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Where was Afghanistan in the NIE?
Posted by: McQ on Friday, September 29, 2006

I've been raising that question among the comments threads for a couple of days. All I get in reply is the contention that most Muslims felt Afghanistan was justified after 9/11 so our invasion there didn't act as a stimulus or cause for jihadi recruitment.

That doesn't make any sense to me. Afghanistan was just as much an invasion of a Muslim country as was Iraq. And in the case of Afghanistan, it was a Muslim country being run precisely as the jihadists think the world should be run.

What could be a more perfect "cause celebre" than that?

We also know that when the USSR invaded Afghanistan in the '80s, it certainly became the 'cause celebre' of the jihadist world without any problem whatsoever. Why wouldn't bin Laden and al-Qaeda, who made their terrorist bones in that conflict, use it again for the same purpose.

In answer I'm told is a small, isolated, mountainous country which is really not on anyone's radar screen.

Comes Jonah Goldberg with a little reality check:
After 9/11, there were voices on the left warning that an attack on Afghanistan would only perpetuate the dreaded "cycle of violence." Today, Democrats tout their support of that "good" war as proof they aren't soft on terrorism. Fair enough, I suppose. But guess what? That war made us less safe too - if the measure of such things is "creating more terrorists." A Gallup poll taken in nine Muslim nations in February 2002 found that more than three-fourths of respondents considered the liberation of Afghanistan unjustifiable. A mere 9 percent supported U.S. actions. That goes for famously moderate Turkey, where opposition to the U.S. ran three to one, and in Pakistan, where a mere one in 20 respondents took the American side.

In other words, before Iraq became the cause celebre of jihadists, Afghanistan was. Does that mean we shouldn't have toppled the Taliban?
Good question. Answers?

Why was Afghanistan left completely out of the NIE?

I certainly have my suspicions.
 
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Comments
When you first brought this glaring ommision up, I remembered a poll of Saudi’s (Arabs or Muslims - cant remember)in which a large number of respondents agreed with the Loose Screw Change crew blaming not the Jihadists but the Bush Admin for 9-11. If one holds this belief, one necessarily can not see any justification for the Afgan war.

And as a sidenote, while the left may benefit electorally by ignoring and in some cases tacit approval of the loose change belief, by not mocking these as the nutty conspiracy theories that they are, they lend creedence to these theories outside of the US. But then, as reactions to the various releases of the NIE suggest, the left is more concerned with beating Bush than beating the enemy that’s actually in the field.
 
Written By: bains
URL: http://
The main difference I see is, Afghanistan’s Taliban government lacked a Baath Party extension, so Europe’s Tranzi’s didn’t have a dog in that fight.

But, in Baathist Iraq in 2002, Socialists all over Europe saw a reliable antagonist to America, a recognized centralized government, a client for Europe’s exports, and a vendor willing to subsidize her energy purchases.

This explains Schroeder’s and Fischer’s foot-dragging, Chirac’s duplicitousness, British Labour’s pacifist platform, and Zapatero’s complete cave-in to domestic terrorists’ demands on Iraq.

Crazy thing is, all of these guys profess to support the UN, yet, when the call came to enforce the 18th resolution against a Baathist scofflaw, all except Britain’s Tony Blair took their ball and went home.

Funny, that.
-Steve

 
Written By: Steve
URL: http://
How can the accident of the September,11 be justified? I don’t understand!!!! This tragedy is so fresh in the mind if people that even still now the majority of them is very afraid!!!! As for me, I terribly scare of all the news about plane crashes, acts of terrorism, bombs put in the crowded place, etc. Every time I fly somewhere, I still tremble with fear, because I don’t know what it’s happening next minute!!! Especially recently I’ve suffered a great deal, flying to the Emirates!!! Something happened with the plane and a crazy man cried out that it’s a bomb!!! I even couldn’t come to myself even in the Dubai hotel we stayed in. It’s awful!!! When will people breath freely without any worry about the next day?
 
Written By: massyandra
URL: http://www.alefblog.com
McQ,

There are many salient differences between Iraq and Afghanistan. First, while the Taliban may have been popular with the already radicalized fringe fundamentalists, it wasn’t very popular with most Muslims. And because the connection between 9/11 and Afghanistan was so direct, our invasion was not seen as an act of imperialist aggression. It would not surprise me if the polls you cite are correct and large percentages of Muslims thought the invasion of Afghanistan was unjustified. But polls don’t gage levels of anger. You can think something is unjustified without thinking it is such a grave injustice as to be worth fighting and dying for.

Afghanistan was a non-Arab, backwards country far from the heart of the Middle East, and it was harboring the very people who had just launched a major attack on an American city. Our entirely predictable (indeed admirably-restrained) counter-attack was just not the kind of event likely to radicalize people who were not already radicalized or to increase the support within the Muslim world for that group.

As I mentioned before, the success of ideological terror groups like al Qaeda depends on two things: 1) the existence of a population of people generally supportive of the group’s aims and willing to support, fund, and harbor its members, and 2) a supply of sufficiently radicalized youths from which to recruit new members. These are the basic metrics.

It’s not hard to see why our invasion of Iraq would have a much greater affect on these factors than our invasion of Afghanistan. Iraq was an Arab country at the heart of the Middle East; Baghdad is a city central to Muslim history and identity. Our invasion of Iraq was seen world-over as an unprovoked action based on false pretenses. Muslims quite predictably viewed it as an act of imperialist aggression. And it resulted in American troops occupying historically significant Arab lands. That’s exactly the sort of thing that is likely to increase both of the factors I’ve discussed. As studies like the Pape study have shown, nothing causes radicalization quite like perceived illegitimate occupations of Holy Lands by foreign armies.

Our invasion of Iraq led many Muslims who were not otherwise sympathetic to al Qaeda’s lunacy to tolerate them and tacitly support them on the grounds that they are a counter to America’s aggression. It also provided a "cause celebre" for young shiftless men looking for a cause. In other words, those who were the most pissed off by the invasion (and there were many) were driven right into the welcoming arms of al Qaeda, who offered them a chance to fight against this perceived injustice.

Bottomline, our invasion of Iraq was unquestionably a much more provactive act than our invasion of Afghanistan. Our intelligence analysts are not retarded. Had their research found that our invasion of Afghanistan was a significant radicalizing event, they would have noted it. But it almost surely wasn’t, at least relatively speaking.
 
Written By: Anonymous Liberal
URL: http://www.anonymousliberal.com
I think Steve has got this just about right. Remove religion from the picutre here and look at the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq from a strictly politico-economic viewpoint and you find the answers that you are looking for. Afghanistan was a theocracy that seems to me to have been essentially fascist in its outlook (not attractive to leftists). The students who ran the Taliban did not provide a strong, central figure to defy the US and help Western socialists rally around. The Taliban was also a relatively poor government. No one figure had billions of petrodollars to influence (bribe) UN diplomats, French and German officials, or British Labour Party outcasts. Afghanistan also had no major exports at the time of the invasion (opium production was down thanks to the Taliban), so Europe and others had no economic motivation. Contrast all of this with Iraq which offered a secular, socialist government, tangible economic asset (oil), a centralized, charismatic leader (Saddam), and petrodollars for influence buying.

Regarding the polling of worldwide Muslims, you know what they say about polls? Also rememeber that despite the general lack of support for US actions in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the endless stories about young men and women rushing to the local terrorist recruiting stations, we haven’t seen a huge upspike in terrorism. If all of these untold millions were honestly that angry with the US, some action would have been taken by now. And no, I don’t believe that our security/intelligence people would be able to prevent every action of such a huge effort if it existed. They are already stretched too thin.
 
Written By: The Poet Omar
URL: http://www.asecondhandconjecture.com
Anonymous Lib,
Your analysis doesn’t add-up.

Der Spiegel, Le Monde, the AP, and the UK Telegraph aren’t Muslim, and can’t claim to be provoked by an "attack" on a Muslim "identity." Same goes for Pinch Sulzberger’s NYT, the American Democratic party, Spain’s Socialist Party, and Vladimir Putin.

Does this diverse crowd of "progressives" share a closet Muslim Identity that they feel was affronted bty Saddam’s removal?

Doubtful, but interested..
-Steve
 
Written By: Steve
URL: http://
Der Spiegel, Le Monde, the AP, and the UK Telegraph aren’t Muslim, and can’t claim to be provoked by an "attack" on a Muslim "identity." Same goes for Pinch Sulzberger’s NYT, the American Democratic party, Spain’s Socialist Party, and Vladimir Putin.

Does this diverse crowd of "progressives" share a closet Muslim Identity that they feel was affronted bty Saddam’s removal?
Huh? I’m not suggesting that the only way to view the Iraq invasion is through the lens of the Muslim world. Western critics of the invasion opposed it for very different reasons, one of them being that it was likely to stoke terrorism. But you could also oppose it on the grounds that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11 or that invading Iraq would strenghten Iran; take your pick.
 
Written By: Anonymous Liberal
URL: http://www.anonymousliberal.com
Contrast all of this with Iraq which offered a secular, socialist government, tangible economic asset (oil), a centralized, charismatic leader (Saddam), and petrodollars for influence buying.

I would agree with the economic incentives - such as oil for food and military equipment sales - for our European ’friends’ to go along with Saddam. But secular? Saddam had professed his support for Islam, to the point of saving his own blood to write a Koran (admittedly, this may have all been political rhetoric). And Socialist? The French and Swedes try to be Socialist, and they only try to take their citizens’ cash, they don’t throw them into shredders or off of buildings. I think Saddam (and his spawn) was one of the primary Facsists opperating in the world at the time we took him out.
 
Written By: S.
URL: http://
First, while the Taliban may have been popular with the already radicalized fringe fundamentalists, it wasn’t very popular with most Muslims.
Good grief, AL, how many times must it be said. Their recruiting base isn’t "most Muslims". It is the radicalized fringe fundamentalists. What they’re looking for is a reason to move them from passive support to active support.

Now, given that you recognize that the Taliban was popular with that group, how would the invasion of Afghanistan not appealed to that group in terms of them becoming active in their support?

Again, if history is any teacher, and we’re talking very recent history, one only has to look as far as the ’80s to see that Afghanistan was successfully used as a ’cause celebre’ for jihadists.

Why, especially given the government in charge this time was a jihadist government, wouldn’t they be as interested as last time?
1) the existence of a population of people generally supportive of the group’s aims and willing to support, fund, and harbor its members, and 2) a supply of sufficiently radicalized youths from which to recruit new members. These are the basic metrics.
Hello, Pakistan, anyone home?

Where is bin Laden reported to be safely hiding?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
One of the most lamentable consequences of the Iraq war is brought to the fore in this post: the lunmping of the Afgan and Iraq wars together.

In the case of Afghanistan, there was a clear connection between the Al Qaeda that attacked us and territories within Afghanistan. Muslims, and the world, could understand our reasoning, regardless of whether they agreed with us or not.

In the case of Iraq, the connection to attacks on the US are nonesistent to most and vague and convoluted for others. This war has served only to increase the scepticism of foes and freinds alike about US motives.

By now the two are, indeed, being lumped together, and the latter only serves to undermine the former. By now, it’s impossible to assess the singular impact on juhadiism of the Afghan war, because the concept itself has been polluted by the Iraq war. It would be like putting a tainted sample under the microscope.
 
Written By: Laime
URL: http://
AL,
You can think something is unjustified without thinking it is such a grave injustice as to be worth fighting and dying for.
That describes most things for the vast majority of people, Muslim or otherwise.

The relative few (non-Iraqis) who would think Iraq was unjustifiable and worth fighting and dying over would not be interested in our justifications for going to Afghanistan and ripping out the heart of the jihadist movement. It just doesn’t add up.
 
Written By: Pablo
URL: http://
Laime,
One of the most lamentable consequences of the Iraq war is brought to the fore in this post: the lunmping of the Afgan and Iraq wars together....In the case of Iraq, the connection to attacks on the US are nonesistent to most and vague and convoluted for others.
We didn’t go into Iraq because of attacks on the US, and no one with any authority has ever said we did. But without question, we have been fighting the same enemy there, as well as other groups.

The same people we took Afghanistan from want(ed) Iraq and tried to take it. It’s really not that complicated.
 
Written By: Pablo
URL: http://
PABLOE: "We didn’t go into Iraq because of
attacks on the US, and no one with any
authority has ever said we did."

Gee, I wish you would have told Bush to stop saying it a few years before he acutally ackowledged the lack of a connection. The result of his claiming exactly this, consistently and for a long time, is that 1/3 of Americans still believe in this connection.

It was the conspiracy theory, Bush style.
 
Written By: Laime
URL: http://
Anonymous Liberal
I’m not suggesting that the only way to view the Iraq invasion...
Like mine, your analysis of the differing attentions given to the Afghan and Iraqi actions by the NIE centers on expressed views and outward appearances. Perceptions. Public Relations. Good Press. Bad Press.

I think McQ wrote this post because it forces folks to admit that this discrepancy in NIE analysis does actually exist, and to ponder how the widely-divergent perceptions that surround the two theaters came to be in the first place.

One principle that I think we can all agree on: as an instrument for gauging social trends in Islamic society (ie "enforcement of Res. 1441 makes more/less terrorists"), professed empathic knowledge of Muslim "sentiment" (how they might "feel" if...) by politicians, intelligence agencies, NGO’s and media org’s are, well, just too blunt for me.

Like the mythical "Arab Street," these unquantifiable pupput-constituencies seem regularly to pop-up in places with state-regulated presses, and uncounted masses that have never, ever been polled.
-Steve
 
Written By: Steve
URL: http://
Gee, I wish you would have told Bush to stop saying it a few years before he acutally ackowledged the lack of a connection.
I’d appreciate you producing his words saying there was a connection.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
I think McQ wrote this post because it forces folks to admit that this discrepancy in NIE analysis does actually exist, and to ponder how the widely-divergent perceptions that surround the two theaters came to be in the first place.
The NIE is being put forward as the definitive word on GWoT and terrorism.

Yet it leaves an entire critical theater out of the analysis and decides that only Iraq is responsible for the growing terrorist threat.

How can anyone, knowing that, grant it anymore credibility that analysis than an assessment of WWII which would leave Japan out and blame the whole thing on Germany?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
told Bush to stop saying it
Yes, a quote would be nice.
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
Gee, I wish you would have told Bush to stop saying it a few years before he acutally ackowledged the lack of a connection.
Got a quote or ten, Laime?
 
Written By: Pablo
URL: http://
Yet it leaves an entire critical theater out of the analysis and decides that only Iraq is responsible for the growing terrorist threat.
Right. Is there nothing going on in A’stan that our intelligence community ought to have an eye on?
 
Written By: Pablo
URL: http://
Iraq was a gift to the left. Now they can snipe at America with some justification. If we had not invaded Iraq, they would be trying to snipe at Afghanistan, Pakistan, and bemoaning the hundreds of thousands of chidlren in Iraq dying under sanctions...
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
Quotes Linking Iraq/Saddam to Terrorism/Al-Qaeda

Courtesy of DemocraticUnderground. Also see uggabugga for other quotes.

All of the following is from the above DU link: (They link to the original sources)

George W. Bush

2002

"The regime has longstanding and continuing ties to terrorist groups, and there are Al Qaida terrorists inside Iraq." - George W. Bush Delivers Weekly Radio Address, White House (9/28/2002) - BushOnIraq.com

"We know that Iraq and al Qaeda have had high-level contacts that go back a decade. Some al Qaeda leaders who fled Afghanistan went to Iraq. These include one very senior al Qaeda leader who received medical treatment in Baghdad this year, and who has been associated with planning for chemical and biological attacks. We’ve learned that Iraq has trained al Qaeda members in bomb-making and poisons and deadly gases." - President Bush Outlines Iraqi Threat; Remarks by the President on Iraq, White House (10/7/2002) - Whitehouse.gov

"I think they’re both equally important, and they’re both dangerous. And as I said in my speech in Cincinnati, we will fight if need be the war on terror on two fronts. We’ve got plenty of capacity to do so. And I also mentioned the fact that there is a connection between al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein. The war on terror, Iraq is a part on the war on terror. And he must disarm." - President Condems Attack in Bali, White House (10/14/2002) - Whitehouse.gov

"This is a man who has got connections with Al Qaida. Imagine a terrorist network with Iraq as an arsenal and as a training ground, so that a Saddam Hussein could use this shadowy group of people to attack his enemy and leave no fingerprint behind. He’s a threat." - Remarks by the President in Texas Welcome, White House (11/4/2002) - Whitehouse.gov

"He’s a threat because he is dealing with Al Qaida. In my Cincinnati speech I reminded the American people, a true threat facing our country is that an Al Qaida-type network trained and armed by Saddam could attack America and leave not one fingerprint." - President Outlines Priorities, White House (11/7/2002) - BushOnIraq.gov

"He’s had contacts with Al Qaida. Imagine the scenario where an Al Qaida-type organization uses Iraq as an arsenal, a place to get weapons, a place to be trained to use the weapons. Saddam Hussein could use surrogates to come and attack people he hates." - Remarks by the President at Arkansas Welcome, White House (11/4/2002) - BushOnIraq.com

2003

"Evidence from intelligence sources, secret communications, and statements by people now in custody reveal that Saddam Hussein aids and protects terrorists, including members of al Qaeda. Secretly, and without fingerprints, he could provide one of his hidden weapons to terrorists, or help develop their own." - President Delivers "State of the Union", White House (1/28/2003) - Whitehouse.gov

"Before September the 11th, many in the world believed that Saddam Hussein could be contained. But chemical agents, lethal viruses, and shadowy terrorist networks are not easily contained. Imagine those 19 hijackers with other weapons and other planes — this time armed by Saddam Hussein. It would take one vial, one canister, one crate slipped into this country to bring a day of horror like none we have ever known." - President Delivers "State of the Union", White House (1/28/2003) - Whitehouse.gov

"Saddam Hussein has longstanding, direct and continuing ties to terrorist networks. Senior members of Iraqi intelligence and al Qaeda have met at least eight times since the early 1990s. Iraq has sent bomb-making and document forgery experts to work with al Qaeda. Iraq has also provided al Qaeda with chemical and biological weapons training. We also know that Iraq is harboring a terrorist network, headed by a senior al Qaeda terrorist planner." - President Bush: "World Can Rise to This Moment", White House (2/6/2003) - Whitehouse.gov

Saddam Hussein has longstanding, direct and continuing ties to terrorist networks. Senior members of Iraq intelligence and al Qaeda have met at least eight times since the early 1990s. Iraq has sent bomb-making and document forgery experts to work with al Qaeda. Iraq has also provided al Qaeda with chemical and biological weapons training. And an al Qaeda operative was sent to Iraq several times in the late 1990s for help in aquiring poisons and gases. We also know that Iraq is harboring a terrorist network headed by a senior al Qaeda terrorist planner." - President’s Radio Address, White House (2/8/2003) - BushOnIraq.com

"He has trained and financed al Qaeda-type organizations before, al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations." - President George Bush Discusses Iraq in National Press Conference, White House (3/6/2003) - BushOnIraq.com

"The regime . . . has aided, trained and harbored terrorists, including operatives of al Qaeda. The danger is clear: using chemical, biological or, one day, nuclear weapons, obtained with the help of Iraq, the terrorists could fulfill their stated ambitions and kill thousands or hundreds of thousands of innocent people in our country, or any other." President Says Saddam Hussein Must Leave Iraq Within 48 Hours, White House (3/17/2003) -BushOnIraq.com

"The liberation of Iraq is a crucial advance in the campaign against terror. We’ve removed an ally of al Qaeda, and cut off a source of terrorist funding. And this much is certain: No terrorist network will gain weapons of mass destruction from the Iraqi regime, because the regime is no more." - President Bush Announces Major Combat Operations in Iraq Have Ended, White House (5/1/2003) - BushOnIraq.com

"The battle of Iraq is one victory in a war on terror that began on September the 11, 2001 — and still goes on. That terrible morning, 19 evil men — the shock troops of a hateful ideology — gave America and the civilized world a glimpse of their ambitions. They imagined, in the words of one terrorist, that September the 11th would be the ’beginning of the end of America.’ By seeking to turn our cities into killing fields, terrorists and their allies believed that they could destroy this nation’s resolve, and force our retreat from the world. They have failed." - President Bush Announces Major Combat Operations in Iraq Have Ended, White House (5/1/2003) - BushOnIraq.com


Dick Cheney

2002

"In Afghanistan we found confirmation that bin Laden and the al-Qaeda network were seriously interested in nuclear and radiological weapons, and in biological and chemical agents. We are especially concerned about any possible linkup between terrorists and regimes that have or seek weapons of mass destruction." - Vice President Delivers Remarks to the National Academy of Home Builders, White House (6/6/2002) - BushOnIraq.com

"His regime has had high-level contacts with al Qaeda going back a decade and has provided training to al Qaeda terrorists." - Remarks by the Vice President at the Air National Guard Senior Leadership Conference, White House (12/2/2002) - BushOnIraq.com

"There is also a grave danger that al Qaeda or other terrorists will join with outlaw regimes that have these weapons to attack their common enemy, the United States of America. That is why confronting the threat posed by Iraq is not a distraction from the war on terror." - Remarks by the Vice President at the Air National Guard Senior Leadership Conference, White House (12/2/2002) - BushOnIraq.com

2003

"His regime aids and protects terrorists, including members of al Qaeda. He could decide secretly to provide weapons of mass destruction to terrorists for use against us." - Vice President’s Remarks at 30th Political Action Conference, White House (1/30/2003) - BushOnIraq.com

"And Saddam Hussein becomes a prime suspect in that regard because of his past track record and because we know he has, in fact, developed these kinds of capabilities, chemical and biological weapons. . . We know that he has a long-standing relationship with various terrorist groups, including the al-Qaeda organization." - Dick Cheney, Meet the Press, NBC (3/16/2003) - BushOnIraq.com

"I have argued in the past, and would again, if we had been able to pre-empt the attacks of 9/11 would we have done it? And I think absolutely. We have to be prepared now to take the kind of bold action that’s being contemplated with respect to Iraq in order to ensure that we don’t get hit with a devastating attack when the terrorists’ organization gets married up with a rogue state that’s willing to provide it with the kinds of deadly capabilities that Saddam Hussein has developed and used over the years." - Dick Cheney, Meet the Press, NBC (3/16/2003) - BushOnIraq.com

"If we’re successful in Iraq, if we can stand up a good representative government in Iraq, that secures the region so that it never again becomes a threat to its neighbors or to the United States, so it’s not pursuing weapons of mass destruction, so that it’s not a safe haven for terrorists, now we will have struck a major blow right at the heart of the base, if you will, the geographic base of the terrorists who have had us under assault now for many years, but most especially on 9/11." - Dick Cheney, Meet the Press, NBC (9/14/2003) - BushOnIraq.com

"(Since September 11) We learned more and more that there was a relationship between Iraq and al-Qaeda that stretched back through most of the decade of the ’90s, that it involved training, for example, on BW and CW, that al-Qaeda sent personnel to Baghdad to get trained on the systems that are involved. The Iraqis providing bomb-making expertise and advice to the al-Qaeda organization." - Dick Cheney, Meet the Press, NBC (9/14/2003) - BushOnIraq.com

"And the reason we had to do Iraq, if you hark back and think about that link between the terrorists and weapons of mass destruction, Iraq was the place where we were most fearful that that was most likely to occur, because in Iraq we’ve had a government — not only was it one of the worst dictatorships in modern times, but had oftentimes hosted terrorists in the past . . . but also an established relationship with the al Qaeda organization . . . ." - Vice President Dick Cheney Remarks at Luncheon for Congressman Jim Gerlach, White House (10/3/2003) - BushOnIraq.com

"(I)f we had not paid any attention to the fact that al Qaeda was being hosted in Northeastern Iraq, part of poisons network producing ricin and cyanide that was intended to be used in attacks both in Europe, as well as in North Africa and ignored it, we would have been derelict in our duties and responsibilities." - Vice President Dick Cheney Remarks at Luncheon for Congressman Jim Gerlach, White House (10/3/2003) - BushOnIraq.com

"He cultivated ties to terror, hosting the Abu Nidal organization, supporting terrorists, making payments to the families of suicide bombers in Israel. He also had an established relationship with al Qaeda, providing training to al Qaeda members in the areas of poisons, gases, making conventional bombs." - Remarks by Vice President Dick Cheney at the Heritage Foundation, White House (10/10/2003) - BushOnIraq.com

"Saddam Hussein had a lengthy history of reckless and sudden aggression. He cultivated ties to terror — hosting the Abu Nidal organization, supporting terrorists, and making payments to the families of suicide bombers. He also had an established relationship with Al Qaida — providing training to Al Qaida members in areas of poisons, gases and conventional bombs. He built, possessed, and used weapons of mass destruction." - Richard B. Cheney Delivers Remarks at the James A. Baker, III, Institute for Public Policy, White House (10/18/2003) - BushOnIraq.com

2004

"We’ll find ample evidence confirming the link, that is the connection if you will between al Qaida and the Iraqi intelligence services. They have worked together on a number of occasions." - Transcript of interview with Vice President Dick Cheney, Rocky Mountain News (1/9/2004) - BushOnIraq.com

"We did have reporting that was public, that came out shortly after the 9/11 attack, provided by the Czech government, suggesting there had been a meeting in Prague between Mohammed Atta, the lead hijacker, and a man named al-Ani (Ahmed Khalil Ibrahim Samir al-Ani), who was an Iraqi intelligence official in Prague, at the embassy there, in April of ’01, prior to the 9/11 attacks. It has never been — we’ve never been able to collect any more information on that. That was the one that possibly tied the two together to 9/11." - Transcript of Interview with Vice President Dick Cheney, Rocky Mountain News (1/9/2004) - BushOnIraq.com

"Saddam Hussein had a lengthy history of reckless and sudden aggression. His regime cultivated ties to terror, including the al Qaeda network, and had built, possessed, and used weapons of mass destruction." - Richard B. Cheney Delivers Remarks to the Los Angeles World Affairs Council, White House (1/14/2004) - BushOnIraq.com

"Saddam Hussein had a lengthy history of reckless and sudden aggression. His regime cultivated ties to terror, including the al Qaeda network, and had built, possessed, and used weapons of mass destruction." - Richard B. Cheney Delivers Remarks to Veterans at the Arizona Wing Museum, White House (1/15/2004) - BushOnIraq.com

"I continue to believe. I think there’s overwhelming evidence that there was a connection between al-Qaeda and the Iraqi government. We’ve discovered since documents indicating that a guy named Abdul Rahman Yasin, who was a part of the team that attacked the World Trade Center in ’93, when he arrived back in Iraq was put on the payroll and provided a house, safe harbor and sanctuary. That’s public information now. So Saddam Hussein had an established track record of providing safe harbor and sanctuary for terrorists. . . . I mean, this is a guy who was an advocate and a supporter of terrorism whenever it suited his purpose, and I’m very confident that there was an established relationship there." - Dick Cheney, Morning Edition, NPR (1/22/2004) - BushOnIraq.com
 
Written By: Tito
URL: http://
Quotes Linking Iraq/Saddam to Terrorism/Al-Qaeda...blah blah blah
If you’re going to move goal posts, you could at least try to be clever about it.

Btw, from an old wapo article:
A number of public-opinion experts agreed that the public automatically blamed Iraq, just as they would have blamed Libya if a similar attack had occurred in the 1980s. There is good evidence for this: On Sept. 13, 2001, a Time/CNN poll found that 78 percent suspected Hussein’s involvement — even though the administration had not made a connection. The belief remained consistent even as evidence to the contrary emerged.
The poll referenced is here. There is some additional interesting post-9/11 polling results here. The Sept. 14-15, 2001 CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll is of particular interest.
 
Written By: err
URL: http://
Tito, we’re looking for quotes in which someone in the administration connects the attacks on the US to Saddam Huessien’s Iraq. If you come across any of those, please let us know. None of those 32 quotes do that, but thanks for playing.
 
Written By: Pablo
URL: http://
I truly, honestly, cannot believe that there are people, today, now, willing to argue that Iraq was not a recruiting coup for al Qaeda exponentially more inflammatory than the retaliatory invasion of Afghanistan. Anonymous made it perfectly clear, I could add more, but what’s the point, arguments to contrary all add up to willful sophistry.

Seriously, the suggestion that since Muslims were opposed to the Afghanistan invasion and they were opposed to the Iraq invasion the two actions are remotely equal in effect is ridiculous.

And just because someone recognizes that the overall affect of the Iraq invasion was negative for the US and will be a negative for the foreseeable future in terms of creating new jihadist vs eliminating existing jihadists, does not mean that they would or should be of the opinion that any action that would or should be avoided it would offend Muslims. That is logically inconsistent. The argument using that logic essentially suggests that if one finds that the war in Iraq to have radicalized Muslims to become terrorists to a much greater extent than it reduced any threats, than they must oppose any action that could possibly radicalize Muslims. It is a strawman argument.

You can’t argue the question on it’s merit, so you exagerrate the point we are making and make it into a caricature of the argument (this would be the strawman) we are presenting, which is much easier to knock down.

It can be true, and indeed is true, that one can support actions that can radicalize Muslims if the action holistically will reduce the threat.

Iraq invasion - did not reduce threat to America + did radicalize Muslims = net effect is a greater threat; Therefore it was bad policy

Afghan invasion - Did reduce threat to America + Did radicalize Muslims (though fewer than Iraq) = Net effect is a reduced threat; Therefore good policy

You try it - The nation of Iran supports jihadists, if we nuke the entire country, we will remove a regime that supports jihadists. Would the net effect be an increased threat or decreased threat?

Now consider if we just destroy Iran’s nuclear capabilities? What’s the net effect? Better or worse than the example above?

Now consider if Iran agrees not to pursue nuclear capabilities? What’s the net effect, better or worse than above?

This may be oversimplified, but it is the logic that matters here, after all of the variables are considered, it must still come down to a logical conclusion of what the effect will be.

The NIE does not address the "cause celebre" aspect of Afghanistan because it is a given that weakening al Qaeda to the point of eliminating as a functional hierarchical organization reduces the threat to a greater extent than the degree to which it radicalizes Muslims. If we had nuked Afghanistan, that would change the dynamic. There is no sound argument to this end that can made with respect to Iraq.

We that supported the Afghanistan invasion and opposed the Iraq invasion are not peaceniks or "blame America firsters", we simply applied critical thinking.


Cap
 
Written By: CaptinSarcastic
URL: http://
Good grief, AL, how many times must it be said. Their recruiting base isn’t "most Muslims". It is the radicalized fringe fundamentalists. What they’re looking for is a reason to move them from passive support to active support
.
McQ, sometimes I feel you don’t even read my posts all the way through before responding. The feelings of most Muslims are very important, and for a number of reasons, all of which I explained. First, terrorists can only operate successfully when a sufficient percentage of the population openly or tacitly supports their aims (or at least shares their primary greivance). Just think of Hezbollah in Southern Lebanon. They would be nothing if they didn’t have the tacit support of much of the surrounding population. So it’s not just the militantly radicalized folks you have to worry about. And with respect to the radicalized fringe, I think you have it right when you say that we need to focus on factors that cause them "to move from passive support to active support"

My contention is that our invasion of Afghanistan was just not the sort of event that was likely to trigger large numbers of people to "move from passive support to active support." Iraq was. You write:
The NIE is being put forward as the definitive word on GWoT and terrorism.

Yet it leaves an entire critical theater out of the analysis and decides that only Iraq is responsible for the growing terrorist threat.

How can anyone, knowing that, grant it anymore credibility that analysis than an assessment of WWII which would leave Japan out and blame the whole thing on Germany?
McQ, respectfully, based on the most simplistic of analysis and a bad analogy, you’re dismissing an intelligence assessment that represents the consensus view of all 14 of our intelligence agencies, all of which are privy to infinitely more information than you. Let’s use Occam’s Razor here. Is it more likely that all of our professional intelligence analysts simply failed to factor the war in Afghanistan into their analysis, or that they did and found it not to be a very significant factor. I’m guessing the latter.
 
Written By: Anonymous Liberal
URL: http://www.anonymousliberal.com
Only Iraq, Iran and Syria got any mention in the Declassified Key Judgments of the National Intelligence Estimate Trends in Global Terrorism: Implications for the United States dated April 2006
 
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
This is very interesting, and indicative of the dishonesty surrounding the Bush policy.

On the heels of being provided WH quotes linking Iraq with the people that attacked America...
Tito, we’re looking for quotes in which someone in the administration connects the attacks on the US to Saddam Huessien’s Iraq. If you come across any of those, please let us know. None of those 32 quotes do that, but thanks for playing.
So the argument here seems to be that if Bush did not directly assert that Iraq was to some extent RESPONSIBLE for the attack on America, but by asserting Iraq was involved with people who attacked America, Bush was doing nothing to advance the opinion among Americans that Iraq WAS involved with 9/11.

And this...
A number of public-opinion experts agreed that the public automatically blamed Iraq, just as they would have blamed Libya if a similar attack had occurred in the 1980s. There is good evidence for this: On Sept. 13, 2001, a Time/CNN poll found that 78 percent suspected Hussein’s involvement — even though the administration had not made a connection. The belief remained consistent even as evidence to the contrary emerged.
So we take these two factors, the likelihood tha Americans would automatically blame Iraq, and then the Bush administrations repeated statements associating Iraq with the people who attacked America, and what is the result?

Please, some Bush fan out there, tell me you think this is coincidental.

I need a good laugh.

Cap
 
Written By: CaptinSarcastic
URL: http://
McQ, sometimes I feel you don’t even read my posts all the way through before responding. The feelings of most Muslims are very important, and for a number of reasons, all of which I explained.
Speaking of reading things all the way through, did you happen to note this in the post?
A Gallup poll taken in nine Muslim nations in February 2002 found that more than three-fourths of respondents considered the liberation of Afghanistan unjustifiable. A mere 9 percent supported U.S. actions. That goes for famously moderate Turkey, where opposition to the U.S. ran three to one, and in Pakistan, where a mere one in 20 respondents took the American side.
Does "three-quarters" sound like "most Muslims" being sympathetic? So do me a favor, using your criteria, explain away over 75% of "most Muslims" considering the "liberation of Afghanistan unjustifiable"? Does that sound like support to you? Does it sound like majority support?
So it’s not just the militantly radicalized folks you have to worry about. And with respect to the radicalized fringe, I think you have it right when you say that we need to focus on factors that cause them "to move from passive support to active support"
Again, given what I’ve quoted, explain away their support vis a vis invading Afghanistan. Contra your claim that "most Muslims" supported it, the data seems to say they didn’t. And if that’s your condition for increasing the number of terrorists, i.e., supported by more than just the radical populations, it appears that criteria is met.
My contention is that our invasion of Afghanistan was just not the sort of event that was likely to trigger large numbers of people to "move from passive support to active support."
Yet you provide nothing but your contention while I provide numbers which appear to successfully rebut your contention.
McQ, respectfully, based on the most simplistic of analysis and a bad analogy, you’re dismissing an intelligence assessment that represents the consensus view of all 14 of our intelligence agencies, all of which are privy to infinitely more information than you.
And with all due respect to you, AL, you cannot dismiss an entire theater of war and pretend that only one portion of the whole (Iraq) is having the effect you assert when, given the numbers from the poll provided and the history of Afghanistan and jihadists, it defies rational analysis.

 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Tito, we’re looking for quotes in which someone in the administration connects the attacks on the US to Saddam Huessien’s Iraq. If you come across any of those, please let us know. None of those 32 quotes do that, but thanks for playing.
So let me get this straight: You honestly believe that the only thing that qualifies is that "(Iraq/Hussien) attacked us directly on 9/11 and that is why we are invading." Seriously?

Saying "Al-Qaeda attacked us and Saddam aids them" isn’t close enough?

This quote (from above) "Evidence from intelligence sources, secret communications, and statements by people now in custody reveal that Saddam Hussein aids and protects terrorists, including members of al Qaeda"

This says "Saddam aids and protects the people that attacked us on 9/11". (Which was wrong, but beside the point now)

And you are saying that doesn’t qualify as a quote "in which someone in the administration connects the attacks on the US to Saddam Huessien’s Iraq"?!

We can go even further, to be pedantic. There is a quote (again, already above) that actually uses the word "connection".
"And I also mentioned the fact that there is a connection between al Qaeda [the people that attacked us on 9/11] and Saddam Hussein. The war on terror, Iraq is a part on the war on terror." (emphasis and [insertion] mine)

WTF?!

 
Written By: Tito
URL: http://
So we take these two factors, the likelihood tha Americans would automatically blame Iraq, and then the Bush administrations repeated statements associating Iraq with the people who attacked America, and what is the result?
Cap, scroll up and look at err’s post which describes (and links to) a Sept 13 ’01 poll that says 78% of Americans believed Saddam was involved in the attacks 2 days prior.

That belief took hold in a big way pretty much immediately. If you can show us something that the administration did on 9/11 or 9/12 to create that perception, then you can tell us how ridiculous it has to be to think it was not coincidental to what you describe. Then you can tell us how they made it happen.

Logic. Try it sometime. Also, be willing to consider more than 2 factors at a time. Sometimes you need to do that. Then you can laugh.
 
Written By: Pablo
URL: http://
Tito,
So let me get this straight: You honestly believe that the only thing that qualifies is that "(Iraq/Hussien) attacked us directly on 9/11 and that is why we are invading." Seriously?
When the debate on the table stems from this:
(Laime) In the case of Iraq, the connection to attacks on the US are nonesistent to most and vague and convoluted for others.
followed by this:
(Pablo) We didn’t go into Iraq because of attacks on the US, and no one with any authority has ever said we did.
and this:
(Laime) Gee, I wish you would have told Bush to stop saying it a few years before he acutally ackowledged the lack of a connection.
then yes, any qualifying quote should contain an administration official saying we were going into Iraq because of a connection between them and attacks on the US. If you’d like to have a different argument in which you can use those quotes, feel free to start it.


 
Written By: Pablo
URL: http://
Actually, I take that back. It would have to be Bush saying it to prove Laime’s point.

Is anyone going to do it?
 
Written By: Pablo
URL: http://
Does "three-quarters" sound like "most Muslims" being sympathetic? So do me a favor, using your criteria, explain away over 75% of "most Muslims" considering the "liberation of Afghanistan unjustifiable"? Does that sound like support to you? Does it sound like majority support?
McQ, I acknowledged your poll data in my original comment. I wrote:
It would not surprise me if the polls you cite are correct and large percentages of Muslims thought the invasion of Afghanistan was unjustified. But polls don’t gage levels of anger. You can think something is unjustified without thinking it is such a grave injustice as to be worth fighting and dying for.
The question is not whether Muslims think the invasion was justified in some binary sense. The question is, as you put it, whether they think it was so unjustified that it motivates them to go from passive to active support for terrorist groups. Polls don’t tell you how unjustified people think something is. Moreover, 25% percent support for the invasion of Afghanistan isn’t a negligible number. I bet those same polls would show far less Muslim support for the Iraq invasion.

Let me ask you this McQ. Assuming you accept the premise that our actions are capable of stoking the terrorist threat—i.e., that the policies we pursue can affect the number of angry young Muslims actively trying to do us harm—what possible reason would any reasonable person have to think our invasion of Afghanistan was anywhere near as provocative as our invasion of Iraq? As Cap. Sarc. put it:
the suggestion that since Muslims were opposed to the Afghanistan invasion and they were opposed to the Iraq invasion the two actions are remotely equal in effect is ridiculous.
I’d have to agree, and suspect most of our intelligence community would too. What possible basis do you have for thinking these two actions had even close to the same effect on Muslim thinking?
 
Written By: Anonymous Liberal
URL: http://www.anonymousliberal.com
The question is not whether Muslims think the invasion was justified in some binary sense. The question is, as you put it, whether they think it was so unjustified that it motivates them to go from passive to active support for terrorist groups. Polls don’t tell you how unjustified people think something is. Moreover, 25% percent support for the invasion of Afghanistan isn’t a negligible number. I bet those same polls would show far less Muslim support for the Iraq invasion.
You’re kidding, right? You’re now saying that the difference between non-motiviation and motivation is that 25%? How about Pakistan at 20 to 1? Think there may be a few recruits in the woodwork there?

A billion Muslims and 250,000,000 think it was justified but 750,000,000 don’t and somehow there’s no base of support for motivating radicals.

However, if Iraq had, say 85% or even 90% thinking it wasn’t justified, well that does, somehow, give us enough of a base to conclude that it is the primary driver in all this new terrorism.

Amazing.
Let me ask you this McQ. Assuming you accept the premise that our actions are capable of stoking the terrorist threat—i.e., that the policies we pursue can affect the number of angry young Muslims actively trying to do us harm—what possible reason would any reasonable person have to think our invasion of Afghanistan was anywhere near as provocative as our invasion of Iraq? As Cap. Sarc. put it:
Let me first say Cap’s assertion is ridiculous on its face, which is why I skipped it.

But to your question, short of capitulating to all their demands, probably nothing. When you can’t write an article critical of Islam without receiving death threats and having your picture and directions to your how posted on jihadi websites, one might conclude that we’re not dealing with reasonable people.

And if we’re not dealing with reasonable people who take provocations such as articles in newspapers as a basis for murder, it doesn’t at all seem unreasonable to believe Afghanistan was indeed as big a provocation as Iraq.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Iraq invasion - did not reduce threat to America + did radicalize Muslims = net effect is a greater threat; Therefore it was bad policy
In your opinion.

Iraq invasion - did reduce threat to America from Saddam’s regime, allowed US to rebase out of Saudi Arabia, placed large number of US forces on the borders of Syria and Iran, did radicalize muslims = net effect is less threat.
 
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
I’d have to agree, and suspect most of our intelligence community would too. What possible basis do you have for thinking these two actions had even close to the same effect on Muslim thinking?
I don’t think the NIE is meant to address Muslim public opinion, but the level of propensity toward active jihadism.

I can’t find a convincing rationale by which one would undertake jihad against us because of Iraq, but would not be just as offended by Afghanistan, unless the jihadi in question is Iraqi. Why would a Yemeni or Pakistani or British RoP’er differentiate between them? Can you imagine one of these people believing that we were justified to go into Afghanistan? I can’t.

 
Written By: Pablo
URL: http://
You’re kidding, right? You’re now saying that the difference between non-motiviation and motivation is that 25%? How about Pakistan at 20 to 1? Think there may be a few recruits in the woodwork there?

A billion Muslims and 250,000,000 think it was justified but 750,000,000 don’t and somehow there’s no base of support for motivating radicals.

However, if Iraq had, say 85% or even 90% thinking it wasn’t justified, well that does, somehow, give us enough of a base to conclude that it is the primary driver in all this new terrorism.

Amazing.
McQ, you’re totally mischaracterizing what I wrote. I was making two separate points. First, I was pointing out that a straight up-or-down poll question isn’t a very helpful measure of how radicalizing something is. For instance, it wouldn’t surprise me if 75% of the Muslim world told pollsters that America’s unilateral retreat from the Kyoto Protocol was unjustified. But I doubt that sentiment is causing angry young men to join al Qaeda. What’s relevant is how angry something makes people, not whether they approve of it in some intellectual sense.

My second point, which you conflate with the first one, is that even by the crude measurement of an up-or-down poll question, the difference between Afghanistan and Iraq is evident. I highly doubt that 25% of the Muslim world approved of our invasion of Iraq. That alone underscores the difference.

Finally, I was not claiming that no one was radicalize by our invasion of Afghanistan. For instance, I suspect that in the Taliban-populated areas of Afghanistan and Western Pakistan, a number of angry young people were motivated to fight. My claim was only that our invasion of Iraq was a much more radicalizing event than our invasion of Afghanistan. This is particularly true with respect to Muslims raised in the West (i.e. Europe and North America). The London and Madrid bombers, for instance, seemed to be much more incensed about Iraq than anything else.
 
Written By: Anonymous Liberal
URL: http://www.anonymousliberal.com
Let me first say Cap’s assertion is ridiculous on its face, which is why I skipped it.
My assertion was that when weighing actions, the risk and reward should be analyzed and that in the case of Iraq, it was a negative conclusion, in the case of Afghanistan, it was positive.

In order for you to argue that this is ridiculous on the face, you would have to be to show what threat we reduced in exchange for providing long term jihadist propaganda, sacrificing the lives of thousands of US Servicemen, investing hundred of billions of dollars, and creating the circumstances under which between 40,000 and 150,000 innocent Iraqi’s were killed.

I know, that’s a bit overwhelming for you, I don’t blame you for skipping this and going after the low hanging fruit.

Cap
 
Written By: CaptinSarcastic
URL: http://
First, I was pointing out that a straight up-or-down poll question isn’t a very helpful measure of how radicalizing something is.
Says you. What have you got backing the NIE assertions? Not even that.
My claim was only that our invasion of Iraq was a much more radicalizing event than our invasion of Afghanistan.
Why? I know you’ve claimed it but you’ve never offered anything I consider to be a valid argument.
My second point, which you conflate with the first one, is that even by the crude measurement of an up-or-down poll question, the difference between Afghanistan and Iraq is evident. I highly doubt that 25% of the Muslim world approved of our invasion of Iraq. That alone underscores the difference.
Not if you’re blowing off a poll that gives a 75+% disapproval on Afghanistan it wouldn’t.

You keep asserting all of this about Iraq, but unlike me, you’ve yet to produce a shred of data or the like to back it. And you just blow off a poll that says the vast majority of the Muslim world found our invasion of Afghanistan to be unjustified claiming, how I’m not sure, that it probably wasn’t enough to radicalize anyone.

Poppycock.
Finally, I was not claiming that no one was radicalize by our invasion of Afghanistan. For instance, I suspect that in the Taliban-populated areas of Afghanistan and Western Pakistan, a number of angry young people were motivated to fight. My claim was only that our invasion of Iraq was a much more radicalizing event than our invasion of Afghanistan.
And thus far all you’ve done is claim that.
This is particularly true with respect to Muslims raised in the West (i.e. Europe and North America). The London and Madrid bombers, for instance, seemed to be much more incensed about Iraq than anything else.
And cartoons. And the Pope. And Theo van Gogh. And French cars (ok, labor laws). And op/ed writers.

If those things will radicalize Muslims into fits of wanton destruction and murder, why wouldn’t Afghanistan be even more of an incentive?

Your argument is a whole lot about what seems and very short on anything to back its assertions. I have, otoh, offered numbers in the millions to back mine.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
My assertion was that when weighing actions, the risk and reward should be analyzed and that in the case of Iraq, it was a negative conclusion, in the case of Afghanistan, it was positive.
And that has zip to do with how radical Islamists would view either thus making the point ridiculous.
I know, that’s a bit overwhelming for you, I don’t blame you for skipping this and going after the low hanging fruit.
Yup ... I’ve learned the stuff on the ground is usually rotten, and you’re "overwhelming" comment was no exception.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
BACK TO SQUARE 1:
This started as an interesting question about NIE and Afghanistan. It proceded to the customary brawl. That’s a shame, because it was an interesting question. I proposed that, regrettably, you can no longer separate Afghan warring from Iraq warring in opinion polls or NIEs.
Regarding the arguments of whether or not the admiistration claimed a connecion between 9/11 and Iraq, your demands for quotes is a gimmick that works only on those that see it your way to beging with. It’s the usual attack by deflection.

Consider this: In a court of law, if an attorney raises an eyebrow evry time a witness speaks, that eyebrow will not be in any transcript of the proceedings. But the raised eyebrow will have been a statement as much as any declarative sentence.

If I say ’black cat’ and ’dead canary’ in the same praragraphs many times, there will be a suspicion raised that the black cat had something to do with the dead canary. This administration is very smart about framing, messaging and marketing. It doesn’t take an ABC primer to get the message.
 
Written By: Laime
URL: http://
I’d still be interested to see suggestions of how the effects of the two wars on jihadiism or on our security can be saparated in any meningful way now.
 
Written By: Laime
URL: http://
Ok, let me explain this once, in my self appointed role as spokesman for the entire right-wingnutosphere which is identified as anything right of Joe Lieberman:


THE IRAQ INVASION GAVE ISLAMIC EXTREMISTS SOMETHING ELSE TO COMPLAIN ABOUT.


We all know this. Thank you for listening.
I’d still be interested to see suggestions of how the effects of the two wars on jihadiism or on our security can be saparated in any meningful way now.
They shouldn’t be.
 
Written By: Pablo
URL: http://
Regarding the arguments of whether or not the admiistration claimed a connecion between 9/11 and Iraq, your demands for quotes is a gimmick that works only on those that see it your way to beging with. It’s the usual attack by deflection.
Why is that? If he actually said that, it would be public record. You made the claim. Why is it a gimmick to ask you to prove your claim? Give us the "black cat" and "canary" version if it exists and let us decide.

But give us something other than just an assertion.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
I’d still be interested to see suggestions of how the effects of the two wars on jihadiism or on our security can be separated in any meaningful way now.
Yes, yes, yes!

You win the prize, Laime.

You figured it out.

 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
A GREAT post and interesting point McQ. As with the Iraq war, I am seeing both sides of the argument here. I believe that the Iraq war was far more radicalizing for the islamonuts than Afghanistan for the reasons that anonymous liberal pointed out. Iraq is the (islamonut wet dream) future home of the third or fourth caliphate (I don’t know which one and don’t really care) and the importance of Baghdad can’t be under-estimated. But, on the flip side, of course the crazies were radicalized and frothed into a frenzy when we, rightly so, blew the taliban back to the mountains. I think the secular liberals (and maybe secular conservatives) just don’t get it that it is ALL about religion to the crazies. EVERYTHING the west does is an attack. That has been borne out by the reactions to the cartoons, Theo Van Gogh, the Pope, Abu Ghraib, etc...So of course attacking a Muslim country stirred the hornets nest. Whether it was Afghanistan or Iraq. My question is, who cares? If allegedly non-crazy muslims went nuts and became jihadist because we removed a murdering dictator, maybe they weren’t so "moderate" or non-crazy afterall? IMO, the whole "we created, or stirred up, more terrorists due to the Iraq war" is bogus. Being against the war because it wasn’t worth one American soldier’s life to try and create a democracy is completely valid, but to worry about creating more terrorists is naive and just plain not worth the anxiety.
 
Written By: HappyInTheMiddle
URL: http://
MCQ:
Just refer to any public speech by Cheney, Bush & Co. in the run-up to the war.
The best proof is that the first (only?) time Bush said explicitely that there was NO connection was a trow-away line as he was leaving the podium after a press conference. And that was only a few months ago. It made all the evening news reports, so it came as a surprise to many. Kudos to his management of the message up to that point.

Back to the original question of separating the effects of the two wars. If I figured ’it’ out, then my ’it’ is entirely different from yours.
You say they shouldn’t be separated; I say they can’t be, and it’s too bad.

War is a horrendous thing. Clarity of justification and purpose is vitally important to win. While we had clarity in Afghanistan, we lacked it badly in Iraq. What was it, WMD, nuclear clouds, democracy? Afghanistan had training camps. Iraq had suspicions. Big difference.
Even if it’s all so clear to you, it’s not clear to the rest of the world, and so they imagine their own reasons for our action; oil, world imperialism, revenge, you name it.
And so we lost allies. It’s a lonely future I see for the US. And it’s the future that worries me. The past is important only in what we learn from it, and that should include examples to consider for emulation, but, importantly, also what not to do and how not to do it.
I refuse to defend the past for the sake of political loyalties. That’s my ’it’. Get it?
 
Written By: Laime
URL: http://
Just refer to any public speech by Cheney, Bush & Co. in the run-up to the war.
Come on, you can do better than that. I heard/read all of them and I don’t remember it that way.
You say they shouldn’t be separated; I say they can’t be, and it’s too bad.
Actually I’m saying there is no way, other than making a scientific wild-assed guess, to know. But regardless, you can’t leave Afghanistan out of the mix (as the NIE did).

I’m also saying that if there wasn’t an Iraq we’d still have a growing terrorism threat.

That’s because we’ve taken up arms against them (in Afghanistan).
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
You’re right, McQ, there would still be terrorism.
But we would have only one war to fight, not decimating our military forces. And,we would not be fighting alone (Don’t bother mentioning the ’coalition’ forces in Iraq). Most important, we would have retained the clarity of purpost to keep support of our own public and of allies.
The point: If we’re going to fight, it’s important to win. Iraq lowered our chances of success on either front.
Be happy with your trust in the Iraq venture and in this administration. Having, I suspect, lived longer and experienced more than you, I see things otherwise. And what I see is scary as h..l.
 
Written By: Laime
URL: http://
Wow. I didn’t have to make anti-Iraq comments on this post at all. That slot is well and truly taken up.

For the record, I don’t know why Afghanistan wasn’t in the NIE either, McQ. For a more prosaic counterpoint, though:

#1. We saw only a BushAdmin partial declassification. Maybe it’s buried somewhere else.

#2. Whatever non-obvious reason they had for not discussing Afghanistan, I don’t think it’s obvious that that is a pro-liberal slant. After all, the consensus on Aghanistan is that it’s been deteriorating, and that we could use some more troops in there. Talking about Afghanistan in the NIE could provide plenty of liberal fodder.

 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
Oh, but to answer the question:

In other words, before Iraq became the cause celebre of jihadists, Afghanistan was. Does that mean we shouldn’t have toppled the Taliban?

No. Because the people that blew up American skyscrapers were there.

Everyone in the room agrees that - especially if you’re a pissant-third-world-country with not much capacity for resistance - if you kill 3000 Americans on their home soil, you deserved to get invaded.

Here’s a thought for you:

When a significant act of war is made on America, that provides a window in which to act with aggressive military force with relative legitimacy.

Actions perceived as outside that window gain more cause celebre movement than actions within it.

 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
My assertion was that when weighing actions, the risk and reward should be analyzed and that in the case of Iraq, it was a negative conclusion, in the case of Afghanistan, it was positive.


And that has zip to do with how radical Islamists would view either thus making the point ridiculous.
I tried to post a response, but there seemed to be a blacklisted term and I can’t figure out what it is.

 
Written By: CaptinSarcastic (yeah, that one)
URL: http://
McQ,

Come on, you can do better than that. I heard/read all of them and I don’t remember it that way.
He’s also completely ignoring the poll err posted upthread. A majority of Americans thought Saddam was involved, and they thought that without Bush telling it to them. Laime, glasnost et al simply refuse to believe what the evidence clearly shows because it ruins their BUSH LIED talking point. So they’ll pretend to have other evidence, which they can’t exactly point to...but it’s really convincing! Trust them!

Laime,
You’re right, McQ, there would still be terrorism.
But we would have only one war to fight, not decimating our military forces.
We are only fighting one war and it is not decimating our forces, by any stretch of the imagination.

glasnost,

#1. We saw only a BushAdmin partial declassification. Maybe it’s buried somewhere else.
No, first we saw the NYT "declassification".
Talking about Afghanistan in the NIE could provide plenty of liberal fodder.
It’s a CLASSIFIED document. It isn’t supposed to be political and it isn’t intended to provide fodder for anyone because NO ONE IS SUPPOSED TO BE TALKING ABOUT IT. Remember?
Actions perceived as outside that window gain more cause celebre movement than actions within it.
We’re not talking about opinion. We’re talking about people who decide they are willing to DIE fighting the great Satan.
 
Written By: Pablo
URL: http://
Everyone in the room agrees that - especially if you’re a pissant-third-world-country with not much capacity for resistance - if you kill 3000 Americans on their home soil, you deserved to get invaded.
That’s the point, glasnost ... we’re not talking about people in the room, are we?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Its simple. We could not be defeated in Afghanistan, but we can be in Iraq. Why? We could have sustained 10k, 20k deaths in Afghanistan and we would still have the heart for the fight because they were directly linked to 9/11. Iraq was not, so we could not take upwards of 5k deaths without cutting and running. In other words, they know that the only way to defeat america is to convince america to defeat itself.
 
Written By: mcgurk
URL: http://
Its simple. We could not be defeated in Afghanistan, but we can be in Iraq.
It may be simple but it has nothing to do with the subject.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
It isn’t even that simple. Afghanistan has a bumper poppy crop this year, and the money ain’t going to the good guys.

Even nature sucks sometimes.
 
Written By: Pablo
URL: http://

 
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