Syria the Same Deal We Gave Iraq
© 2003 by Doug Patton
April 14, 2003
nation in every region now has a decision to make: Either
you are with us, or you are with the terrorists. From this
day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support
terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile
President George W. Bush
Speech to Congress September 20, 2001
scene from the movie “Patton” (no relation), when the gutsy
old general begs his superiors to let him take the 3rd Army
into Russia and take care of America’s next enemy? Well,
as it turns out, old George knew what he was talking about.
Imagine how different the last half of the 20th Century
would have been if he had been granted that request.
Just as General
Patton led the liberation of Europe, General Tommy Franks
has now led a masterful liberation of Iraq. And just as
it would have been prudent to allow Patton to complete the
task of ridding the world of its worst dictatorships in
1945, it would be equally wise for George W. Bush to allow
Franks to finish the job in the Middle East.
We are sure to find weapons
of mass destruction in and around Baghdad, but no matter
how many we find, we can’t know how many others were smuggled
into Syria to be distributed to terrorist groups. Thus,
the same deal should be offered to Bashar al-Assad, son
of the late Hafiz al-Assad and now head of Syria, as was
offered to Saddam Hussein – with a slight twist: cut off
all ties to terrorism or face the American military.
Since Syria’s support of international
terrorism is every bit as well known as Saddam’s weapons
programs, this seems a reasonable request. They are either
with us or they are with the terrorists.
after the squalling we heard out of the United Nations Security
Council, the gasp of disbelief over this would be deafening.
So what? They were predicting the end of the world before
we went into Iraq, and look what happened. They never get
We have a quarter million U.S.
troops in Iraq, and as Patton pointed out to the politicians
at the end of World War II, we will never have another opportunity
like this one.
At the same
time, it would not take much to topple the current government
in Iran. This is a shaky regime with a great deal of civil
unrest, fostered by 25 years of repressive Islamic rule.
If these three
nations – Iraq, Iran, Syria – were to be free, democracy,
which is contagious, could spread across the rest of the
Middle East just as it has spread across Eastern Europe
as a result of the courage of Ronald Reagan and Margaret
Thatcher to win the Cold War.
is what the United States has always been about. In this
case, it is merely a side benefit. Our first goal must be
to defeat terrorism. When we were attacked a year and a
half ago, we were, as President Bush stated, “put on notice.”
We are the world’s only remaining superpower – for now –
but we are not immune and we are not impenetrable.
We should make
the offer to Syria and be prepared to back it up. For all
his blustering about holy war, Osama bin Laden has to be
stunned at what we have done in Afghanistan, and now in
Iraq. He thought America was weak. He thought we would cower
into our little corner of the world with a whimper after
9/11. In his twisted Islamist mind, he really believed he
could frighten us with terror. He was wrong; all he did
was make us angry.
The United States should continue
to drive home the point until terror is so expensive no
one is willing to use it against anyone.
Patton is a freelance columnist who has served
as a political speechwriter and public policy advisor at
the federal, state and local levels. His weekly columns
can be read in newspapers across the country and at www.GOPUSA.com.
He also writes for the Talon News Service.Readers can e-mail
him at firstname.lastname@example.org.