I keep hearing the administration talking about the reasons we’re about to invade Iraq.

President Bush told the United Nations Baghdad is developing weapons of mass destruction. True.

He told the hapless international body that Iraq has violated countless U.N. resolutions. True.

He told the U.N. Iraq has attempted to assassinate world leaders – including his father. True.

He said Iraq possesses dangerous weapons that threaten its neighbors. True.

He said Saddam Hussein has diverted oil revenues permitted under sanctions to feed its people to the cause of rearmament. True.

He talked about the refusal of Iraq to allow weapons inspectors the cooperation they need to determine the state of Baghdad’s military capabilities. True.

He mentioned that Saddam Hussein is a brutal dictator and mean to his own people. True.

These are all good reasons for us to be concerned about Iraq – maybe even to consider an invasion.

But there is one more important reason Bush did not mention in his address to the U.N. – the fact that Iraq is hosting al-Qaida terrorists, giving them support, providing them with a base of operations, offering them aid and comfort.

Does anyone remember why we invaded Afghanistan after Sept. 11? Does anyone recall the one condition we gave the Taliban? Does anyone recollect what provoked our invasion of that land?

Afghanistan didn’t have any weapons of mass destruction. Afghanistan hadn’t tried to kill foreign leaders. Afghanistan hadn’t violated any U.N. resolutions. Afghanistan didn’t threaten its neighbors. Afghanistan didn’t have any missiles, nor was it arming itself in any significant way. Afghanistan didn’t prevent weapons inspectors from entering the country.

No. Afghanistan did one thing that prompted that invasion – it hosted al-Qaida terrorists and refused to turn them over to the U.S. following the worst terrorist attack in the history of the world. That was it. That was enough. Hardly anyone questioned our actions – not Russia, not the U.N., not even the Arab leaders.

Vice President Dick Cheney has mentioned the presence of al-Qaida in Iraq. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has mentioned the presence of al-Qaida in Iraq. Others have mentioned it. But they don’t cite it as a primary reason for an invasion.

Of course, only an invasion and a toppling of the regime in Baghdad can address the fact that al-Qaida terrorists are based in Iraq today. Weapons inspections can’t deliver them to us. U.N. resolutions can’t deliver them to us.

That’s why I don’t understand why the administration doesn’t emphasize the presence of al-Qaida is a primary reason for our imminent action in Iraq. We would not likely be contemplating this invasion if the World Trade Center and Pentagon had not been attacked by terrorists Sept. 11, 2001. It might still be the right thing to do, but I doubt it would be a front-burner issue.

Let’s face it. This is about terrorism. This is about Iraq’s defiance of Bush’s edict that the nations of the world need to decide whether they are with us or with the terrorists. Iraq decided long ago it is with the terrorists.

When most nations of the world were flying their flags at half-staff in remembrance of the tragedy of Sept. 11, Iraq was holding celebrations. When U.S. and allied forces chased al-Qaida terrorists from Afghanistan, some fled to Iraq where they were welcomed with open arms by the tyrant Hussein. While the whole world is fixated on whether Iraq does or doesn’t have weapons of mass destruction, they are forgetting the most important detail of all – that al-Qaida has a home there.

Now, I don’t expect the United Nations to get it right. But I can’t figure out why the U.S. is not stating clearly that the Iraq campaign is a continuation of the war on terrorism. Whether or not Iraq has nuclear weapons or soon will is, when you get right down to it, irrelevant.

It’s time to exterminate the terrorists responsible for attacking the United States of America. The French weren’t attacked. Germany wasn’t attacked. The U.N. wasn’t attacked. We were – right here in the United States. And it’s time for justice.

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