Oh, I know this column is going to be a firestorm today!!!
One of the major arguments to support President Bush's decision to go into Iraq was to stop a dictator from not only oppressing his people, but to keep that dictator from oppressing others.
The hard part was to prove that he made the right call here because there is no possible way to measure an "if."
Being in the material handling industry (warehouse equipment) for years, I understand the concept of preventive maintenance and measure all too well. There is wisdom in prevention, whether it be for replacing a $100 tire on a $30,000 forklift to minimize internal damage from vibration, or fitting a $50 rack protector on a $100,000 rack module to keep the whole unit from collapsing from a forklift impact. However, the only way to justify the cost is to prophesy the disaster that could happen if you do not take the steps necessary to protect yourself and others by making the decision to acquire the safety equipment.
The same went for Iraq, as the wisdom of the day went.
Those of us who know our WWII history can cite the useless maneuvering of the British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain who, prior to Great Brittain's involvement in the war, catered to Adolf Hitler's aggression to his neighbors in order to avoid another world war, the bitter taste of WWI still in his people's mouths.
We all know how that worked out.
So, armed with intelligence (however flawed or correct it may have been,) we stopped a dictator who bombed and gassed his own people, was responsible for murdering countless dissenters, invaded other countries for greed, and stopped him from pursuing a nuclear weapon (which nobody debates he intended to pursue, although everybody disagrees on if he was pursuing it at the time or if he was going to attempt to do so in the future.)
As the argument goes, some say President Bush was right in stopping him, others not so much.
But let's just stop for a second. Let's just suppose we didn't invade Iraq. What would happen?
Answer: We will never know.
We can theorize and postulate all day long, banter back and forth, and debate until we're red and blue in the face, but we will never, ever know. Period. Time machines don't exist. Again, this is the problem with justifying the cost of prevention.
You will never know what you stopped from happening.
Enter North Korea.
Kim Jong Il is eerily similar to Saddam Hussein in many ways, but primarily in both his taunting of the West (the UN especially,) his ruthless treatment of his and other's citizens, and in his relentless pursuit of nuclear capability. President Obama is in a situation that is running very parallel to the time prior to President Bush's decision to invade Iraq.
So what happens if, as is currently happening, we don't do anything to stop North Korea? We don't invade, we don't sanction (and by "sanction" I mean the kind that actually works,) we don't have him removed, we don't do anything.
I guess we may find out our answer soon enough, the next missiles are pointed at Hawaii.
It may end up being very ironic if North Korea ends up being the answer to the question of "What if The Iraq War never happened?"
It might be more ironic if ignoring and not stopping or invading North Korea actually proves President Bush was right after all…..
Author's note: I am not calling for an invasion of North Korea, rather I am calling everyone to take notice if we don't.