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Following the first Gulf War, which left Saddam Hussein in power, most everyone outside of Hussein and his fellow travelers in the Arab world acknowledged the necessity of imposing sanctions against a Hussein-led Iraq to force him to disarm. Unfortunately, although the sanctions were aimed at Hussein, it was undeniable that the sanctions would also visit great suffering on the Iraqi population, especially since Hussein could be expected to - and did - divert whatever resources were available to himself and the effort to maintain his power.
Ever since 9/11, President Bush's constant refrain has been an uncompromising effort at eliminating terror and its infrastructure around the world. Plainly, this has not been the product of a Pollyannish notion of refashioning the world in the American image, but rather of a hard-nosed evaluation of what it will take to minimize the threat from fundamentalists around the world bent on America's destruction.
There is growing evidence that now that success in Afghanistan is within reach, the President is serious about pursuing the war against terrorism to other venues. One senses an almost palpable effort to prepare the world community for the so-called Phase II. It will be recalled that Mr. Bush declared soon after September 11th that targeting Osama bin Laden and his Taliban protectors would be Phase I, and that neutralizing the terror network around the world would constitute Phase II. And it is fast emerging that Iraq will be the first step.
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