Former Democratic Senator (and 9/11 Commission member) Bob Kerrey writes about Iraq:

Mr. Clarke's views on Iraq notwithstanding, after 9/11 we could not afford either to run the risk that Saddam Hussein would be deterred by our military efforts to contain him or that these military deployments would become attractive targets for further acts of terrorism. I supported President Bush's efforts to persuade the United Nations Security Council to change a 10-year-old resolution that authorized force to contain Saddam Hussein to one that authorized force to replace his dictatorship. And I believe the president did the right thing to press ahead even without the Security Council's support. Remember, the June 25, 1996, attack on Khobar Towers that left 19 American airmen dead happened because of our containment efforts. Sailors had also died enforcing the Security Council's embargo and our pilots were risking their lives every day flying missions over northern and southern Iraq to protect Iraqi Kurds and Shiites.

It is my view that a political victory for terrorism in Iraq is a much greater danger to us than whether or not we succeed in capturing Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan. Victory in Iraq will embolden radical Islamists as much as our failure to recognize the original danger of their declaration of war against us.

This debate becomes all the more important since the work of this commission--to examine an attack against the U.S. that occurred nearly three years ago--has been overshadowed by the events taking place in Iraq. The war there is not over. Twelve marines were killed in Ramadi Tuesday night in what has become a dramatic escalation of violence against coalition forces. I believe this escalation is taking place precisely because the country is about to be handed over to the Iraqi people to run themselves.

This guy, at least, appears more focused on the welfare of the nation than on political grandstanding, and I'm thankful for it. Senator Kerrey is one of the reasons I have hope that the 9/11 Commission isn't going to turn out to be a completely partisan waste of time.

Apparently others in the blogosphere disagree. That's fine, I haven't read all the 9/11 Commission transcripts yet.



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