed to rally Iraqis is one made up of forces—including the resistance and the Mahdi Army—who oppose the occupation. That is why President Bush’s latest “Strategy for Victory” in Iraq is destined to fail. The question is: How long are Americans prepared to support a war whose only purpose is to try to prop up a corrupt, unpopular government in Iraq made up of puppets, charlatans, and quislings? The United States tried that in Saigon in the 1960s and 1970s, when Washington supported the notoriously corrupt regime in South Vietnam, with disastrous results. That war left more than 55,000 Americans—and perhaps 2 million Vietnamese—dead, for nothing. So far, three thousand Americans—and perhaps 600,000 Iraqis—are dead.

Part 2: Quin Hillyer: Why Iraq Is Worth the Effort

The question posed to us is: “Is Iraq worth fighting for?” The answer Robert Dreyfuss gives is: “It can’t be won.”The answer is not responsive to the question—or is at best only partially responsive. Obviously, if there is absolutely no way to achieve success, then it is foolhardy to risk lives and treasure. In that sense, the answer Dreyfuss gives is indeed responsive—if, but only if, his postulates about winnability are irrefutable. On the other hand, because Dreyfuss has addressed only winnability, he has left the whole question open about whether success Iraq would be worth the fight if we, the United States, still have a chance of achieving it.

Let us therefore put the questions back in the right order. The main question is not winnability but worthiness. We’ll get back to winnability later, but first, is the American enterprise a noble one, a reasonable one, and one that is in the national interest rightly understood?

The answer to those questions is a resounding “yes,” not just in theory but on the weight of the evidence of the past four years.

The goals going into Iraq were several: First, to remove a regime that sponsored and harbored terrorists, that ran a terrorist training camp at Salman Pak, that committed genocide on its own people and threatened and twice invaded its neighbors, and that unambiguously had developed weapons of mass murder and then refused to document their destruction. (By the way, documents captured after the regime was toppled showed that even many of the higher-ranking generals in that regime believed those weapons still existed.)

Second, to put in its place a stable, American-allied, human-rights-protecting state, both for the sake of its own people and so that one less major threat of mass destruction would exist.

Third, to serve the geopolitical ends of pressuring the fanatics in Iran, isolating Syria, frightening and/or weakening other terrorists and, oh yes, providing an example of an Islamic-style democracy that could serve as an inspiration to other nations in the Middle East and into Asia and perhaps Africa as well.

No sane person would dispute that those were all worthy goals, both noble and also in the American national interest. Critics could argue, though, that the goals either were never reasonable or else that they no longer are reasonable. In other words, critics could say that even though the first goal was clearly achieved through the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, the other two goals were never reasonably attainable—whether because of cultural differences, or because of the inherent difficulty of creating stable democracies, or because of the antipathy against the United States in that region of the world, or whatever.

The evidence, though, suggests otherwise.

Consider what happened in the first two years after the fall of Saddam’s regime. First, and of a significance far more huge than has been credited in the mass media, Libya’s brutal Moammar Ghadafi was moved to completely give up his nuclear weapons program, which was discovered to be far closer to fruition than the world had recognized. Ghadafi was quoted saying that the precise reason he let his program be inspected and destroyed was because he was frightened by the fall of Saddam.

Second, democratic (or at least quasi-democratic) movements began gaining the upper hand in all sorts of previously inhospitable places. Democratic “revolutions” suddenly blossomed in places such as (formerly Soviet) Georgia, Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan, and Lebanon. One or two may have been a coincidence, but so many similar successful uprisings by democratic movements in such short order can’t all have been mere happenstance. The simple truth is that President George W. Bush’s odes to democracy, backed by what once seemed a resounding success in Iraq, did just as Bush said they would: They lit a flame of freedom that rapidly began to spread.

The Cedar Revolution in Lebanon, originally quite successful, was particularly significant in that it showed that the long-troublesome, indeed blatantly evil-doing, regime in Syria had been significantly weakened.

In Iraq, meanwhile, even amidst continuing violence, the strong turnout in three successive elections (the “Purple Revolution”) gave even more evidence that the appeal of democracy is no more hampered by Islam than it was by poverty in Central America in the 1980s, where peasants in El Salvador in particular similarly braved bullets to stand in line for hours to exercise their newfound right to vote.

Moreover, the earliest shoots of democracy began stirring even in places in the Islamic world long hostile to it, such as in local elections in Saudi Arabia and Egypt. Saudi Arabia is now cracking down considerably on terrorists. Formerly hostile (or at least semi-hostile) Yemen and Indonesia have done likewise. Qatar's assistance has reportedly been superb. Jordan has been helpful. And in 2004, a major meeting of Arab groups issued the “Alexandria Statement,” calling for region-wide, democratically oriented reforms.

All of those early indications of success demonstrated that Goal Three—achieving geopolitical ends—was not a mere pipe dream or fool’s errand. It may have been more difficult than Goal One of overthrowing Saddam, but accomplishing it was at least well within the realm of possibility. It was, in a word, reasonable.

Subsequently, of course, some of those successes have foundered on the shoals of Goal Two, that of setting up a stable, American-allied regime in Iraq. Syria has reasserted itself in Lebanon. The Orange Revolution is decidedly shaky in Ukraine. And, of course, Iraq seems now to be a godawful mess.

The relevant question is: Is that mess an indication that the central goals in Iraq itself were never reasonable, and thus not worth fighting for—or was something botched along the way?

It helps to remember that until the bombing of the al-Askari Mosque in February 2006, it was widely thought that the violence in Iraq could be contained. Success was thought to be far from guaranteed, of course, but it seemed far more attainable then than it does now.

Even before the bombing, though, it was evident that the Americans had botched a great deal of the effort to secure the peace after the ousting of Saddam Hussein. Many on the American right had for more than three solid years already called Bush, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and top general George W. Casey every word short of “moronic” for their insistence on having “a small footprint” of American military in Iraq. The untried “small footprint” theory violated literally centuries of military doctrine that territory can be held secure only by “boots on the ground.” Indeed, it violated what for two decades had been the favorite mantra of virtually all conservative military thinkers, namely the Weinberger/Powell Doctrine of never entering a conflict without overwhelming force and without a clear plan for the aftermath.

It is not just in retrospect that it is or was obvious that the small footprint failed.

All of which, though, explains why Iraq is now such a challenge, but it does not necessarily show that the effort in Iraq was unreasonable all along. In fact, the early successes there, including the increasing turnout in three straight elections and the growing stability and relative “normalcy” in fifteen of the eighteen Iraqi provinces, indicates that allied forces and Iraqi leaders together came quite close to tipping the scales decisively in favor of the American aims.

So, to review, Goal One was quickly achieved, Goal Three was partially achieved and seemed to be en route to full success, and Goal Two showed significant signs of being achieved but fell apart into renewed and growing violence. Yet even that failure could quite arguably have been avoided through better strategies and tactics, which would mean that it was the methods rather than the goals that were flawed.

With all that evidence on the table, and with all three goals being so inarguably worthy ones if they were reasonable, a fair-minded observer would surely acknowledge that Iraq was (past tense) worth fighting for. The relevant remaining question, though, is in the present tense: Is Iraq still worth fighting for, considering the severe challenges now faced there?

It is only at this point that Dreyfuss’s argument about winnability, or lack thereof, becomes relevant. No matter what has happened up until now—much of it good, or at least leaning to the good—Iraq is no longer worth fighting for if it is true (as Dreyfuss writes) that “there is no combination of political players in Iraq who can establish a stable, American-backed regime in Baghdad.”

Dreyfuss sounds awfully sure about himself. He is quite definitive, leaving no room (in his own mind at least) for argument. And the way he describes the situation in Iraq right now, he makes a good case for his conclusion that the effort will inevitably fail.

Good, but far from airtight.

Dreyfuss asks us to accept his pessimism over the acknowledged expertise of General David Petraeus, the new commander on the ground in Iraq who does believe the troop “surge” can work. Dreyfuss asks us to accept his pessimism despite the acknowledged superiority of American fighters, American technology, and (at least historically) American will. He asks us to accept as immutable the polls that now purport to show that an overwhelming number of Iraqis despise the Americas in their midst, and that therefore no amount of altruism or military success will change those minds. Yet he ignores the fact that similar polls in the first year or two of the American presence in Iraq showed results far more favorable to the American forces.

In Iraq, as everywhere else in the world, opinions can change as results do. The first President Bush once enjoyed a 91 percent approval rate but less than two years later lost his bid for re-election. Why is it impossible to believe that if the “surge” begins to limit the violence and the terror that plague Baghdad, then the Iraqi people might not do as so many other people have done in the past, which is to rally to the apparently winning side?

Or was the heavy turnout in the Iraqi elections a mirage?

I think not.

Does anybody doubt that the American goals would be achieved in Iraq if we put, say, half a million troops on the ground there, mirroring the number of troops we had in the region during Operation Desert Storm in 1991? Or a million troops (still a small amount, historically, from a nation of 300 million)?

Obviously, the United States will not put so many troops there now. The point is, though, that at some level of troop strength, victory is certainly attainable. The question is whether Americans are willing to devote enough personnel and resources to the effort. And the subsequent question is what level of personnel and resources qualifies as “enough.” Will 21,500 do the trick? Maybe, maybe not. But what makes Dreyfuss so cocksure that his assessment of the military and political situation is better than that of General Petraeus?

Unless one writes from a perspective that denigrates American goals per se, perhaps because one thinks Americans really are the “bad guys” on the world stage, then it is difficult to argue that the so-far unrealized American goals in Iraq aren’t worth fighting for if they are at all reasonable. Of course it is worth a fight to weaken Syria and Iran, hobble terrorists, and serve as a beacon of freedom. Of course it is worth a fight to have another major, stable, American-friendly state in the Middle East.

And based on the evidence so far, it is not utterly unreasonable to believe those goals are still within reach.

As long as the goals are both noble and reasonable, it would be foolish to give up a fight that is not yet over.

Part 3: Robert Dreyfuss: Iraq Is Worth Fighting for—for Iraqis

If the question is whether Iraq is worth fighting for, then the answer is: Of course it is, and that is precisely why nationalist Iraqis are fighting the U.S. occupation of their country. The Iraqis consider their country worth fighting for, and they will fight us to the last man, until we leave. We are an invading force, and they don’t want us there. We invaded Iraq illegally. It is called a “war of choice,” but in fact it is a war of aggression. Iraq did not attack us, had no weapons of mass destruction, had no ties to Al Qaeda, and did not pose any sort of threat to U.S. national security.

It is shocking that Quin Hillyer still justifies the invasion of Iraq on the grounds that it was America’s job in 2003 to “put in place a stable, American-allied” state in Iraq and to “serve geopolitical ends of pressuring … Iran [and] isolating Syria.” Is it possible, still, to justify an imperialist war on the grounds that America has the right to invade a sovereign country, destroy its government, and kill hundreds of thousands of people on the grounds that it is in American national interests, however they are calculated? That is the sort of arrogance that marked the Bush administration from 2001 onward, when they arrogated to themselves the right to use unilateral force to remake the world in their own image.

Even had the invasion of Iraq succeeded in creating a stable, democratic state allied to the United States, it was the wrong thing to do—not just wrong but criminal. The fact that it turned out to be not only wrong but catastrophic—exactly as many of the war’s critics argued in 2002—only adds to the criminality of the war. It is a black mark on the soul of America.

Hillyer says that I ask readers “to accept [my] pessimism over the acknowledged expertise of General David Petraeus, the new commander on the ground in Iraq who does believe the troops ‘surge’ can work.” Were I the only one suggesting that the surge won’t work, that argument might make sense. In fact, the vast majority of experts, from liberal to conservative to libertarian, do not believe that the vaunted surge will work. Many of them have expertise, including—last but not least—General George Casey, the man who preceded Petraeus and who argued against more troops in Iraq. The same anti-surge argument was made by General John Abizaid, the Centcom commander. Even Donald Rumsfeld didn’t want to expand the troop presence in Iraq. So, though Hillyer suggests that I cede to the proven expertise of General Petraeus, he refers to Rumsfeld, Abizaid, and Casey as “moronic.” But I guess Hillyer knows more than all of them.

In fact, of course, war is too important to be ceded to the view of generals, whichever side they take. That’s why we have civilian control of the military, because decisions about war and peace are primarily political, not military. In the case of Iraq, politics now dictates that the United States leave Iraq. Nearly two-thirds of Americans now favor the setting of a specific timetable for withdrawal. That withdrawal can’t come a moment too soon.

Part 4: Quin Hillyer: America’s Noble Goals in Iraq

The story is always the same: Scratch just a little beneath the surface of the arguments from the American Left, and you find the unalterable conviction that the United States of America is the “bad guy” on the world’s stage. By leftist definition, American national interests are by their very nature wrongheaded, unethical, and immoral. Any American use of force is labeled as “imperialist,” and many of them (as Dreyfuss writes of our foray into Iraq) are called “criminal.”

Meanwhile, every troublesome foreign government, no matter how brutal and dictatorial, is assumed to be legitimate in a proportion almost precisely inverse to its level of alliance with the United States. In assessing the regime of Saddam Hussein, Dreyfuss apparently sees not a police state that used torture as official policy, used chemical weapons against neighbors and its own people, invaded two different neighboring countries for territorial gain, developed weapons of mass murder and then refused to account for them, engaged in a criminal bribery scheme, flouted United Nations sanctions, harbored and sponsored terrorists, and ran a terrorist training camp at Salman Pak. Instead, he merely refers to the regime as a “sovereign state” and writes as if Iraqis unanimously “don’t want us there.” He also writes that Iraq “did not attack us,” ignoring the multiple instances of it trying to shoot down our airplanes that were enforcing the no-fly zone created not unilaterally by the United States but under U.N. auspices. (It also tried to assassinate a former U.S. president, for that matter.)

He ignores the fact that Iraqis in huge numbers celebrated publicly when Saddam’s regime was overthrown, that enormous percentages of them turned out to vote three times amidst threats of violence, and that their duly elected government has not asked us to leave. The simple fact is that Iraqis did not choose their own government under Saddam but that it is thanks to American intervention that they have done so now. Rather than “fighting us until the last man, until we leave,” many Iraqis continue to welcome us, and many of the ones who do fight are aiming their violence not against us but against each other. Meanwhile, it is incontrovertible that the vast majority of Kurds—remember, they are Iraqis, too—see us as liberators and allies.

Far from remaking the world in our own image (as Dreyfuss claims we are doing), the United States and its allies are giving Iraqis the chance to remake their own country in their own image. The truth is that “American interests” rightly understood are almost invariably high-minded, moral, and generous. When the United States uses its military, it does not take ownership of territory, does not demand financial tribute, does not ask for anything in return other than peaceful relations and a commitment to human rights.

Meanwhile, if the strategic international interests of the United States are served as well, that is a good thing, not a bad one. American interests are by their very nature allied with the interests of freedom, human rights, and the rule of law. Dreyfuss complains that it was not “America’s job in 2003” to (quoting my earlier essay) “put in place a stable, American-allied” Iraq to “serve geopolitical ends of pressuring … Iran [and] isolating Syria.” Why not? It’s not as if Syria and Iran were just randomly or arbitrarily chosen as adversaries or American greed or other nefarious motives made us antagonize them. Instead, those two nations are rogue states by any reasonable definition, threatening their neighbors, sponsoring terrorists, and brutalizing dissenters within their own countries. They assassinate foreign leaders, murder innocent civilians, and vow to wipe an entire democratic nation (Israel) off the face of the earth. And they are allied with all those obsessive jihadists who pronounce the United States “the Great Satan” merely because our embrace of freedom is seen as an affront to their murderous version of the law of Allah. In short, they made enemies of us, not vice versa.

Not content to mischaracterize American aims in Iraq as imperialist and criminal, Dreyfuss segues into another discussion of the reasonableness of the American troop “surge” in Iraq as if again to argue that what makes Iraq not worth fighting for is the fact that it is already lost. He claims that “the vast majority of experts … do not believe that the vaunted surge will work.” Perhaps it depends on how one defines one’s own experts. But the surge is not a crazy long-shot by any means. What has not been well reported is that while the surge amounts to only about a 15 percent hike in total American troop strength in the whole of Iraq, it represents nearly a 50 percent increase in the size of American forces within Baghdad itself. Combined with new tactics and a more legitimate commitment for help from the Iraqi government, there is every reason to believe that success with the surge is possible.

What is most important, meanwhile, is not the prediction of whether it will work but whether it can work. If American aims in Iraq are achievable, and if (as I argue) they are noble and indeed essential for peace and stability, and if the failure of the mission in Iraq would lead to catastrophic consequences, then it is foolish and even immoral not to try the surge even if the surge’s success is far from guaranteed.

In the end, though, we return to the original question of whether Iraq is worth fighting for. Dreyfuss suggests that Iraq is worth fighting for only for Iraqis, whom he says are “fighting the U.S. occupation of their country.” Never mind that it is foreign al-Qaeda forces, using Iranian arms, who seem to be the ones most targeting American forces. (Indigenous Iraqis seem more devoted to fighting each other, not us.) Never mind the arrogance of Dreyfuss’s implied belittlement of the vastly larger number of Iraqis who are serving in the Iraqi military and police forces and working side by side with Americans to defeat the terrorists whom Dreyfuss seems to lionize. Yes, terrorists. Those who perpetrate the violence in Iraq are fighting less for their country than for, at best, their tribe or their religious sect, or, worse and perhaps more common, as part of a global jihad. The people fighting for the idea of the one, unified nation known as Iraq are not those opposed to the Americans, but the ones fighting (and policing) by our sides.

It is because so many Iraqis still fight by our side, and because so many Iraqis voted in three straight elections, that the idea of a stable, American-allied Iraqi republic is still readily conceivable and thus still worth fighting for. If we are able to help the Iraqis succeed in this endeavor, we will indeed serve all of those noble, moral American interests in the Middle East that I have written about in this debate. Again, if our effort in Iraq succeeds, Syria and Iran become more isolated. If Iraq succeeds, terrorists take a big loss. If Iraq succeeds, democrats and freedom fighters in the Middle East and in Asia can again recapture the momentum they showed in 2003, 2004 and early 2005. The world would then be a far better place, specifically because of the use of American arms. And that better world is certainly worth fighting for.