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NIE Declassified
Posted by: Dale Franks on Tuesday, September 26, 2006

In case you weren't aware of it, the leak of the NIEs conclusions has led the president to declassify a portion of it. That extract can be found here, in PDF format.

The first key judgment:
United States-led counterterrorism efforts have seriously damaged the leadership of al-Qa’ida and disrupted its operations; however, we judge that al-Qa’ida will continue to pose the greatest threat to the Homeland and US interests abroad by a single terrorist organization. We also assess that the global jihadist movement—which includes al- Qa’ida, affiliated and independent terrorist groups, and emerging networks and cells—is spreading and adapting to counterterrorism efforts.

• Although we cannot measure the extent of the spread with precision, a large body of all-source reporting indicates that activists identifying themselves as jihadists, although a small percentage of Muslims, are increasing in both number and geographic dispersion.

• If this trend continues, threats to US interests at home and abroad will become more diverse, leading to increasing attacks worldwide.

• Greater pluralism and more responsive political systems in Muslim majority nations would alleviate some of the grievances jihadists exploit. Over time, such progress, together with sustained, multifaceted programs targeting the vulnerabilities of the jihadist movement and continued pressure on al-Qa’ida, could erode support for the jihadists.
Translation: we went to war against the Jihadists. So, they are fighting back, and increasing recruiting. If we keep fighting them successfully, this support will decline.

This is what we call, in the shouting and killing people business, a blinding glimpse of the obvious.
We assess that the Iraq jihad is shaping a new generation of terrorist leaders and operatives; perceived jihadist success there would inspire more fighters to continue the struggle elsewhere.

• The Iraq conflict has become the "cause celebre" for jihadists, breeding a deep resentment of US involvement in the Muslim world and cultivating supporters for the global jihadist movement. Should jihadists leaving Iraq perceive themselves, and be perceived, to have failed, we judge fewer fighters will be inspired to carry on the fight.
Man, that last bit is a hard conclusion to argue with. Iraq is drawing up a new generation of terrorists. But if we win against them there, then they will think they have lost, and will stop fighting.

There's more to the document, of course, most of it written in the same vein: "If we win, they will lose. But, if they win, we will lose", and the like.

Man, I can see why we pay those CIA boys the big money, when they look really deep into a situation like that. Although, the money is irrelevant, really, isn't it? You just can't buy that quality of analysis.

The bottom line is that the crowing over the "increased threat" meme is, where it isn't just garbage generated for political purposes, telling us absolutely nothing we don't already know.

Those for whom the NIE assertions are not obvious on the most basic level, are no doubt completely perplexed about why so many people lined up in front of recruiting offices on 8 Dec 41.

Such people are pretty much immune to reason.
 
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Man, that last bit is a hard conclusion to argue with.
Coincidentally, that is the very same part that was either not leaked to the papers, or deliberately left out of the stories by the papers.

Three guesses as to why?
 
Written By: Shark
URL: http://
Translation: we went to war against the Jihadists. So, they are fighting back, and increasing recruiting. If we keep fighting them successfully, this support will decline.
I’ll agree with this assessment as far as the broader war on terror.
The Iraq conflict has become the "cause celebre" for jihadists, breeding a deep resentment of US involvement in the Muslim world and cultivating supporters for the global jihadist movement. Should jihadists leaving Iraq perceive themselves, and be perceived, to have failed, we judge fewer fighters will be inspired to carry on the fight.
Iraq is where I perceive a tragic policy error that works to the benefit of the terrorists and an error in the analysis.

The Iraq occupation did not need to happen, and the terrorists, who were not there before and are there now, do not have to win, they just need not to lose in order to advance their cause and increase recruiting and essentially grow.

The jihadist do NOT want us out of Iraq, it is their recruiting poster, "Come to Iraq, meet new and interesting Americans, and kill them". Terror has NEVER, EVER been aboutany kind of military victory. When George Washington used guerilla tactics (I won’t say terrorism, I’ll call him a freedom fighter) his goal was not to win, it was was not to lose and continue not losing until the British return on investment became a negative ratio.

While I agree that the stakes are different, and in some ways higher, and the tactics of the jihadists are much more brutal, vicious, and worst of all indiscriminate. They simply need to survive, continue to disrupt, and because of the nature of these tactics and the small number of people it takes to continue a guerilla war, it will be much easier for them to maintain and/or grow than it will be for our forces to prevail.

Just a little "worst case scenario" brainstorming would have predicted this potentiality.

I don’t know whether we should stay in Iraq or redeploy with ready forces nearby, I would support the option that I believe gives us the greatest possibility of success. But I do know that the morons that got us into this should not be rewarded but rather considered for the incompetent bumblers they are.

I don’t know if the story about Rumsfeld below is true, so let’s skip that debate, but if it is true, would any right minded American suggest anything other than he be fired at the very least and possible arrested at the worst?

And if it is not true, what’s up with Generals lying?

Either way it is not good.


"He Would Fire the Next Person That Said That"
By Kevin Drum
The Washington Monthly

Friday 08 September 2006

Today, via Orin Kerr, comes a remarkable interview with Brigadier General Mark Scheid, chief of the Logistics War Plans Division after 9/11, and one of the people with primary responsibility for war planning. Shortly after the invasion of Afghanistan, he says, Donald Rumsfeld told his team to start planning for war in Iraq, but not to bother planning for a long stay:

"The secretary of defense continued to push on us ... that everything we write in our plan has to be the idea that we are going to go in, we’re going to take out the regime, and then we’re going to leave," Scheid said. "We won’t stay."

Scheid said the planners continued to try "to write what was called Phase 4," or the piece of the plan that included post-invasion operations like occupation.

Even if the troops didn’t stay, "at least we have to plan for it," Scheid said.

"I remember the secretary of defense saying that he would fire the next person that said that," Scheid said. "We would not do planning for Phase 4 operations, which would require all those additional troops that people talk about today.

"He said we will not do that because the American public will not back us if they think we are going over there for a long war."

..."In his own mind he thought we could go in and fight and take out the regime and come out. But a lot of us planners were having a real hard time with it because we were also thinking we can’t do this. Once you tear up a country you have to stay and rebuild it. It was very challenging."

In a way, this is old news. As much as it beggars the imagination, there’s been plenty of evidence all along that Bush never took the idea of rebuilding Iraq seriously. The plan was to remove Saddam from power, claim victory, and get out.

However, this is the clearest evidence I’ve seen yet. The guy who was actually in charge of logistics has now directly confirmed that Rumsfeld not only didn’t intend to rebuild Iraq in any serious way, but threatened to fire anyone who wasted time on the idea. Needless to say, he wouldn’t have done this unless it reflected the wishes of the president.

And this also means that all of Bush’s talk about democracy was nothing but hot air. If you’re serious about planting democracy after a war, you don’t plan to simply topple a government and then leave.

So: the lack of postwar planning wasn’t merely the result of incompetence. It was deliberate policy. There was never any intention of rebuilding Iraq and there was never any intention of wasting time on democracy promotion. That was merely a post hoc explanation after we failed to find the promised WMD. Either that or BG Scheid is lying.

This is an astounding interview, all the more so for the apparently resigned tone that Scheid brings to it. It belongs on the front page of the New York Times, not the Hampton Roads Daily Press.
 
Written By: CaptinSarcastic (yeah, that one)
URL: http://
When George Washington used guerilla tactics (I won’t say terrorism, I’ll call him a freedom fighter) his goal was not to win, it was was not to lose and continue not losing until the British return on investment became a negative ratio.
George Washington didn’t use guerrilla tactics. He led a conventional, uniformed army. he declined to take the field in circumstances that were disadvantageous, but when he did, the Continental Army fought in a conventional manner.
 
Written By: Dale Franks
URL: http://www.qando.net
Lexington and Concord?
 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
I don’t know if the story about Rumsfeld below is true, so let’s skip that debate, but if it is true, would any right minded American suggest anything other than he be fired at the very least and possible arrested at the worst?
CaptinSarcastic, I don’t know if the story about you molesting underage goats is true, so let’s skip that debate, but if it is true would any right minded American suggest anything other than you are a scrote of the worst kind?

You’re a real piece of work.
 
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
Dale, do you really believe this kind of simplistic jargon? You write:
Translation: we went to war against the Jihadists. So, they are fighting back, and increasing recruiting.
Is that what you think we were doing when we invaded Iraq? Do you think we "went to war against the jihadists"? The only jihadists in Iraq were the people in Zarqawi’s camp in Kurdistan, a camp we could easily have taken out without an invasion. There have been all kinds of reasons put forth by the administration and its supporters for why we invaded Iraq, but I don’t think anyone has suggested it was to "go to war with the jihadists".

And therein lies the problem. It’s one thing to stir up the hornets nest when you’re trying to destroy it. It’s another thing to do so because you’re needlessly fooling around in a nearby tree. The former may cause the bees to swarm and sting you, but at least you’re taking care of the problem. The latter gets you stung needlessly and without accomplishing anything constructive.
 
Written By: Anonymous Liberal
URL: http://www.anonymousliberal.com
You’ve certainly plucked the low-hanging fruit, Dale, but it all depends on perspective. For example, I’ve sort of thought that *this* conclusion was blindingly obvious -
Concomitant vulnerabilities in the jihadist movement have emerged that, if fully exposed and exploited, could begin to slow the spread of the movement. They include *** dependence on the continuation of Muslim-related conflicts,***** (emphasis glasnost) the limited appeal of the jihadists’ radical ideology, the emergence of respected voices of moderation, and criticism of the violent tactics employed against mostly Muslim citizens.
-in other words that the growth of the jihadist movement *demands and needs* open war in Iraq, and brining that war to a conclusion **by "victory" or **otherwise** - would seriously undermine it -

but it sure seems like some around here need to have it repeated more slowly, patiently, and repeatedly, then I can stand to do.
 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
It’s one thing to stir up the hornets nest when you’re trying to destroy it.

It’s even worse than that. We’re not trying to destroy anything, at least not effectively enough to make it worthy of being rationally called a "destruction" effort. You can destroy a clandestine terror cell through persistent arrests and/or assassinations, when they’re essentially passive. When they intermingle with a generalized ethnic-based counterinsurgency grounded in a broad civilian population - when that option becomes available to them - which we made possible - you can no longer destroy it at all, at least without using the Syria method of exterminating everything that moves in an 100-mile radius.

You can only make it bleed until it’s willing to consider a political solution, and then * negotiating and implementing it*. The US military has done the first. The Bush Admin would rather see the whole country self-destruct, rather than start on the second.
 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
It’s even worse than that. We’re not trying to destroy anything, at least not effectively enough to make it worthy of being rationally called a "destruction" effort.
In case I was unclear, I agree. Afghanistan the hornets nest (at least one of them), but Iraq sure as hell wasn’t. That’s what’s so tragic. We’re creating a whole new generation of jihadists, and for what? What have we accomplished there?
 
Written By: Anonymous Liberal
URL: http://www.anonymousliberal.com
Lexington and Concord?


George Washington wasn’t in command at Lexington and Concord.
 
Written By: Dale Franks
URL: http://www.qando.net
Man, that last bit is a hard conclusion to argue with. Iraq is drawing up a new generation of terrorists. But if we win against them there, then they will think they have lost, and will stop fighting.

There’s more to the document, of course, most of it written in the same vein: "If we win, they will lose. But, if they win, we will lose", and the like.
Nonsense.

The right wing reads the NIE as saying that if we "win" in Iraq, we will effectively win the war on terror.

The right wing also derides the NIE by retorting that the terrorists would want to kill us even if we hadn’t invaded Iraq, i.e., even if we hadn’t been in a position to win in the first place. Because, as McQ says, if it wasn’t Iraq, it would be Afghanistan. And if it wasn’t Afghanistan, it would be Israel/Palestine.

In other words, the right wing says that by invading and winning in Iraq, we win the war on terror. But the right wing also says that even if we successfully withdraw from Iraq in victory, the terrorists will simply come up with another reason to want to kill us anyway.

Heads they win, talis we lose.

 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
It looks like you got me on this one. Shucks.
 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
I don’t know if the story about Rumsfeld below is true, so let’s skip that debate, but if it is true, would any right minded American suggest anything other than he be fired at the very least and possible arrested at the worst?
CaptinSarcastic, I don’t know if the story about you molesting underage goats is true, so let’s skip that debate, but if it is true would any right minded American suggest anything other than you are a scrote of the worst kind?

You’re a real piece of work.
Hang on there skippy, this is not some conspiracy theory bouncing around in the Moveon forums, this is Brigadier General Mark Scheid, commander of the Army Transportation Corps and Chief of Logistics War Plans Division, who was one of the early planners for the war in Iraq.

So when I say I don’t know if this is true, it does not mean that there is not a credible source, as opposed your goat molesting analogy, and I am sure that no one saw THAT. It means that I am trying to be open minded about something as potential explosive as this charge. You take my qualifier of "I don’t know if this is true" as spreading unsubstantiated innuendo, when it is the opposite.

If you want to discuss whether this is true or not, I am open to that. But before going down that road, I would like to know whether it would matter to you or not.

If you tell me that you don’t care if it is true, that you still want have Rumsfelds baby, then there isn’t much point in determining whether it is true.

But if you tell me that this would prove to you that this war was ill an ill conveinved policy, poorly executed, and criminally sold to the American people, then it would make that discussion worthwhile.

So?

Do you care if Rumsfeld said this, how much of a difference would it make to you?


In either case, you should want someone brought up on charges, either General Scheid or Don Rumsfeld. I can’t think of a good reason for Scheid to lie, but Rumsfeld has about 3000 reasons he should deny this until doomsday.

Oh, and yes, I am a piece of work.

Cap




 
Written By: CaptinSarcastic (yeah, that one)
URL: http://
On a pragmatic level, exactly what part of any Phase 4 plan, developed prior to the start of military operations, would still be in force today ?

None.
 
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
Translation: we went to war against the Jihadists. So, they are fighting back, and increasing recruiting. If we keep fighting them successfully, this support will decline.
So far fighting this way has increased the recruitment of terrorists. On what basis do you make the prediction that continuing to fight in this manner will lead to a reduction?
 
Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://warisforwinning.blogspot.com/
George Washington didn’t use guerrilla tactics. He led a conventional, uniformed army. he declined to take the field in circumstances that were disadvantageous, but when he did, the Continental Army fought in a conventional manner.
Lexington and Concord?


George Washington wasn’t in command at Lexington and Concord.
Here we go with forest and trees again.

Call it what you want, asymetrical warfare, guerilla warfare, I’ll ced to whatever you want to call and however you want to describe it.

So now that we are past that, the point was that survival was the strategy, not victory. As long as they could keep on fighting, they had the opportunity to recruit support internally and internationally.

I am not trying to compare the specific tactics, and I am certainly not trying to compare the goals of jihadist and George Washington, my point is simply that a weaker force does not have to win to win, and we gave the jihadists this gift.

I don’t mind that you picked a nit, but it is disappointing that you ignored the larger point.

Cap
 
Written By: CaptinSarcastic (yeah, that one)
URL: http://
On a pragmatic level, exactly what part of any Phase 4 plan, developed prior to the start of military operations, would still be in force today ?

None.
Oh, so it’s okay if the SecDef told the Generals who were working on the war plans that he would fire the next one that talked to him about postwar planning????


If there actually was post war planning, we may not have disbanded the Iraqi military, which may have actually made it possible to have Iraqi’s secure their own country.

I don’t know why I am bothering, IMHO, anyone that doesn’t get it by now that that this war was bad policy followed by atrocious execution, is certainly not likely to have that lightbulb flash over their heads now.

Cap



 
Written By: CaptinSarcastic (yeah, that one)
URL: http://
The right wing reads the NIE as saying that if we "win" in Iraq, we will effectively win the war on terror.
No one has said that. No one. Typical MK.
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
Here it is, and free of charge:

If you do not fight against the jihadis, they think you are soft and redouble their efforts to kill you.

If you do fight against the jihadis, they become upset that fellow Muslims are being attacked and redouble their efforts.


Yes, I’m sure Iraq "creates" more jihadis and sympathizers, just like Chechenya and Afghanistan did.

On the other hand, remember that the jihadi suicide bombs against mosques and markets in Iraq have made them LOSE supporters in the Arab world as well.

 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
Oh, so it’s okay if the SecDef told the Generals who were working on the war plans that he would fire the next one that talked to him about postwar planning????
Captain Sarcastic, this was the one bit of info that gives me massive pause. I’d like more data about who, where, and what context, but yeah, that’s a firable offense for Rummy in my book.
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
Just a thought:

Which has caused more jihadists?

a. our invasion and occupation of Iraq.

b. our press coverage of the invasion and occupation of Iraq



Personally, I’d say when you have 24/7 coverage of Abu Ghraib for months on end, B. wins out over A.


Second question:

If invading Iraq caused Muslims to get angry, why didn’t Kosovo do the reverse, i.e. cause Muslims to become happy with the USA? Why was 9/11 still being planned even as we were protecting muslims from Serbians? (or did it?)


Third Question:

If you had a time machine and realized that East Timor’s independence from Indonesia would rile up the Islamists, should we go back and stop that action?


 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
I note that now that Prez Bush has released the official executive summary, Dems are complaining that he ought to release the whole thing because, you know, what he released doesnt show the whole picture.

Funny how they were weren’t complaining when the initial leaked bits hit the press.
 
Written By: bains
URL: http://
The Iraq occupation did not need to happen, and the terrorists, who were not there before and are there now, do not have to win, they just need not to lose in order to advance their cause and increase recruiting and essentially grow.
So... Now that we’ve got them there, ought we not make sure they do, you know, lose?

Or is it better that we humiliate Bush, place the nation in the hands of Dems, and pretend that successful jihadism isn’t a problem any more because Bush is out of power?
 
Written By: bains
URL: http://
I don’t mind that you picked a nit, but it is disappointing that you ignored the larger point.
If you are trying to make a larger point, why include tripe that is so easily nit-picked?
 
Written By: bains
URL: http://
On the other hand, remember that the jihadi suicide bombs against mosques and markets in Iraq have made them LOSE supporters in the Arab world as well.
Killing them thins their ranks out as well. Remember, the opposite of creating terrorists is eliminating them. :-)
 
Written By: Pablo
URL: http://
We’re creating a whole new generation of jihadists, and for what? What have we accomplished there?
The assumption here is they wouldn’t be "created" but for this action (Iraq).

Given their existence and growth prior to 9/11, do you really, honestly believe that to be true? And btw, again, that was the point of the post you never seemed to get.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
If there actually was post war planning, we may not have disbanded the Iraqi military, which may have actually made it possible to have Iraqi’s secure their own country.
So you liked the old Iraqi Army better than the new Iraqi Army? And what knowledge is this preference based on, Captain? Which capabilities is it they had that this Army can apparently never have? Did your people on the ground explain this to you?

Actually, I guess the most important question is why you’re trying to hang Paul Bremer’s decision on Donald Rumsfeld.
 
Written By: Pablo
URL: http://
Lefties - please, do us all a favor and stop citing Washington and the American revolution as an example.
If the Continental army had been completely backed into a corner and captured or destroyed that would have been pretty much the end. It’s unlikely there would have been ongoing terrorist gunpowder cask bombings of (now once again) British holdings in the Colonies, no capturing of civilians or British soldiers as hostages, no sawing off of heads, no fire-ships sailed into British ports or anchorages.

The colonial troops wouldn’t have blended back into the civilian populace to emerge each night to launch mortar attacks on the Customs House or tried to drive exploding coaches into British military checkpoints or even ambushed British troops as they took leisurely strolls up the road to Concord from Boston.

It would have been over, the ring leaders not captured or killed probably would have fled to France where they may have plotted another uprising, but until such a rising came there wouldn’t be much activity. So, please, enough with the "all they had to do was survive" thing.
All the Continentals had to do was survive as an ARMY and a government, simple survival as a person was not sufficient to accomplish their goal.

Not to mention the fact that their goal, in and of itself, was totally contrary to the goals of the Jihadists.

Find a better example.

And while your at it, respond to McQ’s question detailing exactly what we were doing (During the Clinton administration) to Osama Bin Laden (not an Iraqi, as you all joyously point out on a continual basis) that caused them to form ANY jihadi cells (and our simple existence on the same globe they occupy is also not sufficient as an answer here...)
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
McQ,
The assumption here is they wouldn’t be "created" but for this action (Iraq).
You must know by now, if you didn’t before the war, that Saddam hated Jihadists as much as the West.

He moulded Iraq into a secular state for a reason.

 
Written By: symptomless
URL: http://
You must know by now, if you didn’t before the war, that Saddam hated Jihadists as much as the West.

He moulded Iraq into a secular state for a reason.
While that may be true, it doesn’t answer my question.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
If your question is:
Given their existence and growth prior to 9/11, do you really, honestly believe that to be true?
Then the question is false. You say its "true", you agree, that Iraq was a non-Jihadist state before the invasion. So why do you assume then that they existed or were growing before 9/11?

Then you’ve answered your own question on that one.

If you’re saying that there was a rise in Jihad outside Iraq prior to 9/11 and the invasion has had no impact on the rate of that increase the you’re being incredulous.
 
Written By: symptomless
URL: http://
You take my qualifier of "I don’t know if this is true" as spreading unsubstantiated innuendo, when it is the opposite.
Hogwash. You either believe it to be true or not. If you don’t believe it to be true, you are spreading unsubstantiated innuendo.

Since you bothered to post it and only wish to discuss the ramifications of the posting, I conclude that you believe it to be true.
So: the lack of postwar planning wasn’t merely the result of incompetence. It was deliberate policy. There was never any intention of rebuilding Iraq and there was never any intention of wasting time on democracy promotion.
Several things:

1) Postwar policy is not a SecDef decision.
2) Postwar policy can certainly change during and after a war. I point to our postwar plans for Germany and Japan versus what we did after the Cold War started.
3) Since you believe that our generals are geniuses, every one, then why didn’t they have their staffs create multiple postwar contingency plans? Or even 2 of them?

 
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
Lefties - please, do us all a favor and stop citing Washington and the American revolution as an example.
Okay, fair enough, I will not use that as a example. It distracts from any point I am trying to make, so I agree, it should not be used.
So... Now that we’ve got them there, ought we not make sure they do, you know, lose?

Or is it better that we humiliate Bush, place the nation in the hands of Dems, and pretend that successful jihadism isn’t a problem any more because Bush is out of power?
Bush drove us into this ditch, we need to recognize that the kind of incompetence it took to drive us into the ditch is not what we need to get out of the ditch, but beyond that, we absolutely need to insure that the jihadist do not win. Whether the best method of accomplishing this is remaining in Iraq or redeploying strike forces outside of Iraq is debateable.

Bush is already humiliated, but I will support any good decisions he makes, he just seems woefully incapable of making good decisions.

Cap
 
Written By: CaptinSarcastic (yeah, that one)
URL: http://
If you’re saying that there was a rise in Jihad outside Iraq prior to 9/11 and the invasion has had no impact on the rate of that increase the you’re being incredulous.
I cannot fanthom why you believe that invading a non-Jihadist state has created more jihadists than invading an actual jihadist state.
 
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
Then the question is false.
Geez. Answer the freakin’ question without all this backfilling and crawfishing, will you?

It is a simple question.

Had we not invaded Iraq, would no new terrorists have been created?

Yes or no?
If you’re saying that there was a rise in Jihad outside Iraq prior to 9/11 and the invasion has had no impact on the rate of that increase the you’re being incredulous.
I’m not saying anything remotely like that. I’m asking a very simple question which is at the heart of the argument here. A straight answer would be appreciated.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
The assumption here is they wouldn’t be "created" but for this action (Iraq).

Given their existence and growth prior to 9/11, do you really, honestly believe that to be true? And btw, again, that was the point of the post you never seemed to get.
McQ, you seem to be trying very hard to construct this straw man. Jihadists aren’t all of one mind. Not all were drawn into the movement for the same reasons or in response to the same events. I do NOT think that all jihadists currently trying to harm us were motivated to do so by the Iraq war. But I do think SOME were. In other words, I think some fraction of the jihadists currently seeking to do us harm would not be doing so but for our invasion of Iraq. That’s what the NIE means when it says that:
The Iraq conflict has become the "cause celebre" for jihadists, breeding a deep resentment of US involvement in the Muslim world and cultivating supporters for the global jihadist movement
The point is that SOME (not ALL) jihadists were drawn into the movement because of their anger over our invasion of Iraq. This is an intuitively obvious point that everyone seems to get. All that is being suggested is that our invasion of Iraq has created more terrorists than there otherwise would have been, i.e., it has made the problem worse.

The is the point you are refusing to acknowledge directly.
 
Written By: Anonymous Liberal
URL: http://www.anonymousliberal.com
Had we not invaded Iraq, would no new terrorists have been created?
McQ, this question goes only to the heart of the imaginary debate you’ve constructed. No one thinks that if we hadn’t invaded Iraq, al Qaeda would have been unable to recruit any new terrorists. That’s an absurd straw man.

What we’re arguing (and what the NIE asserts) is that the Iraq war has created more jihadists than there otherwise would have been, i.e., that SOME people would not have been drawn into terrorism but for our invasion of Iraq.
 
Written By: Anonymous Liberal
URL: http://www.anonymousliberal.com
All that is being suggested is that our invasion of Iraq has created more terrorists than there otherwise would have been, i.e., it has made the problem worse.
Made the problem worse? How would anyone know since Iraq and the rest of the M.E. are closed societies? Isn’t the point of war to bring the enemy into the open and kill them? That’s what is being done.

Why can’t you lefties just be honest? You guys are against War. Period. Against war. You can’t speak out against Afghanistan because it’s political suicide. So you build up this nonsense alternate reality re: Iraq. Saddam rots in jail. His sons get 72 virgins that all look like Helen Thomas’ much uglier grandmother and a new govt. is installed. Yet, you say Bush is the loser here.

So in your world, do you guys celebrate an Annual Chicago Cubs World Series victory party? Dennis Kucinich is hosting this year.
 
Written By: Come on, Please
URL: http://
All that is being suggested is that our invasion of Iraq has created more terrorists than there otherwise would have been, i.e., it has made the problem worse.
No, you’d have to balance the number and value of jihadis who became jihadis expressly because we invaded Iraq (and does anyone have that number???) against the number of jihadis we’ve eliminated during and after the invasion of Iraq.

You’d have to demonstrate that the problem is worse because the jihadi force is now more dangerous due to our invasion. If what it actually did was inspire a number of soft headed morons to sacrifice themselves to the United States Marine Corps, I think we come out on top.

Willing souls do not a viable combat force make.
 
Written By: Pablo
URL: http://
Perhaps someone can explain why all these new recruits, motivated by the oppression of Iraqis by invading crusaders, are killing mostly Iraqi civilians?


"Call it what you want, asymetrical warfare, guerilla warfare,..."

There is a pretty much standard definition of guerilla warfare, and that ain’t it.

" As long as they could keep on fighting, they had the opportunity to recruit support internally and internationally."

The opportunity, maybe, but if they had not made progress towards and had they not won some victories, the cause would have collapsed. If Washington hadn’t won at Trenton, there was a good chance the army would have disintegrated. These were full-time soldiers, not guerillas. They, and their families, needed to eat. They could not continue indefinitely without winning.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
The is the point you are refusing to acknowledge directly.
Not only have I acknowledged it, I’ve said it directly. Of course Iraq has created jihadists. Why in the world wouldn’t it?

But that isn’t what Mazzetti was reporting when the NYT broke the story. His contention was that Iraq was primarily responsible for new jihadists and it implied no Iraq, no increase in jihadists.

I want to know the basis for his claim. What it rests on factually. I also want to know if he or you or others buying into his claim really believe that there is nothing else jihadists could have used to recruit to increase the number of jihadists.

I want to know why you think Afghanistan, in which they’d previously won against a superpower, and which had again been invaded by infidels, wouldn’t have substituted quite nicely for Iraq (especially given bin Laden’s close ties with the Taliban and Mullah Omar)?

Common sense says it would. Bin Laden’s history says it would ... that’s how he rose to prominence in the jihadist movement, for heaven sake.

Strangely, Afghanistan isn’t mentioned a single time in the NIE. Not once. Does that seem right? Does that seem a complete picture to you?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
What we’re arguing (and what the NIE asserts) is that the Iraq war has created more jihadists than there otherwise would have been, i.e., that SOME people would not have been drawn into terrorism but for our invasion of Iraq.
Yeah, and the Pope just did that too, by quoting an ancient text.

Would you agree that the Pope is also creating more jihadists by angering jihadists? Would you say that taking actions which can reasonably be expected to anger jihadis is a mistake?
 
Written By: Pablo
URL: http://
McQ,
Common sense says it would. Bin Laden’s history says it would ... that’s how he rose to prominence in the jihadist movement, for heaven sake.
And it was our "occupation" of Saudi Arabia that he used as justification for 9/11 and all that came before then. Which had nothing to do with Iraq, right? (Insert rolley eyes here)
Strangely, Afghanistan isn’t mentioned a single time in the NIE. Not once. Does that seem right? Does that seem a complete picture to you?
Wait a minute. Isn’t that where all of our troops would be if we were really serious about bin Ladin, al-Qaeda and the WOT?
 
Written By: Pablo
URL: http://
Would you say that taking actions which can reasonably be expected to anger jihadis is a mistake?
My existence as a non-Muslim, and my basic lack of respect for Islam, can be reasonably expected to anger Jihadis. I do not consider my existence a mistake.

You can’t base a foreign policy on whether or not you’re going to anger somebody, somewhere, completely at their discretion. Heck, you can’t even run a small business that way.

I don’t hesitate to call that standard of foreign policy idiotic. It breaks down under the slightest hint of examination and the only reason to propose it as a standard is either because the proposer is an idiot, or the proposer is being disingenuous and trotting out an argument that happens to favor their preconceived intentions today, with the full intention of discarding it the moment it gets in the way, because the argument itself means nothing to them and is just a convenient tool.

Taking actions to anger Jihadis is no more idiotic than taking actions that anger any other group dedicated to our destruction.
 
Written By: Jeremy Bowers
URL: http://www.jerf.org/iri
How would anyone know since Iraq and the rest of the M.E. are closed societies?
Iraq was a very open society compared to the rest of teh Middle East. It was clear to anyone who took an interest that it was a society in which religeous extremism was outlawed.

McQ, if you want a straight answer, then, yes.

For example the 7/7 bombers were on record stating that their actions were as a response to the invasion of Iraq.

 
Written By: symptomless
URL: http://
For example the 7/7 bombers were on record stating that their actions were as a response to the invasion of Iraq.
Please explain how British citizens of Pakistani descent are motivated to kill innocent fellow Britons by the removal of a dictator in Iraq. Then explain why we should be influenced by the thinking of people capable of making such judgements.
 
Written By: Pablo
URL: http://
For example the 7/7 bombers were on record stating that their actions were as a response to the invasion of Iraq.
Well, I guess there weren’t any other attacks that nothing to do with Iraq then. Oops.
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
Folks, isn’t the question of whether there are more terrorists now than when we invaded Iraq a meaningless comparison? Don’t we want to know whether there would be more or less terrorists NOW if we hadn’t invaded?

After all, we can’t do this over.

For me to take the point seriously, I want to see a plausible projection of how many terrorists there would be now based on the gaming out of some other course of action (show your work please), and I just haven’t seen it. Until then, it’s just divisive politics as usual.
 
Written By: piercello
URL: http://
McQ, if you want a straight answer, then, yes.
See, that wasn’t so hard.
For example the 7/7 bombers were on record stating that their actions were as a response to the invasion of Iraq.
And your assumption is that without Iraq, they’d never have been radicalized, correct?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Not only have I acknowledged it, I’ve said it directly. Of course Iraq has created jihadists. Why in the world wouldn’t it?

But that isn’t what Mazzetti was reporting when the NYT broke the story. His contention was that Iraq was primarily responsible for new jihadists and it implied no Iraq, no increase in jihadists.
McQ, that’s not what he implied. He reported (citing the NIE) that the Iraq war had made the terrorism problem worse. The only implication there is that had we not invaded Iraq, the problem would be less bad than it is now. He wasn’t suggesting that al Qaeda would have stopped recruiting or that other things wouldn’t have stoked Muslim anger. The assertion is that our invasion of Iraq made things worse than they otherwise would have been. That’s all. Anything else is a straw man of your own construction.

And the reason Afghanistan isn’t mentioned in the report is almost surely because it didn’t create the same response. Most Muslims saw that invasion as being a justified response to 9/11. It wasn’t seen as an act of Western agression or imperialism. In short, it caused almost no anger within the Muslim world (or at least nothing remotely comparable to Iraq). Therefore, it wasn’t a very good source of al Qaeda recruiting material.

As for Pablo et al., you’re badly missing the point. Of course we shouldn’t have a foreign policy that centers around not offending people. But invading Iraq was needlessly provocative. It hasn’t accomplished anything other than costing us blood and treasure while strengthening Iran’s position in the region. It’s one thing to stoke the ire of the Muslim world while doing something constructive; it’s a whole nother thing to generate the same animosity and not have anything constructive to show for it.
 
Written By: Anonymous Liberal
URL: http://www.anonymousliberal.com
I don’t see what all the fuss is about. After all, "jihad" refers to an internal, spiritual struggle. Why should we worry about creating more jihadists?
 
Written By: Jeff
URL: http://
I want to know the basis for his claim. What it rests on factually. I also want to know if he or you or others buying into his claim really believe that there is nothing else jihadists could have used to recruit to increase the number of jihadists.

I want to know why you think Afghanistan, in which they’d previously won against a superpower, and which had again been invaded by infidels, wouldn’t have substituted quite nicely for Iraq (especially given bin Laden’s close ties with the Taliban and Mullah Omar)?
McQ, you are right in a limited context: will there always be available excuses available for the hard-core to try and recruit sympathizers? Yes. There wil be.

Would Afghanistan have substituted for Iraq? Maybe to some extent.

On the other hand, a lot of locally specific dynamics determine the extent to which a given conflict can become a ’cause celebre’. On the balance of those locally specific dynamics, my judgement is that Iraq is more of a cause celebre then Afghanistan would have been. The Taliban, even in the Muslim world, had gone a long way to discrediting themselves amongst the non-hard-core.

A very limited and sober version of the anti-invasion case is, basically jihadism in Iraq was pretty minimal in 02. Open, extended full-military-battle counterinsurgencies are a less efficient and have much higher negative feedback then in-the-shadows work against clandestine cells. If we had to have an active military warfront, it should have been used in Afghanistan - there should be many more troops in Afghanistan then there are right now, and in Pakistan as well - and that would *still* have been problematic, but justified until Bin Laden and Zawahiri, and any longer list of relevant associates, was dead. And then a political solution should have been implemented for any remaining conflict with all due speed, with miminal large-scale combat thereafter.

Large-scale combat is not the way to win the war. It’s, at best, a toxic neccesity in drastic situations. Iraq didn’t qualify in 02. And now? If I thought it would work, I’d silence my remaining qualms. I don’t see it.

 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
Why can’t you lefties just be honest? You guys are against War. Period. Against war. You can’t speak out against Afghanistan because it’s political suicide. So you build up this nonsense alternate reality re: Iraq. Saddam rots in jail. His sons get 72 virgins that all look like Helen Thomas’ much uglier grandmother and a new govt. is installed. Yet, you say Bush is the loser here.
There ARE lefties (and libertarians) that are opposed to virtually ANY military action whatsoever, I do not disagree with this assertion. However, neither myself, nor the vast majority of liberals or libertarians fit into this group.

92% of Americans, liberals and libertarians included, supported and continue to support the Afghan invasion. For you to suggest that the fringe of liberals and libertarians are representative of the group as a whole is disingenuos.

This is a typical tactic I see in posts here, and I am not sure whether this is the result of ignorance and animous, but taking the opinions of a few and applying to anyone that disagreed with you is bad manners, bad debate, and just plain wrong. But hey, maybe it’s good politics.

Bush is the loser here because the Iraq was unnecessary to protect America, it was unnecessary to fight jihadist, and it has in fact given the jihadist exactly what they wanted. They CLAIMED that we would commit an unprovoked invasion of a Muslim nation, we had not done that, and that would generally not be American policy, and then we actually DID it. Proving al Qaeda right is a poor way to win the hearts and minds of moderate Muslims. Killing al Qaeda is understandable reaction of American even to moderate Muslims.

Afghanistan done right would eliminate more terrorists than it created and would remove a safe have for terror training recruiting and training and also be an appropriate response that moderate Muslims and non-Muslims can understand.

Iraq was none of these things. The only terrorists in Iraq were often outside of Saddam’s area of control, in the area outside of the No-Fly zone where we could have easily disable him and/or his organization, without having to expend enormous resources removing and replacing a government that was no threat to our interests.

I know you people think that we who are pointing out the mess that Iraq is are speaking from the benefit of hindsight, but McQ of all people should know that I was making this case before the war started. Others were as well. We saw that the basis for the war was the claim of WMD’s and many of saw that although lots of people thought Saddam probably had WMD’s (myself included) I opposed an invasion until or unless we had hard evidence. The government admitted that we had no hard evidence, and being that invading a sovereign nation is the most radical step a government can embark upon, I do not think it was too much to ask that we be 100% sure that Saddam had WMD’s. We did not have to confirm every drop that we claimed he may have had, but at least one significant stockpile would have gone a long way toward convincing me, and prohibiting the possibility that we would have invaded a nation based on a mistaken assumption.

Some people who had previously supported the Iraq invasion now oppose it, for various reasons, among them is the realization that what the claimed it KNEW it has only SUPPOSED. So they feel duped. They would not have minded if everything went well, but it’s not going well. And this is where we get back to Rumsfeld and Bush working harder to sell the war, knowing that they were providing incomplete information at best, dishonest at worst, and obviously expecting that the war would be over and we would be the proud owner of a brand new happy Western style democracy and no one would be asking questions about how we got into it.

Now it seems that since we are at war, we should not be asking these questions or pointing out these facts, because it only helps the enemy. I say that the very invasion itself was far more helpful to our enemies than any examples of free speech in action that we may display.

Cap





Cap

 
Written By: CaptinSarcastic
URL: http://
But invading Iraq was needlessly provocative. It hasn’t accomplished anything other than costing us blood and treasure while strengthening Iran’s position in the region...
Saddam is in the dock, Iraqis have an elected government (the only ME nation with such, which also enjoys widespread domestic support) overseeing an increasingly capable security apparatus and Iran has 150,000 American neigbors to it’s West complementing the 20,000 American neighbors to it’s East all of whom stand directly in the path of their ambitions.

What HASN’T been accomplished that ought to have been? What on Earth do you think we’ve been doing there for 3 years? And more directly to the point, where is there any evidence that this "creating terrorists" has resulted in a more capable, dangerous jihadist force?

I think you’re the one completely missing the point, Anonymous Liberal. If you think we’ve nothing to show for our efforts in Iraq, you are blind as a bat. Perhaps we can find a Kurd or a Shiite to explain it to you, since you have no conception of it. Or maybe a Marine could do it.
 
Written By: Pablo
URL: http://
On the balance of those locally specific dynamics, my judgement is that Iraq is more of a cause celebre then Afghanistan would have been. The Taliban, even in the Muslim world, had gone a long way to discrediting themselves amongst the non-hard-core.
Well you can’t know that without removing Iraq, can you? But again, history points to the ability of jihadists to recruit and finance almost at will previously for Afghanistan.

So it is assumption with no basis in fact. "Cause celebre’s" are based in whatever is available. Had not Iraq been available, Afghanistan was.

I can’t imagine it wouldn’t have been exploited just as vigorously and ruthlessly as is Iraq. But I would love to see an argument which could convince me otherwise. I don’t think it exists or would be very convincing if it did.

Thousands of Taliban fighters are presently being supplied with arms and recruits from somewhere. And as well all know, money doesn’t grow on trees.

Frankly I find the complete absence of any mention of Afghanistan within the NIE to support the argument of those who say the NIE is largely political and intended to overemphasize the impact of Iraq on the jihadist movement for a particular political reason.
Large-scale combat is not the way to win the war.
No one that I know is claiming it is. But what is being said is when you’re engaged combat, it is in your best interest to do what is necessary to win it — the combat that is.
Iraq didn’t qualify in 02.
In all honesty, that can only be said definitely by applying what we know today and not what we knew in ’02.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
And the reason Afghanistan isn’t mentioned in the report is almost surely because it didn’t create the same response.
Cartoons and Pope will do it, but infidels invading a Muslim country won’t?

Yeah, I’m buying that, AL.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Iraq didn’t qualify in ’02

In all honesty, that can only be said definitely by applying what we know today and not what we knew in ’02.
That is the biggest crock in a long history of crocks.

If we actually applied what we KNEW in ’02 back in March of ’03, no one in their right mind would have invaded Iraq.

We did NOT apply what we KNEW, we applied what we didn’t know.

The Iraq invasion was not a failure of intelligence, we KNEW what the intelligence did NOT tell us, it did NOT tell us that there was verifiable empirical evidence that Saddam had WMD stockpiles as the President claimed we KNEW Saddam had in the run up to the war.

The Iraq invasion was not a failure of intelligence, it was a triumph of stupidity.

We went to war based on a dozen worst case what if scenarios, and then applied zero worst case scenario considerations to the consequences of the invasion.

Cap
 
Written By: CaptinSarcastic
URL: http://
That is the biggest crock in a long history of crocks.
You know, you might want to get a little blood pressure check and take a time out for a cold one.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
You know, you might want to get a little blood pressure check and take a time out for a cold one.
My blood pressure is great, good for a man half my age, but thanks for asking.

A cold one sounds good... it’ll be 5 O’Clock somewhere close in about an hour.

I think I’ll enjoy a Legendary Hobgoblin Strong Dark Ale, an awesone brew, I recommend it highly.

Funny, hobgoblin reminds me of President Bush... A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.

and here I go again...

It’s still a crock, I had this discussion with you McQ, where I told you that we had no actual evidence of WMD’s (though we both agree they LIKELY DID have WMD’s) but I said that I would need actual empirical evidence to support the war. You were just so sure that the gubment was right, that you needed no actual evidence.

I don’t believe that I am smarter than the government (or you for that matter) but I just didn’t trust the way that we KNEW all these things and yet not one single iota of evidence that they were actually there was provided. I honestly thought that we DID have actual evidence that just wasn’t being shared with the public, but I felt it was necessary that something be shared to gain my support. Now we know why the presentation of evidence was never forthcoming, IT WAS NEVER THERE.

I am glad I wasn’t taken in, and obviously a lot of people who were taken in have reversed their position, but what I don’t get is why there are still folks who are not genuinely pissed off at the Bush Administration. I can understand people who might be pissed off but agree that we are there now, so we have to deal with it, but I am honestly curious why anyone would still, to this day, consider the President’s decisions to be good decisions.

The only thing I can come up with is that they didn’t care in the first place about WMD’s or al Qaeda links, they believed the PNAC theory was valid and Iraq was the place to put the theory to the test.

Cap - 40 minutes to Hobgoblin and counting



 
Written By: CaptinSarcastic
URL: http://
The only thing I can come up with is that they didn’t care in the first place about WMD’s or al Qaeda links, they believed the PNAC theory was valid and Iraq was the place to put the theory to the test.
Well if you’re memory is good enough to remember the particulars of a discussion we had however long ago, then I’m sure you’ll remember that wasn’t at all my concern about Iraq.

Which brings up an aside. If our intelligence was so woefully wrong then, why in the world is either side investing this much discussion in an NIE which is most likely garbage?

Oh, I know.

Politics.
Legendary Hobgoblin Strong Dark Ale
Mmmm. Sounds good. I’ll have to chase some down.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Which brings up an aside. If our intelligence was so woefully wrong then, why in the world is either side investing this much discussion in an NIE which is most likely garbage?
The Iraq invasion was not a failure of intelligence, we KNEW what the intelligence did NOT tell us, it did NOT tell us that there was verifiable empirical evidence that Saddam had WMD stockpiles as the President claimed we KNEW Saddam had in the run up to the war.

What the intelligence gave us, which was valuable, was reason to suspect that Saddam had WMD’s. When you have reason to suspect, you attempt to confirm your suspicion, you do not act on your suspicion.

We did NOT apply what we KNEW, we applied what we didn’t know.

The Iraq invasion was not a failure of intelligence, it was a triumph of stupidity.


Cap - 11 minutes and counting
 
Written By: CaptinSarcastic
URL: http://
Well if you’re memory is good enough to remember the particulars of a discussion we had however long ago, then I’m sure you’ll remember that wasn’t at all my concern about Iraq.
I have a great memory, most of it RAM. You did not seem to care whether Saddam had weapons or not, his history, most of 12 years previous to the war or more, was enough for you say yes to invasion.

Here’s one comment you made in regards to why you supported an invasion on Mon Aug 26, 2002 10:00 am
Or you can ask a paraphrase of the "Reagan question:

"Are we better off with him or without him?"

And my philosophy in this case comes from good
old Barney Fife: "Nip it in the bud". He has
already USED WMDs on the Kurds and the Iranians.
So there’s no question as to whether he can acquire them and if acquired, whether he’ll use them. None. Time for him to leave before he uses them on someone else.

Sometimes its just better to stomp a cockroach, ya
know?

McQ
Interestingly, Jon at that moment in time agreed with me....
(there was going to be a quote from Jon here)

I have an old quote from Jon, and I don’t think it reflects poorly on him, but you know, with all the crap that he’s going through, I don’t want to take a chance of adding to it. I don’t support his candidate, but I wish the best for him.
Just take my word for it.

Cap
 
Written By: CaptinSarcastic
URL: http://
Lexington and Concord?

Written By: glasnost
That was militia. Washington wasn’t there. And he didn’t care for guerrilla tactics.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
When George Washington used guerilla tactics (I won’t say terrorism, I’ll call him a freedom fighter) his goal was not to win, it was was not to lose and continue not losing until the British return on investment became a negative ratio.
I take it you don’t read any history.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
And my philosophy in this case comes from good old Barney Fife: "Nip it in the bud". He has already USED WMDs on the Kurds and the Iranians.

So there’s no question as to whether he can acquire them and if acquired, whether he’ll use them. None. Time for him to leave before he uses them on someone else.
Yup ... that’s entirely consistent with my stated reason for supporting the war. That and the fear he’d make them available to terrorists if he had them.

You save this stuff?
Re Jon: Just take my word for it.
Yeah, no problem there and ditto on the reason.
The Iraq invasion was not a failure of intelligence, we KNEW what the intelligence did NOT tell us, it did NOT tell us that there was verifiable empirical evidence that Saddam had WMD stockpiles as the President claimed we KNEW Saddam had in the run up to the war.
OK, but I don’t remember anyone being particularly surprised by that given he’d had a couple of years to do what was necessary to hide them. So I don’t see that argument as particularly damning.

Very few times is intelligence that exacting. Read the NIE for heaven sake.

And that’s particularly true when you have no HUMINT assets available ... and we had none.
What the intelligence gave us, which was valuable, was reason to suspect that Saddam had WMD’s. When you have reason to suspect, you attempt to confirm your suspicion, you do not act on your suspicion.
Well that’s fine in a contextless world, but in the context of that time, the decision was made to not chance the consequences of failing to act on that suspicion and I still support that.
We did NOT apply what we KNEW, we applied what we didn’t know.
Again, within the context of the time, that was enough as far as I’m concerned. You obviously don’t agree, and we’ll never resolve our difference on this one, but I still think the action was correct.

Now, go enjoy your beer.

Me? I’m thinkin’ port for a change.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Call it what you want, asymetrical warfare, guerilla warfare, I’ll ced to whatever you want to call and however you want to describe it.

So now that we are past that, the point was that survival was the strategy, not victory. As long as they could keep on fighting, they had the opportunity to recruit support internally and internationally.

I am not trying to compare the specific tactics, and I am certainly not trying to compare the goals of jihadist and George Washington, my point is simply that a weaker force does not have to win to win, and we gave the jihadists this gift.
Washington didn’t practice "asymetrical warfare, guerilla warfare". He used conventional tactics, and disparaged "riflemen" who fought in a guerilla manner.

Washington’s tactics enabled the American Revolution to prevail. Had we simply relied on the riflemen’s guerilla tactics, we would have been hard to defeat, but we could not have won unless the English gave up.

Incidently, Lexington and Concord don’t even represent true guerilla warfare.

People seem to assume they understand this type of warfare when they really don’t. Leads to asnine conclusions.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
The jihadist do NOT want us out of Iraq, it is their recruiting poster, "Come to Iraq, meet new and interesting Americans, and kill them". Terror has NEVER, EVER been aboutany kind of military victory.
Zawahiri is one who wished we were not there . . . I suspect there are others.

Actually, terror has often been part of military actions. For examply, the Islamic conquest of Spain, or the Red Army’s treatment of German women in WW2. In fact, terror + warfare has been the typical model . . .

Terror alone is sometimes done with little hope of victory, but that doesn’t mean that those who engage in it prefer it so . . .
Is that what you think we were doing when we invaded Iraq? Do you think we "went to war against the jihadists"? The only jihadists in Iraq were the people in Zarqawi’s camp in Kurdistan, a camp we could easily have taken out without an invasion. There have been all kinds of reasons put forth by the administration and its supporters for why we invaded Iraq, but I don’t think anyone has suggested it was to "go to war with the jihadists".
We were at war with them prior to Iraq. Iraq was a reasonable step after Afganistan, for a number of reasons. Now, we are at war with them in Iraq.
A very limited and sober version of the anti-invasion case is, basically jihadism in Iraq was pretty minimal in 02. Open, extended full-military-battle counterinsurgencies are a less efficient and have much higher negative feedback then in-the-shadows work against clandestine cells. If we had to have an active military warfront, it should have been used in Afghanistan - there should be many more troops in Afghanistan then there are right now, and in Pakistan as well - and that would *still* have been problematic, but justified until Bin Laden and Zawahiri, and any longer list of relevant associates, was dead.
Iraq posed a threat that, as a closed dictatorship, it could support terrorists at will. Our intelligence failures in Iraq in fact make the point that we had little idea what was going on there.

Efficiency isn’t everything (otherswise we would all drive mopeds), and there are effectiveness advantages to outright war . I happen to think that a democratic, open Iraq holds great promise—along with considerable risk. Saddam’s Iraq also had risks, of a different nature, but little promise.

The "we should have sent in more troops" argument with respect to Afganistan typiclly holds little water. You can’t magically turn each support unit into a 10th Mountain Division unit equivelent. All pieces and parts of the military are not interchangable. The question typically is: "what units do we have that can do the job we need done?" And the typical answer is: "the ones we used."
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Large-scale combat is not the way to win the war.
No one that I know is claiming it is.
If I thought this was well-understood by anyone between the National Review, the Vice President’s office, and 40% of this blog... maybe I could relax, forget about foreign policy, and go get a law degree..

But I’m glad to be here when the debate, at least at Q & O, has come around to figuring it out. Please pardon my characterization of the process.
 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://

 
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