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The "real" war on Terror?
Posted by: McQ on Friday, March 30, 2007

Charles Krauthammer reminds us of something Speaker Pelosi said not to long ago:
"Our bill calls for the redeployment of U.S. troops out of Iraq so that we can focus more fully on the real war on terror, which is in Afghanistan."

— House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, March 8
Why, pray tell, is the war in Afghanistan the "real" war on terror, and does or doesn't Speaker Pelosi understand that in the big scheme of things, Afghanistan is really only one battle in that war?

It's statements like that which make me doubt that Pelosi has an understanding of what the GWoT entails. And the actions of Democrats recently as it pertains to Iraq and funding that war make me doubt their understanding of the stakes even more.

Says Krauthammer:
Of all the arguments for pulling out of Iraq, the greater importance of Afghanistan is the least serious.
Of course it is. But what it provides is national security cover. It is useful to the Democrats to claim that Afghanistan is important to cover themselves when the claim is made their all a bunch of wimps when it comes to fighting a war to its conclusion. It is the war in Afghanistan they can point to as the counter-argument to that charge.

Yet, in reality, for those paying attention, their reasoning is as suspect as their commitment to Afghanistan's war:
Al-Qaeda has provided the answer many times. Osama bin Laden, the one whose presence in Afghanistan (or some cave on the border) presumably makes it the central front in the war on terror, has been explicit that "the most . . . serious issue today for the whole world is this Third World War that is raging in Iraq." Al-Qaeda's No. 2, Ayman Zawahiri, has declared that Iraq "is now the place for the greatest battle of Islam in this era."

And it's not just what al-Qaeda says, it's what al-Qaeda does. Where are they funneling the worldwide recruits for jihad? Where do all the deranged suicidists who want to die for Allah gravitate? It's no longer Afghanistan but Iraq. That's because they recognize the greater prize.
If, as the Democrats are claiming, the "war" is against al Qaeda, then the war is in Iraq. It's that plain, that simple and that stark. Despite Speaker Pelosi's druthers, al Qaeda has made Iraq the "central front" for their effort, yet the Democrats would make Afghanistan the central front in our effort and abandon what our enemy views as the most important front to them by withdrawing.

Pelosi and Democrats willful ignorance (blindness?) on this point and their attempt to rhetorically fashion an alternate reality is what has me seriously doubting their commitment to winning against our declared Islamist enemy. And it further causes me to doubt their ability to understand the problem, much less address it. As a bonus, Pelosi's statement is a perfect example of why Congress doesn't run wars.
 
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Why, pray tell, is the war in *Iraq* the "real" war on terror, and why don’t apologists understand that in the big scheme of things, *Iraq* is really only one battle in that war?

Also, let’s get rid of the stupid "not serious" non-argument. Everyone’s being serious, the people who want to leave Iraq as much as those who want to stay in. Saying something’s "not serious" or that its proponents aren’t "paying attention" is just rudeness for its own sake, of the same kind you complain about in others.
 
Written By: Platypus
URL: http://pl.atyp.us
Would that it matter what al Qaeda values as a prize. What you see with Pelosi’s statement is only another symptom of BDS. If we were massing forces and effort in Afghanistan instead of Iraq, Pelosi and ilk would be calling for making Iraq the central front in the Global War on Bush.
 
Written By: Arcs
URL: http://
Why, pray tell, is the war in *Iraq* the "real" war on terror, and why don’t apologists understand that in the big scheme of things, *Iraq* is really only one battle in that war?
What part your declared enemy has said that Iraq is the central front in the war don’t you understand.

And even you admit that that Iraq is at least a front in the war ... something Pelosi doesn’t even realize or won’t admit.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Why, pray tell, is the war in *Iraq* the "real" war on terror, and why don’t apologists understand that in the big scheme of things, *Iraq* is really only one battle in that war?
Um....because that’s where your enemy is, and where he has chosen to fight>
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
The sunny-faced side, if you’ll pardon the expression, of the Iraq policy is the building of a civil society with the requisite resources for violence equal to the task of neutralizing and/or destroying the car bombers. That project has been stalled by the complications of factional scrumming, but it’s certainly not dead or, as its critics like to say, "a total disaster." If it’s a "total disaster," then humanity itself is a total disaster, because that would be to say that some humans cannot have a civil society and must be left to barbaric murderers to keep the "peace."

That’s the "sunny-faced side."

The cynical side of the Iraq policy, which cannot be spoken of in direct terms but which is often alluded to as "we have to fight them there or they will follow us home," is that Iraq provides a convenient conveyor belt for jihadis into the immediate range of American lethality, into a kill zone. It’s the skimming point for an entire demographic of the Islamic world; it might even be a genetic demographic, for all we know.

So, to have bin Laden himself saying that Iraq is the central front, mimicking Bush, is to have him pointing jihadis in the exact direction we want them heading. That is not exactly helping Iraq or Iraqis, but it’s a great blessing for the rest of the world.

We’ll have to consider it payment in kind from Iraqis to the world.

Meanwhile, I contend that far from being some great horrible awful disaster, Iraq is a bargain. In addition to the benefits already noted, it has thrown the condition of the West itself into high contrast for the first time since the beginning of the Cold War. I think that Mark Steyn probably covers that condition (having seen only excerpts and reviews) best, in his book America Alone, which points out that Europe is basically finished, and that we’ll be next if we don’t pull it together. The West is on the brink of collapse.

So, there’s the good news and the bad news, and we have Iraq as a sort of klieg light illuminating the whole thing. Britain is a hollowed-out farse. The EU is nothing more than the Soviet ghost moved next door. Here at home we’re besieged by Democrats who want to see the U.S. dragged down into death by the Europeans and Republicans who are lost in space.

As Beck would say: "this ain’t no disco."
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
Why, pray tell, is the war in *Iraq* the "real" war on terror, and why don’t apologists understand that in the big scheme of things, *Iraq* is really only one battle in that war?
If we withdraw from the Iraq front, where do you suppose the jihadis go?
And does Iraq then become a place conducive to terrorist recruiting, training, etc.? Does it become a safe place for terrorists, where Americans dare not invade again, for fear of being burned again?
Also, let’s get rid of the stupid "not serious" non-argument. Everyone’s being serious, the people who want to leave Iraq as much as those who want to stay in. Saying something’s "not serious" or that its proponents aren’t "paying attention" is just rudeness for its own sake, of the same kind you complain about in others.
While I understand the sentiment, there’s something about funneling billions of tax dollars away from a war and into agricultural subsidies (and other pork) to—is there any more fitting word for it?—buy votes for withdrawal that certainly raises questions about the seriousness of one’s war policy.
 
Written By: Bryan Pick
URL: http://www.qando.net
If we left I think you’d find al qaeda would be forced to leave Iraq rather quickly. They are not popular there. Even fellow Sunnis, who see themselves fighting a primarily nationalist insurgency, don’t really like them. Al qaeda is in Iraq because we’re there, and they can weaken us. Pelosi’s bit about Afghanistan being the "real war" is political posturing, however. It plays well to the public, but it’s meaningless.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Al qaeda is in Iraq because we’re there, and they can weaken us
not entirely true. half true, but there is more to it than that. One of the primary aims of OBL and AQ is reconstruction of the caliphate which means that they have to stay in Iraq or at least keep it in their timetable of place if they want to accomplish that goal.

For example, when the US left Somalia, AQ was quite happy to stay there. The US exit timetable does not have any relation to the AQ exit timetable.
 
Written By: cap joe
URL: http://
Frankly, I’d rather us be fighting AQ and the rest of the "kill those who don’t worship Alah" crowd in Iraq, or Iran, or Afghanistan, or anywhere that is the US of UK.

It’s true that AQ isn’t popular in Iraq, and more and more of the tribes are siding with the Iraqi Army/police and with us every day, because they see AQ’s methods as targeting almost solely women, children, and Iraqi’s. We only attack those who kill, they attack those who go shopping, go to work, or go to school. It makes it pretty clear who has Iraq’s best interests in mind.

I’d rather we be fighting in Iraq because (and this is going to sound horrible), because I’d rather US Military personnel and people who aren’t us be the ones dying. On the ladder of "people I care about", we rank above other countries, and the UK is abvoe the rest. Deep down I really don’t care about the people in Iraq. Yes I’d love to see them have a stable and solid democracy where they can then live and prosper. But while I would like to see that, I have a really hard time putting them over my country.

As for my prefering the Military be taking the hit than, say, downtown LA or Chicago or BFE where ever in the US. They are the military. Being in harm’s way is their job, and I have nothing but respect for them and the job they do. But they ARE the military. Better a soldier die on the field than a civillian in Mississippi, you know?

And frankly, Pelosi is reaching "McNamara" status in my house. My father served in Vietnam, and once said that the only way he’d support normalized relations with that country is if Robert McNamara said that it would be a bad idea, since the man never had a correct thought in his life, and if he thought it was a bad idea, it must be a GREAT idea

Yeah, dad has some anger issues, I think...
 
Written By: Scott
URL: http://
al-Qaeda/Islamists are going to be wherever we are.

We can meet them on the battlefield, or we can meet them in barracks, embassies, and ships at port.

Currently there are several battlefields where we are engaging them. And we are engaging them both militarily and financially. We are also partnering with various nations around the world, diplomatically, economically, and militarily to make them valuable assets in fighting a spreading, militant ideology.

The Democrats entire plan seems to be to leave, and hope it gets better.
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com/
Martin,
You just delivered the bitter truth in a digestible capsule. Well done.
 
Written By: steveaz
URL: http://
"Pelosi’s bit ...plays well to the public...
Earth to Professor Erb:
"Pelosi and Democrats willful ignorance (blindness?) on this point and their attempt to rhetorically fashion an alternate reality is what has me seriously doubting their commitment to winning ... And it further causes me to doubt their ability to understand the problem, much less address it. As a bonus, Pelosi’s statement is a perfect example of why Congress doesn’t run wars."
Maybe, now that the weather is a little nicer, you need to get out of the faculty lounge and mingle with some of the "public".
 
Written By: notherbob2
URL: http://
Erb,

Some points for you to ponder:

Did Hezbullah disband once Israel left Lebanon?

Did the Arab fighters disband in Afghanistan after the Soviets left? After the puppet regime fell? After the Taliban essentially controlled the country? And when some did disperse back to their home countries, like Algeria, was the result good?

People who are willing to take up arms in an insurgency usually are pretty serious people. They won’t just fade away to play Wii after we leave.
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
my god, reading this kind of nonsense is frustrating.

1. By allowing the enemy to set victory conditions, we have already lost. The only way to beat Al Qaeda is to persuade the rest of the world that we do not care what they say, but we care very much what they do.

2. The reason to invade Afghanistan was to deprive them of safe haven. The reason to leave Iraq is to deprive them of safe haven. There is just as much, if not more, serious policy analysis floating around the internet that argues that Iraqis will drive AQ out of Iraq once we leave as argues that AQ will be able to set up safe haven among the Sunnis.

3. There may be a few lunatics, who happen to vote Democratic, who may actually want to destroy the US (for various meanings of the word "destroy"). The rest of us are tired of a profoundly corrupt and incompetent government that is mortgaging our future.

4. Fight them there so we don’t fight them here is not only one of the dumbest things I’ve ever read, it’s also one of the most contemptible. What, jihadists are going to cling to the belly of departing 747s like zebra mussels, only to breed in our water systems? The presence of troops in Iraq somehow prevents them from coming here? As to contemptible, once upon a time, just a few years ago, the "true" purpose of invading Iraq was to spread American values of liberty and democracy. Now, it’s apparently to have foreigners, not Americans, shed blood in our GWOT/ GSAVE / acronym of the week.

one problem with realpolitik like that is that it works for a while, until everyone figures out that they’re being played for the sucker. At which point they hate your guts. which is where we are today. If Musharraf falls in Pakistan, will the next govt hate us? Given the nature of the only effective opposition, yes. Same for Eygpt. Same for Saudi Arabia. Same for Morocco. Same for Iraq. Syria probably could get even worse than it is now. In fact, probably the only opposition group across the Middle East and North Africa that is potentially more pro-West than the current government is Iran.

great. Instead of having 1 or 2 countries in which AQ is trying to find safe haven, we could have a dozen in which the govt is actively anti-West.

this is NOT the way to make Americans safer.
 
Written By: Francis
URL: http://
Did Hezbullah disband once Israel left Lebanon?
Hezbollah represents a large part of the Lebanese Shi’ite population and has a base of support. Al qaeda in Iraq is a small group of foreign fighters distrusted by almost all the local population.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Hezbollah represents a large part of the Lebanese Shi’ite population
Michael Totten might beg to differ with that statement.
 
Written By: cap joe
URL: http://
What, jihadists are going to cling to the belly of departing 747s like zebra mussels, only to breed in our water systems?
There was this little thing in 2001 that you might of heard about. It involved following building or something like that. Unless off course you are one of Rosie O’Donnell’s band of truthers.
 
Written By: cap joe
URL: http://
Francis - Responding to you in this case is like gathering grapeshot. You’re all over the place.
my god, reading this kind of nonsense is frustrating.
If it’s your faith in your ability to change minds with your responses that keeps you reading the things that frustrate you, perhaps you shouldn’t start by insulting your opponents.
1. By allowing the enemy to set victory conditions, we have already lost. The only way to beat Al Qaeda is to persuade the rest of the world that we do not care what they say, but we care very much what they do.
Agreed, to a point. If somebody sends you a death threat, though, what’s the appropriate response?
2. The reason to invade Afghanistan was to deprive them [Al Qaeda] of safe haven.
... along with capturing and/or killing them, as a means to the end of completely disrupting their operations. We’re going on the offensive against them, and we’ll try to get them anywhere and in any way that we can. We made this clear from the beginning.
The reason to leave Iraq is to deprive them of safe haven. There is just as much, if not more, serious policy analysis floating around the internet that argues that Iraqis will drive AQ out of Iraq once we leave as argues that AQ will be able to set up safe haven among the Sunnis.
First: I’d like some links. I haven’t been able to keep up with policy papers lately, but I’d honestly like to see what you’ve got.
Second: Al Qaeda can’t be evicted whole from Iraq if Iraqis can’t bring widespread force to bear against them. AQ is mobile and networked; they are a tough and adapting enemy, much more so than any given tribe, and are financed from a wide variety of sources.
3. There may be a few lunatics, who happen to vote Democratic, who may actually want to destroy the US (for various meanings of the word "destroy"). The rest of us are tired of a profoundly corrupt and incompetent government that is mortgaging our future.
If you’re tired of corruption and incompetence in government, you may want to reconsider your support for such a big government. If you’re tired of "our" future being mortgaged by others, perhaps you’d do well to take the decision out of the hands of people who benefit from taking money from "us". The incentives and constraints operating on a bureaucrat or a Congressman are overwhelmingly in favor of borrowing against your future.
4. Fight them there so we don’t fight them here is not only one of the dumbest things I’ve ever read, it’s also one of the most contemptible. What, jihadists are going to cling to the belly of departing 747s like zebra mussels, only to breed in our water systems? The presence of troops in Iraq somehow prevents them from coming here?
Mockery doesn’t substitute well for argument. Dealing with your opponents as characterizations of themselves is no way to change their minds.

Al Qaeda simply could not allow the Coalition to liberate a keystone Arab Muslim state without putting up as much resistance as possible. The success of such a mission would be a disaster to their ideology and to their strategic position, and they have been reassuring their recruits for years that the US is a paper tiger, the same US that has abandoned allies and causes it claimed to champion as soon as it got a bloody nose: Vietnam, Beirut, Somalia. So they were drawn to the fight and have expended a considerable amount of resources fighting us there. They have also had to fight us on several other fronts, as US and allied armed forces and intelligence services (and other assets) have been attacking them in dozens of countries.

This may not have been the administration’s preferred argument for going into Iraq. The argument to the UN centered around WMDs. The argument given by the US Congress gave more than twenty reasons for going into Iraq. I personally had an even longer list. But we’re there now, and Al Qaeda’s been torn up by trying to fight us in Iraq... as have a larger number of other transnational jihadis.

And even if you don’t see the connection between safety in the US and the war in Iraq, surely you must see the connection between the jihadis’ efforts in Iraq and those in Afghanistan. Even if you’re 100% correct and AQ leaves Iraq after the Coalition leaves, where do you think they’re going to go? Home to settle down and raise a family?
As to contemptible, once upon a time, just a few years ago, the "true" purpose of invading Iraq was to spread American values of liberty and democracy. Now, it’s apparently to have foreigners, not Americans, shed blood in our GWOT/ GSAVE / acronym of the week.
In addition to what I’ve already written on the topic, do you see the pro-war Americans abandoning the democratically-elected government of Iraq? Are they abandoning the country with the most liberal constitution in the region, written by the Iraqis themselves? Did we leave Iraq as soon as we could install a strongman, and are we leaving at the first sign of sectarian violence, saying that they’re incapable of stable and liberal government?
No? Well, whatever you may think of the motives of individual pro-war individuals, the actions of the pro-war crowd collectively show a much more democratic, liberal purpose than those of the anti-war crowd.
At which point they hate your guts. which is where we are today.
Let’s hear your alternative to realist politics.
 
Written By: Bryan Pick
URL: http://www.qando.net
Scott -
Al qaeda in Iraq is a small group of foreign fighters distrusted by almost all the local population.
You’re basically right, although AQ still manages a number of spectacular attacks. This war taught the Iraqi populace to distrust—even detest—Al Qaeda. Your argument could be complemented pretty well by this Cato piece.

But with what certainty do you think Iraq would become and remain the kind of place that can stave off jihadis and terrorists if it fell into true civil war and/or ethnic cleansing?
 
Written By: Bryan Pick
URL: http://www.qando.net
At which point they hate your guts. which is where we are today.
And the stuff I read from soldiers in Iraq seems to disagree with you. It would seem someone have been watching a lot of MSM...
 
Written By: Scott
URL: http://
Let’s hear your alternative to realist politics.
You’ve already heard it.

We leave Iraq, damn the consequences for us or them.

Then we can put more troops in Afghanistan, where I haven’t heard any military commanders calling for more troops.
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://www.asecondhandconjecture.com

Then we can put more troops in Afghanistan, where I haven’t heard any military commanders calling for more troops.
Actually there is concern over lack of troops in Afghanistan. The real reason Britain pulled more troops out of Iraq is that they were needed in Afghanistan. The British military is stretched thin. There is a real risk that Afghanistan could drift back into chaos, and the Taliban resurgence and even dominance in many regions is very disturbing. I’m not sure what the solution is, but I would not be surprised to see Afghanistan recapture the headlines this summer.

And Bryan:
You’re basically right, although AQ still manages a number of spectacular attacks. This war taught the Iraqi populace to distrust—even detest—Al Qaeda. Your argument could be complemented pretty well by this Cato piece.

But with what certainty do you think Iraq would become and remain the kind of place that can stave off jihadis and terrorists if it fell into true civil war and/or ethnic cleansing?
If Iraq goes that route, then you’re right - terrorists and jihadists thrive in conditions of instability and violence.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Good reply Bryan.

Our enemies are expanding their reach into the Americas even as we fight them in the Middle East. Hopefully we can contain them in northern South America along with President Chavez, their new ally. Iran’s efforts in South America date back to 1994, maybe before, and started with the attack in Argentina against a Jewish target. Iran’s efforts in our backyard started long before our involvement in Iraq. This new world war began in 1972 and war was declared on America in 1979 and again in 1998. Ignoring this has caused thousands of deaths of our citizens and those in other western countries, but too Americans many still do not see where this will lead if we abandon the Iraqi front; the fate of the Iraqis will be the least of our worries.

I lean heavily on past history. Hitler declared war on us; he did not attack Pearl Harbor, but the US declared war on Germany anyway. Was FDR wrong? Should we have stayed out of the North African theater, and then the European theater, which diverted precious resources from the war in the Pacific in which we had definite interests? I don’t think so; nor did the isolationist Republicans of that time.
 
Written By: AMR
URL: http://
Look, it’s simple: anything Bush is for, the Nancy Dems are going to be against. Bush could announce a cure for cancer and Nancy Pelosi would condemn him for putting oncologists out of work.

So Bush wants to win in Iraq? Nancy says ’the real war’s in Afghanistan’. If Bush agreed tomorrow, Nancy would say Bush is abandoning Iraq.

We have two years of the Dems opposing Bush on every detail under the sun. Doesn’t matter, big or small. It’s really that simple.
 
Written By: barry
URL: http://
This is wrong.
If Iraq goes that route, then you’re right - terrorists and jihadists thrive in conditions of instability and violence.

Instability and violence are not good for terrorists.
- Terrorism is a system of warfare that relies upon the effect of committng heinous attacks in an otherwise stable enviroment, if the stability does not exist terrorism is less effective.
- Terrorism is an attack upon a target, if the situation is a conflict then the terrorists have less chance of setting a target.
- Ethnic cleansing is a system of warfare that requires holding or gaining territory through combined defense and attack. Mounting spectacular terrorist attacks is a high risk activity that does not gain or hold territiory.
- Jihadism is a religous act that is carried out after a period of contemplation. Comtemplation is not available when fighting a war of ethnic cleansing.
- Jihadism is a decision taken in defence of faith, if a conflict exists that threatens your faith in your home town that is where the defence is made.

The basic reason to commit an act of aggression like terrorism is to create instability and violence in the territory of the enemy, they do this because this is a good thing to do.
 
Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://
unaha-closp -

Most of what you wrote seems immaterial to what Erb said; the rest is incorrect.
* Erb didn’t say that terrorism is a more effective tactic in an already-chaotic place than in a stable place (which is debatable); he said that terrorists thrive in such conditions.
* I don’t fully understand your second point; could you restate it differently? I want to make sure I get it right before I respond.
* Erb didn’t state that terrorists themselves would be doing all the ethnic cleansing. He stated that he believed it was correct that terrorists would thrive if ethnic cleansing were to take place in Iraq, apparently due to the instability and violence attendant with such actions.
* I hope you’re joking with your fourth and fifth points, as well as with this statement of yours:
The basic reason to commit an act of aggression like terrorism is to create instability and violence in the territory of the enemy, they do this because this is a good thing to do.
There are several things wrong with your statement, but that italicized part really gets me shaking my head. Do you really mean what you just said?
 
Written By: Bryan Pick
URL: http://www.qando.net
Bryan,

I think fighting them over there makes sense, attacking them over there is a good thing when we do it because it causes instability that threatens them. Likewise their attacks at us are aimed at achieving the same thing. To create instability is a good thing to do to your enemy. And I think they are our enemies becuase of their internal cultured beliefs and not because of a conflict situation. I believe that if the West withdrew totally from the Middle East and Israel was dismantled we would experience a greater degree of terrorism.

To support this please examine where terrorists come from. 911 - Saudis and Egyptians, both very stable societies. 7/7 - middle class British Muslims, middle class is the byword for stability. Iran sponsors terror attacks, Al Qaeda is the organisation of terrorism that is doing most in Iraq and it recruits throughout the Arab world - which is stable.

And where they do not come from. Somali terrorists, Afghani terrorists, Sudanese terrorists (whilst in conflict in the South Sudan they were unable to commit terror attacks), Bosnian terrorists are not common. Even the Beslan massacre occured at a point when the Chechnyan conflict was in remission and Russia was hoping to negotiate a settlement.

Ensuring the people who create terrorism are undergoing coflict seems to me to be the best plan B, if we cannot induce a stable democratic, non-terrorist producing Iraq.
 
Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://
Erb,

Some points for you to ponder:

Did Hezbullah disband once Israel left Lebanon?
—Please note that AQ in Iraq also includes a lot of Iraqis. They have some support or they would all be killed by now. Also, the issue is more of after the war why didn’t Hezbullah disarm and let the Lebanese Army control things again? After all the Israelis had left.

More importantly, why didn’t you answer my next example, which according to your terms that AQ in Iraq are all foreigners is the more salient example?

Did the Arab fighters disband in Afghanistan after the Soviets left? After the puppet regime fell? After the Taliban essentially controlled the country? And when some did disperse back to their home countries, like Algeria, was the result good?

So explain to me, what happens when we leave Iraq? Do the foreign Arab fighters in the Sunni heartland who manage to blow up car bomb after car bomb in Baghdad (WITHUOT ANY IRAQI SUPPORT OR MEMBERSHIP according to Erb) delcare defeat and slink away to play Wii?

 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://

Did Hezbullah disband once Israel left Lebanon?
—Please note that AQ in Iraq also includes a lot of Iraqis.
Read the Cato report Bryan posted. Al Qaeda is hated in Iraq, and is mostly foreign fighters. Hezbollah in Lebanon has a local base and local support from the Shi’ite population. That is a fundamentally different context.


Did the Arab fighters disband in Afghanistan after the Soviets left? After the puppet regime fell? After the Taliban essentially controlled the country? And when some did disperse back to their home countries, like Algeria, was the result good?
The victors in Afghanistan welcomed them and gave them cover. That is unlikely to happen in Iraq.

So explain to me, what happens when we leave Iraq? Do the foreign Arab fighters in the Sunni heartland who manage to blow up car bomb after car bomb in Baghdad (WITHUOT ANY IRAQI SUPPORT OR MEMBERSHIP according to Erb) delcare defeat and slink away to play Wii?
The danger is what Bryan noted: Sunni-Shi’ite civil war/ethnic cleansing. The only reason to stay in Iraq is to avoid a humanitarian catastrophe by now. I still am not convinced that our staying will help matters; it would be better to have a force from Muslim states and perhaps a UN force that has a kind of legitimacy with the Iraqi people. Most Iraqis think its OK to attack Americans, and anti-Americanism is rampant. It’s hard to really be effective in that situation. Still, if I’m wrong, and if we leave and all hell breaks loose, well that will be a very horrible situation. There are no good answers here, just a pick of which is likely to be the least bad. (Though one can hope that there will be a sudden turn around and peace will descend on the country...)
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
To support this please examine where terrorists come from. 911 - Saudis and Egyptians, both very stable societies. 7/7 - middle class British Muslims, middle class is the byword for stability. Iran sponsors terror attacks, Al Qaeda is the organisation of terrorism that is doing most in Iraq and it recruits throughout the Arab world - which is stable.
And yet, many jihadis cut their teeth and gain experience by fighting in unstable places. See Chechnya. See Afghanistan back when the Soviets invaded. There are other factors involved, sure, but jihadis and terrorists have a field day when the Law isn’t around. Pakistan doesn’t control its northwestern territories, and the Taliban and Al Qaeda moved right in and started hacking heads off and making themselves the law, despite their fairly small numbers. These tactics were effective in a fairly backward place.

And make no mistake: Al Qaeda and affiliated groups would try to do the same thing in any place where the resistance weren’t organized enough to keep them out. If one hadn’t paid attention to their tactics in Iraq over the last few years, one would be surprised what a relatively small number of jihadis can accomplish. Assassination campaigns, cowing locals, terrorism, showing who’s in charge. They adapt and they are mobile, and the best thing that could happen to them is for the US to pull out and leave a power vacuum. Terrorists love a power vacuum.

After all, sowing violence and discord is Al Qaeda’s modus operandi. They and their affiliates do it wherever they can where they aren’t already in control. Why would they do that if they didn’t thrive in the conditions that follow?

Furthermore, and this is a response to Erb’s last paragraph as well, if the US pulls out of Iraq in anything resembling an ignominious fashion, leaving allies to the wolves, we will be reinforcing the Vietnam-Beirut-Somalia meme which has encouraged our enemies to attack us and which has given them hope and comfort. They believe we can be attacked with impunity over the long run, and I think it’d be smart to teach them otherwise.

Scott:
Al Qaeda is hated in Iraq, and is mostly foreign fighters.
Then again, they do have an umbrella organization under which a number of Iraqi groups are represented.
 
Written By: Bryan Pick
URL: http://www.qando.net
Either I am really stupid or this is a really good discussion of the Democratic view of Iraq:
. …“I know how much liberals treasure the idea that this is just a civil war in Iraq. … the Democrats have adopted an eerie code of silence about al Qaeda in Iraq. …But it does exist. …Al Qaeda has killed more innocent people in Iraq in the last few days than it has killed elsewhere in the world in the last year (including Afghanistan …where leading Democrats preposterously want to go to fight al Quaeda). If more Americans understood this, their interest in seeing us withdraw from Iraq - thereby effectively surrendering to the organization that attacked us on 9/11 - would diminish considerably.
This blogger bills himself as a professor at a university, a registered Democrat and a liberal. I’ll leave it to you to determine which credential(s) are suspect to me.
 
Written By: notherbob2
URL: http://
Bryan,
After all, sowing violence and discord is Al Qaeda’s modus operandi. They and their affiliates do it wherever they can where they aren’t already in control. Why would they do that if they didn’t thrive in the conditions that follow?
They act only to disrupt local powers and scare them off. They are there to institute their own power structures, that are based on an over devotion to selected quranic laws and not an anarchic environment. The Taliban were a threat becuase they were able to provide a peaceable refuge to Al Qaeda.

Terrorism is just a tactic to allow the transition. If they can form the same conditions by infiltration of the theological schools or existing government they do this. Terrorism is the tactic they present most to us because it is good at excluding groups from each other, it aims to seperate us from them and them from us. Terrorism is only one of several means the jihadis have of conducting jihad.

Withdrawl reduces our chance of beating them, but if it results with them in violent matched confrontation with Iran it does not benefit them. They are wanting to beat us and beat the shia and beat the kurds. Resultant chaos would be a good result for us because they are still unable to form the stability they need to breed or expand their influence and we are not losing troops.

But withdrawl should not be encouraged because chaos is not a certainty. Iran might win, Al Qaeda might win or god help us they might ally. If America’s not there it is difficult to ensure chaos continues. And best case scenario if America stays there is a chance democratic Iraq forms and we win.
 
Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://
unaha-closp -
At this point, I’d like to stress again that I’ve lately been cut off from most of my usual sources of information simply because I’m so busy. I’m arguing with you mostly based on my own logic and what I knew before I became buried in work. That said, I’m happy to continue debate from time to time. It keeps me sharp.
They act only to disrupt local powers and scare them off. They are there to institute their own power structures, that are based on an over devotion to selected quranic laws and not an anarchic environment. The Taliban were a threat becuase they were able to provide a peaceable refuge to Al Qaeda.
What’s so difficult about this? Your argument is doubling back on itself. Chaos doesn’t last forever, but the jihadis make every effort to create it because they thrive in the conditions that follow. Where there is lawlessness in Iraq, and especially if there is a true civil war and/or ethnic cleansing in Iraq, there will be much improved opportunities for Al Qaeda and similar groups. They do want their own version of order, yes, but they profit a great deal during the period of chaos. You seem to implicitly accept this with your latest post, right up until you say they need stability to "breed or expand their influence."

They manifestly do not. They need war. They need chaos. Their history shows it. They attacked US interests and assets in their region, publicly issued a fatwa against the US and its allies in early 1998, and finally came to attack the only remaining military superpower directly on 9/11. This is not the behavior of people hoping to keep things quiet and stable in their neighborhood; they knew the only appropriate and acceptable response to an attack on US civilians and military assets was a counterattack. This was not some effort to "destabilize" NYC and DC, or really to separate groups from each other. It was an act of war in an already-declared war. I don’t think they expected us to do as we subsequently did (either in our success in Afghanistan or in our invasion of Iraq), but they had to expect chaos and they seemed poised to try to capitalize on it wherever they could get it.

And if we pull out of Iraq, to get back to the earlier discussion, they will not stop fighting. They will be emboldened, our current allies will be discouraged (to vastly understate the problem), and we have little assurance that AQ will end up in a "violent matched confrontation with Iran" to console ourselves. (And what situation are you really describing for Iraq, if the US pulls out, that could lead to Iran pursuing a concerted campaign against AQ in Iraq? Could this possibly be less costly for the US than the cost of pressing the surge?)

More likely—and the following is based on their actual history and goals rather than pure speculation—they will take advantage of the chaos and search for weakness among areas in Iraq controlled by forces less mobile and less capable of a concerted, extended campaign than they are. They’ll stoke violence against former "collaborators", and once again the USA will be a country that abandoned its allies and a cause it once claimed to champion because it got a bloody nose. I mean really: we will be a country that did that all for $21 billion in pork. That is the price of our credibility in the eyes of the "redeploy ASAP" "leadership".
 
Written By: Bryan Pick
URL: http://www.qando.net
Bryan,
I am also away from normal net usage, working at a trade show, so have not noticed and would rather have considered replies anyway.

911 made little tactical sense, except as its value for propganda. Yes, it was part of a longer war. It was a message to Arabs that Al Qaeda can strike anywhere. And perhaps America was picked because it had a rep for not retaliating effectively or perhaps because America is the biggest. It was not an attack designed for its own value.

Al Qaeda operates under the principle that war is a continuation of diplomacy. Attacks in Saudi and Egypt and Pakistan are carried out to win negotiated settlements from the governments of these countries. It is political violence only. Recruitment for AQ is up amoung these countries and the regimes get peaceable relations.

AQ is strong and getting stronger in these countries, recruitment wise and probably funding wise (that is how they get to send so many foreign figters to kill in Iraq). This greater strength is sent to Iraq and not used locally to blow up Morrocan, Tunisian or Saudi marketplaces. They could use it to create local chaos, but choose not to.

Conversely the reason they attack so much in Iraq is to cause enough bloodshed that the USA/UK will settle with them diplomatically or withdraw - more political violence.
And what situation are you really describing for Iraq, if the US pulls out, that could lead to Iran pursuing a concerted campaign against AQ in Iraq? Could this possibly be less costly for the US than the cost of pressing the surge?
I do not know and I do not know. But if it could be done it would in effect be getting two enemies to fight each other, and that would be very good.
 
Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://

 
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