Tuesday, August 06, 2002

Michael Ledeen

Michael Ledeen was a consultant for Douglas Feith, another Neoconservative who ran the Office of Special Plans. In that capacity, Ledeen has been accused of being involved in the forgery which claimed that Saddam Hussein had bought yellowcake in Niger.

By December of 2002, Ledeen was quoting that U.S. troops could be put at risk in order to
. . . liberate all the peoples of the Middle East. . . . If we come to Baghdad, Damascus and Tehran as liberators, we can expect overwhelming popular support.
He scolded Brent Scowcroft in an August 6, 2002 article in the National Review, Scowcroft Strikes Out;
. . . .it's good news when Scowcroft comes out against the desperately-needed and long overdue war against Saddam Hussein and the rest of the terror masters. As usual, Scowcroft has it backwards: He's still pushing Saudi Arabia's Prince Abdullah's line that you've just got to deal with the Palestinian question. Blessedly, President Bush knows by now that the Palestinian question can only be addressed effectively once the war against Saddam and his ilk has been won. And then Scowcroft says "Saddam is a problem, but he's not a problem because of terrorism."

This is the head of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Commission? Doesn't he read the newspapers? He doesn't seem to realize that Saddam is actively supporting al Qaeda, and Abu Nidal, and Hezbollah.

However, nobody is perfect, and Scowcroft has managed to get one thing half right, even though he misdescribes it. He fears that if we attack Iraq "I think we could have an explosion in the Middle East. It could turn the whole region into a caldron and destroy the War on Terror."

One can only hope that we turn the region into a cauldron, and faster, please. If ever there were a region that richly deserved being cauldronized, it is the Middle East today. If we wage the war effectively, we will bring down the terror regimes in Iraq, Iran, and Syria, and either bring down the Saudi monarchy or force it to abandon its global assembly line to indoctrinate young terrorists.

That's our mission in the war against terror.

The most dangerous course of action is Scowcroft's: Finesse Iraq, and squander our energies fecklessly trying to broker peace between Israel and the terrorists.
A week later, Ledeen participated in an interview published in the FrontpageMagazine. The other participants: Vladimir Bukovsky, Richard Pipes and Fred Barnes. Ledeen's participation is excerpted below.

Gentlemen, should we go to war against Iraq?
We have been at war with Iraq for years, since we performed victory interruptus at the end of the Gulf War phase. Iraq has attempted to assassinate a former American president, broken the agreement to permit international inspectors, aided anti-American terrorists both internationally and within the United States, and called for anti-American jihad with monotonous regularity. The only question is whether or not we're prepared to finally wage the war in such a way as to win it.
Okay, well if we are all so certain about the dire need to invade Iraq, then when do we do so?
Aside from the "invasion idea," does the State Department's idea of a coup make any sense?
The idea of a coup is very bad because we want to change the regime, not replace the tyrant. We want a freer Iraq, not merely to topple one military despot and install a successor.
The impression appears to be that the American government is very isolated in its fear of Saddam getting his hands on nuclear weapons? Why is this?
We're not isolated. Allied governments are reluctant to publicly announce their support until and unless they see we are serious. Once that happens they will be begging to participate. Or do you think they really want to be locked out of the oil market?
Let us suppose that, for one reason or another, the U.S. suddenly becomes afraid to act and does not invade Iraq. What are the consequences?
If we don't remove Saddam, we will not only encourage him to use his most terrible weapons, first against Israel and then against us, but also encourage the entire terror network and the other "terror masters," Syria and Iran. Finally, it will strengthen the radical wing of the Saudi royal family, which will in turn reinforce the ideological assembly line of terrorists: the worldwide network of radical schools and mosques funded by the Saudis.
I know we have all gone over this a thousand times, and at the risk of repeating a broken record, let me ask this one more time: was it a mistake not to take Saddam out in the Gulf War? Part of the wisdom not to have unseated him was, apparently, the philosophy of the evil we know is better than the evil we don't know. In other words, maybe some fanatical Islamo-Fascists might have replaced him. There was also the fear of igniting mass hatred from the Arab world. Do these considerations matter anymore in the context of the upcoming war?
Yes we should have removed Saddam in '91, only the 41 loyalists and assorted fools think otherwise.
Let's put Saddam aside for a moment. Personally, I am very pessimistic about the West's ability to defeat this new threat in militant and radical Islam. I think that the Soviet and Fascist threats were easier to deal with. In the end, I fear that the radical Muslims, especially in the Arab world, will always stick together, and we will be dealing with millions upon millions of religious fanatics who not only seek our death, but also their own. How can we be confident in facing Islamic messianism? I don't think we've ever seen a threat like this and I doubt that our Western democracies have the resolve or capability to defeat it. Please tell me I am wrong.
Yes of course we're going to win, and we're going to remove the tyrannies in Iran and Syria, and either Saudi Arabia is going to change their policies -- shutting down the radical schools and mosques -- or we will have to go after them as well. Remember there are lots of overqualified unemployed Hashemites nowadays. You don't believe we will win because you haven't studied our history. If it were Europe you might be right; Europe is ready to surrender to anyone. They tried hard to surrender to the Soviet Union but it just didn't work out for them, poor things. But we are talking about America, and Americans love to fight and love to win.
From Ledeen's 2003 book, The War against the Terror Masters:
The awesome power of a free society committed to a single mission is something [our enemies] cannot imagine. ... Our unexpectedly quick and impressive victory in Afghanistan is a prelude to a much broader war, which will in all likelihood transform the Middle East for at least a generation, and reshape the politics of many older countries around the world.