The Corner

The Iraq War & Me

The usual suspects are up in arms that I am a “liar” for stating in response to the Vanity Fair piece that “I opposed the military invasion of Iraq before it took place and I advocated – as I still do – support for political revolution in Iran as the logical and necessary first step in the war against the terror masters.”

But those who have actually read what I’ve written would not be surprised I would say such a thing. Here is what I wrote in my book, The War Against the Terror Masters, published in 2002, well before the invasion of Iraq (pages 184-187):

U.S. strategic planner of the Iraqi campaign have a fascinating challenge.  Saddam is strong enough to cow his domestic enemies, but he cannot survive an American assault.  He couldn’t survive it a decade ago, when his armies were considerably stronger than they are today.  But we do not want to pulverize the country.  We want to bring down the regime, just as we did in Afghanistan, and as we will do in Iran.  And as in Afghanistan and Iran, we must work with the Iraqi people, our most potent weapon against the tyrannical regime.

We will find them eager to rid themselves of Saddam…Some parts of the Iraqi resistance are known to us, while others will emerge when they see that we are serious.  Dissident military officers have repeatedly (and unsuccessfully) risked their lives to gain American support for an armed coup d’etat in Baghdad, but no matter how many are slaughtered by Saddam, more come forward to take up the cause.  And they keep coming to us, even though our leaders have repeatedly betrayed them… [I then urge support for Chalabi and the INC.]

…we need to create a zone of freedom to which Saddam’s enemies can repair to find safety and normalcy.  We have long proclaimed a “no fly zone” in northern Iraq.  We should transform it into a “no trespassing zone,” help the INC install itself there, and then recognize the INC as the legitimate government of the country.  It would immediately become a haven for Saddam’s enemies and a staging ground for the democratic revolution.  At the same time, we can create a similar zone in the south, where the country’s Shi’ite majority is concentrated.  Both would come under the protection of our irresistible air power.

These steps should be combined with internal sabotage and an imaginative campaign of psychological destabilization.  The CIA wrought havoc on Abu Nidal by playing with his tortured mind, and Saddam’s spirit is no more tranquil.  Facing outspoken challenges from north and south, coping with daily acts of sabotage against his oil business and his security forces, Saddam may well do what Abu Nidal did:  turn his wrath against his own people, and decimate his own protectors.

There are many ways to wage war, and many ways to destroy a tyrant.  Especially when you have his oppressed people on your side.

As for the Scowcroft excoriation left bloggers are pointing to, I never address military action in it. Which, again, anyone who’s been reading me all this time know wasn’t my solution to the problem.

Michael Ledeen — Michael Ledeen is an American historian, philosopher, foreign-policy analyst, and writer. He is a former consultant to the National Security Council, the Department of State, and the Department of Defense. ...

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