So what would it be like if we hadn’t gone into Iraq? If Saddam were still in power? If the French had their way, we'd still be negotiating, wouldn't we? While they sneered at the Cowboy's paranoia and lies about WMD and blustered in the UN, Saddam would still be on the throne.
But leaving the quesitons about weapons aside, and bracketing for a moment the unspeakable misery of the Iraqi people under Saddam's heel, consider what his remaining in power would have meant for the further training and dispersal of terrorists throughout the world.
In fact, look at the wide swathe of infection he spread before the Coalition Forces took him down.
In “The Algerian Plague,” The Weekly Standard assesses the damage:
|According to officials, one of the groups trained in Iraq prior to the war was al Qaeda's Algerian affiliate, the Algerian Salafist Group for Call and Combat ("GSPC"). The GSPC and its predecessor, the Armed Islamic Group ("GIA"), are well-known to European counterterrorism officials: Within the last several months, in fact, the GSPC has been at the center of several substantive terrorist plots.|
But they aren’t the only ones. Spain has been arresting “numerous” GSPC members over the last few years:
|According to one Spanish daily, the judge's writ stated that the GSPC has "a vast financing activity based on a constant labor of common crime," which includes "drug retailing, offences against property" as well as "forgery of documents and credit or phone cards." The judge's writ also noted the close ties between the GSPC and bin Laden's al Qaeda.|
|… for Islamists seeking access to Europe from the Middle East—[and]has also been recently targeted by the GSPC. In November 2005, Italian authorities arrested three Algerians affiliated with the group. Authorities had been eavesdropping on the suspects for some time. Through intercepted phone conversations and bugging devices they learned of the Algerian's plans for a massive terror attack.|
|"The only way to make France disciplined is jihad and Islamic martyrdom," a September 2005 statement from the GSPC's leadership reads, "France is our enemy number one, the enemy of our religion, the enemy of our community." (The group also accused the Algerian president of ruling in France's name.)|
|In January 2005, French authorities arrested 11 suspected terrorists with ties to the GSPC. Like their brethren in the Spanish cell, the 11 were charged with recruiting suicide bombers to send to Iraq.|
|In September 2005, the same month that the GSPC named France its "enemy number one," authorities rounded up several members of the group who were allegedly planning attacks on the Paris metro, Orly airport, and the French intelligence headquarters.|
|THE GIA'S HISTORY is especially notable because both bin Laden and Saddam took an early interest in the group. Bin Laden's "Arab Afghans" were among the first leaders of the GIA in the early 1990s. His patronage proved especially beneficial as hundreds of former veterans from the war in Afghanistan were redeployed to Algeria to swell the GIA's ranks. By some accounts, bin Laden is said to have personally arranged for the financing and necessary travel documents to be provided to upwards of 1,000 "Arab Afghans" who returned or relocated to Algerian soil.|
|But bin Laden did not just finance the building of the GIA with money from his own pockets. He also received help from Saddam Hussein: At least one former CIA official has confirmed that some of the money bin Laden funneled to the GIA came from Saddam's Iraq.|
The French look more like criminals with each passing day. Meanwhile, the hatred and death they spawned in Algeria continues to infect Europe and the Middle East with a virulent strain of terrorism and death.
Could it be? Is France herself a kind of Weapon of Mass Destruction?
The author of this essay in the Weekly Standard, Thomas Joscelyn, has good sources, including former American intelligence people. This post has only touched on his material.