In his chat with Postmedia last week, the Prime Minister was directly asked about how the justifications for war in Iraq compare to the justifications for war with Iran.
Postmedia: In 2003, you supported the invasion of Iraq based on stopping them getting weapons of mass destruction. Does the same logic apply with Iran?
Harper: In fairness, the two cases are not exactly similar — I think there was more to the case in Iraq than simply the threat of weapons of mass destruction. But that said, obviously the intelligence was flawed in that case and there was considerable debate around that at the time. I don’t think there’s much debate today among informed people about Iran’s intentions and Iran’s systematic progress toward attaining nuclear weapons.
Iraq’s continued defiance of the community of nations presents a challenge which must be addressed. It is inherently dangerous to allow a country, such as Iraq, to retain weapons of mass destruction, particularly in light of its past aggressive behaviour. If the world community fails to disarm Iraq we fear that other rogue states will be encouraged to believe that they too can have these most deadly of weapons to systematically defy international resolutions and that the world will do nothing to stop them.
As the possession of weapons of mass destruction spreads, the danger of such weapons coming into the hands of terrorist groups will multiply, particularly given in this case the shameless association of Iraq with rogue non-state organizations.
That is the ultimate nightmare which the world must take decisive and effective steps to prevent. Possession of chemical, biological or nuclear weapons by terrorists would constitute a direct, undeniable and lethal threat to the world, including to Canada and its people.
As we learned, or should have learned, on September 11, having no malice toward these groups will not absolve the citizens of any country from the hatred they direct toward us and toward our civilization.
The principal objective is the disarmament of Iraq but it has now become apparent that objective is inseparable from the removal of Saddam Hussein’s regime.