If our soldiers had not gone to war in Iraq, Gaddafi would still be
running a secret program to build nuclear weapons in Libya. Instead, a
few days after seeing Saddam dragged from that famous "spider hole,"
Gaddafi simultaneously revealed the existance of his nuclear program
and invited Western specialists to come into his country and dismantle
Gaddafi correctly calculated that if we found out that he was building nukes, he would instantly become target #1 for the U.S. military. He gave up his secret nuclear weapons program because he did not wish to share Saddam's fate.
Gaddafi has a strong sense of self-preservation, but he is also a volatile, cold-hearted, murderous tyrant, and a longtime sponsor of terrorism. He once was asked by a journalist to comment on reports of cannibalism by his fellow Muslim, Idi Amin of Uganda. Gaddafi replied with unintended irony that he was not concerned with Amin's "internal affairs." (That anecdote is from Joe Sobran's wonderful book, "Single Issues," BTW.)
Gaddafi would be extremely dangerous if he had nuclear weapons. Anyone who says that they wish we had not gone to war in Iraq is saying that they wish Gaddafi was still building nuclear weapons, which could have been shipped in cargo containers for simultaneous arrival and detonation in multiple U.S. harbors.
Borrowing the words of Walter Cronkite, "it ought to scare you to death!"
The potential for Libyan-built nukes exploding in American harbors is no
laughing matter. That danger was eliminated because of our action in
Iraq. That danger would still be with us if we had not deposed Saddam.
As for Saddam's WMDs, we know he had nerve gas and mustard gas, because we found small amounts of both, and because he had used them on Iranians, Iraqi Kurds, etc.. We don't know what happened to his stockpiles of poison gas, but that's not the point.
Not all WMDs are equal. Nerve gas is bad. Biologicals are potentially much worse than chemical weapons. Nukes are much worse than biological weapons.
That's why the Libyan breakthrough is so important: Gaddafi was building nukes. Now he isn't.
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