I've never heard it put better than this. Here's Daniel Henniger in today's WSJ Opinion Journal:
Of course, if you believe that we can always depend on old Mohamed ElBaradei to keep nations with 9th Century sensibilities or 20th Century totalitarian philosophies from developing or acquiring nuclear weapons, then we have no business there. Right Stef...?Here is one man's view of why we are in Iraq: We are trying to democratize this country so they don't try to kill us. That Iraqis should "get their freedom" is genuinely good and desirable. But I wish President Bush would say more often that Iraqi democratization is in our raw self-interest. It doesn't much matter to me whether the country we democratize is Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia or Syria. The theory that democracies don't attack other democracies is as strong as such notions get, and what the world most needs now is a new, large Islamic democracy. A democracy, however "imperfect," is less likely than an authoritarian state to detonate a nuclear device in someone else's territory.
I am beyond caring in the least what weapons Saddam held in March 2003. If the Dec. 15 parliamentary elections in Iraq lead to a party-based government stabilized over time by U.S. troops, then the odds fall that a large and wealthy adversary will try--again--to acquire nuclear weapons in the open market. Saddam may be gone, but what isn't gone is the global marketplace and trade in nuclear-weapons material that is the legacy of the infamous A.Q. Khan network.
In a symposium on the Bush Doctrine for the November issue of Commentary magazine, I wrote: "September 11 changed a lot, but what truly 'changed everything' was the revelation of A.Q. Khan's production network for nuclear-bomb know-how." Khan, the father of Pakistan's Bomb, created a commercial network in centrifuge designs and parts and weapons technologies. His nuke catalog flowed through the same global canals of commerce as legitimate goods and reached shipment points in Iran, Libya and North Korea. If a backwater nation like North Korea can acquire nuclear weapons and develop missiles that may soon reach the U.S., then mass murder has gone mass market.
Yeah... that's the ticket.
Go read it.