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Iraq would be "terrorist Disneyland" if US pulls out
Posted by: McQ on Tuesday, May 15, 2007

You don't say? Actually they do:
A U.S. troop pullout from Iraq would leave the country as a potent launchpad for international terrorism and Washington would be forced to go back in within a couple of years, a leading al Qaeda expert said on Tuesday.

Rohan Gunaratna told a security conference at Lloyd's of London insurance market that Iraq, like Afghanistan in the 1990s, would become a "terrorist Disneyland" where al Qaeda could build up its strength unchallenged.

If U.S., British and other coalition troops withdrew from Iraq in the next year, he said, "certainly the scale of attacks that would be mounted inside Iraq, and using Iraq as a launching pad to strike other Western countries — countries in Europe, North America - would become such that after two or three years, the U.S. forces will have to go back to Iraq."
Of course, everyone but the Democrats realizes this. Oh, and when I said the following, our self-identified foreign policy expert essentially told me I was full of crap:
"Clearly al Qaeda are focusing on Iraq now, and focusing on some sort of propaganda victory over the United States," Sir Richard Dearlove told reporters.

"Whether that's an actual victory or not, if they can claim in the Muslim world that they've done well, then that puts us in a very difficult position. This is really an aspect of withdrawal that hasn't been properly considered. That's why I think we can't just let Iraq go its own way."
I'm sure we'll again be regaled with how this is so much nonsense and it really doesn't matter what they think in the Muslim world.

Well tell it to Dearlove as well, will you?
 
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All the more reason to stop this failed policy. This mess was not due to bad tactics or planning, but an awful decision to invade Iraq, which at that time was not a terrorist threat. We cannot, by military means, win in Iraq because politically there is no way we’ll pay the massive price necessary. Thus it pin hopes on a surge that even your pal Ralph Peters admits isn’t enough is only delaying the inevitable, and creating more anti-Americanism. We need a bold policy change to regionalize and internationalize the conflict, and give up on seeing this as an American "war." The current approach is rooted in 20th century thinking and doomed to fail. The essential assumptions are wrong, not just the tactics.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Oh, and when I said the following, our self-identified foreign policy expert essentially told me I was full of crap:
Hm, I wonder who McQ was talking about.
Who the heck could it be?

 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
So now the rationale for staying in Iraq is that we have to stay there to defeat an enemy that had no presence there before we invaded. Hmmm.

If we were to leave Iraq today, AQ would last about two minutes in Iraq. The Shia militias would make short work of the "foreign fighters." AQ wouldn’t stand a chance. Not only that, but the Sunni Sheikhs and the Baathists have no use for AQ either, nor do the Kurds.

It would be brutal, no doubt. But anyone who believes that AQ would stand a chance once we left doesn’t understand the first thing about Iraq.

More to the point, if we leave Iraq, what is the attraction for AQ in Iraq? AQ is there because we are there. AQ doesn’t need a home base. It already has one in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
You’d rather deal with AQ somewhere else? Your town, maybe?

Perhaps you could send them your address, and invite them to come kill people there instead.

The attraction for AQ in Iraq if we leave is "country that is just barely starting to get on it’s feet with improved infrastructure", since they lost Afghanistan, they need a new place to set up shop...

As for "Terrorist Disneyland"...

Well, they already have the mouse... :)
 
Written By: Scott
URL: http://
Of course, if you think the Shiites are gonna stop at "foreign fighters" I’ve got some land and a bridge to sell ya...
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://www.asecondhandconjecture.com
"bold policy change to regionalize and internationalize the conflict,"

I thought it was internationalized; volunteers come from all over the world to join Al-whatsis.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
You’d rather deal with AQ somewhere else? Your town, maybe?
But al qaeda in Iraq are not the ones likely to come to the US, and in fact our presence there has helped them recruit. It’s not like they are a single army with a limited number of people. They recruit, grow, and can do a lot of damage with just a few operatives. Nothing we’re doing in Iraq is limiting their ability to harm us here. Nothing. They may decide not to attack here because they like having us stuck in Iraq as targets, able to bleed our military and financial coffers. But Iraq isn’t keeping them from coming here, and if we left Iraq they’d face Shi’ite and Sunni enemies who would be taking their energy. The assumption that Iraq would be a "Disneyland for terrorists" is one I simply can’t buy.

And the Shi’ites there are not bent on coming to attack America or anything like that. The militias are concerned with fighting al qaeda and the Sunnis.

Despite the alarmist claims, continuing in Iraq weakens us immensely, and hurts our national interest far more than it benefits. We’ve been played for suckers, and we’re being weakened by an enemy that hardly has to lift a muscle. Foreign policy dilettantism at its worst.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
our self-identified foreign policy expert essentially told me I was full of crap:

No you were not "full of crap" you were full of truth. We proved to be a "paper tiger" in Vietnam and are about to repeat that image if we pull out of Iraq. Imagine what Hugo Chavez will think when he sees "America the Chicken"
We need a bold policy change to regionalize and internationalize the conflict, and give up on seeing this as an American "war."
That would be a good idea Scott. Just what countries do you think will join us in the coalition? The EU is both spineless and lacking the military strength to be of help. Iraq’s Arab neighbors are better off sitting back and watch us with out tit in the wringer. Iran would gladly help and in the process expand their Islamic Revolution into Iraq. Blaming Bush for a bad idea, may be correct, but it does nothing to solve the problem. We are stuck to this ‘tar baby’ and there is no practical way out.
 
Written By: James E. Fish
URL: http://faroutfishfiles.blogspot.com/
But al qaeda in Iraq are not the ones likely to come to the US, and in fact our presence there has helped them recruit.
Are you sure?

If it’s their training ground, wouldn’t they wish to send the trained ones over?

I mean, they could send the retards, but that would be silly.

As for "blleding" our military, they are WELL on the losing end of that lil Debit/Creit account... We kill a HELL of a lot more of them than they do of us.

Which is kind of the idea in a war...
 
Written By: Scott
URL: http://
First, our so-called expert is haplessly conflating the alledged substantive, tactical, operational "benefits" of our withdrawal to our amorphous collection of enemies, with the alledged benefits of the "propaganda victory".

I’ll let Scott deal with the fake operational benefits, he’s doing a decent job.

Sticking with propaganda:

and focusing on some sort of propaganda victory over the United States,

Yeah, and when we pulled out of Vietnam, we handed the Soviets an enormous propaganda victory that they then used to decisively win the war against us... wait. Hold on. Oh, hey, twenty years from now, nobody buys that argument.

And when Israel sat in the Lebanon Security Belt in 1987, and 1988, and 1989, and 1990, and 1991, and 1992, and 1993, and 1994, and 1995, and 1996, and 1997, and 1998, deprived of propaganda victories, Hizballah withered out of existence..

Or, hey, how about, from a future history book in 2045 - "rendered invincible from the propaganda boost of the U.S.’s withdrawal from Iraq, Iran went on to sucessfully invade the U.S. East Coast and capture their capital of "Washington, D.C.".

Oh, wait, the propaganda victory didn’t mean sh*t when the bottom line came around, did it?

There’s a fundamental immaturity of judgement, that comes from over-reacting to the enemy’s initiatives instead of being able to form an independent opinion of the key challenges, metrics, and turning points of a conflict. (It also lets you be led around by the nose, but that’s another story). Al-Quieda’s expert strategic judgement has already led them to alienate most of their own potential supporters and decimate their own rear areas. If they want to focus on propaganda victories, that’s an indicator of their own weakness, desperation, and limited capabilities, not an indicator that their brilliant tactical minds are going to plunge the world into jeopardy. Meanwhile, unless you clearly intend to occupy Iraq forever, they’re always going to claim victory when we leave. That this victory might seem less credible to you, the U.S. War Hawk, in a theoretical five years from now when the insurgency is, theoretically, less prevalent - since "gone" is not even on the horizon - is a poor indicator of how Al-Quieda’s audience will see it.

Meanwhile, what’s the propaganda value of the dead Iraqi women and children that Al-Quieda is blasting around the internet these days, blaming on us?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/07/07/AR2006070701155.html

Of course, this editorial by the retired army colonel deserves its own post, but I’ll use it here anyway.

The connection being that if we’re going to allow our tactics and strategy to be dictated by a paralyzing fear that someone might make propaganda that the things we’re doing portray us negatively, that would make an excellent argument for leaving Iraq, because - guess what - already happening!

But making your decisions based on possible propaganda advantages to the other guy is a shallow strategy from top to bottom.

Furthermore, the monomanical focus on the propaganda advantages to Al-Quieda of a pullout represents a profound determination to fail to genuinely evaluate the public opinion sphere of the Arab world as a whole and the impact on it by all kinds of things, not least of which would include our current presence in Iraq. The same people hosanna-ing to the heavens on the "propaganda victory" - which has no effect anywhere but in public opinion - are the first ones to disregard Arab public opinion as completely inconsequential when it comes to the wisdom of, oh, invading Iraq. This self-serving and manipulative parsing of the relevance of opinion pretends that weakness foments violence and blunt instruments make you adored. If so, Hosni Mubarak’s Egypt, Assad’s Syria, and Hussein’s Iraq should be trouble-free and the limp-wristed judicial systems of America should be overwhelmed with violent strife.

So, if concern for "propaganda" now leads to a genuine concern for Arab hearts and minds, here’s step one for winning Arab hearts and minds:

1. Get out of Iraq. You won’t win many, but you may stop losing them.

If you don’t, on the other hand, believe in hearts in minds, but deal in capabilities, there’s no reason to care about propaganda.

I believe in hearts in minds, myself, a little, but if I thought Iraq was a substantive winning hand, I’d be all about disdaining the opinion in other Arab countries. But, substantively, it’s a losing hand. Whether you agree with that or not, the doctrine that losing hands should be ridden all the way down to the bottom in order to make sure you maintain the facade of strength is, fundamentally, stupid. It’s stupid if you’re playing cards and you repeatedly raise a man showing three aces, with your pair of fours. It’s stupid when you’re Michael Jordan, trying to dominate the league in 2003 with a 42-year-old gearbox and failing miserably. It’s stupid when you throw honest soldiers into a kill zone and wipe your army out for no gain, be it Pickett’s Charge, banzai charges in Guaducanal, or as Iraq skeptics would add, Iraq in 2007 - because you want to put off failure a little longer and deny some propaganda for another day.

It’s even stupid when you argue with strangers online who are too invested in their position to be affected by any conceivable argument, opinion, or contrary example.

I’m going to allow you the propaganda victory of saying anything you want in response. We’ll see if it kills me, or turns out to just be an unpleasant taste forgotten tomorrow. I’m thinking No. 2.

 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
Yeah, and when we pulled out of Vietnam, we handed the Soviets an enormous propaganda victory that they then used to decisively win the war against us... wait. Hold on. Oh, hey, twenty years from now, nobody buys that argument.
The people in the southern part of Vietnam sure are thrilled that our leaving didn’t do any harm...

Oh, wait...
1. Get out of Iraq. You won’t win many, but you may stop losing them.
You know, the french had a commander a lot like you folks. Convinced of failure, he refused to attach himself to any plan we came up with, claimed to be the only legitimate form of French Authority, and then after we won tried to claim he had any kind of hand in said victory.

Guess who I’m talking about.

Fortunately the french people knew better.

The American people will as well. Dems won’t enjoy the next election, I promise you that...
 
Written By: Scott
URL: http://
Anywhere we acted we would have drawn Al Queda to us. So I guess attacking any part of the Middle East at anytime for any reason would be a ’failed policy’. Nice rationale. Leaves only the option of appease, appease, and appease.
 
Written By: jpm100
URL: http://

Anywhere we acted we would have drawn Al Queda to us. So I guess attacking any part of the Middle East at anytime for any reason would be a ’failed policy’. Nice rationale. Leaves only the option of appease, appease, and appease.
Yes, attacking is counterproductive. Luckily the choice isn’t "attack or appease."
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Some times a cartoon is on target.
 
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
Yes, attacking is counterproductive. Luckily the choice isn’t "attack or appease."
Yeah, it’s "attack or be attacked".

This isn’t football. You don’t want to be on the recieving team...
 
Written By: Scott
URL: http://
Yeah, it’s "attack or be attacked".
No, that isn’t the choice either. We attacked Iraq, a secular government weakened already to the point of being a shell of its former self, unable to threaten neighbors, and whose despotic leader hated believers in democracy and Islamic extremists with equal zeal. If al qaeda was in Iraq, it had to be deep underground. Then in the chaos we created by attacking, we suddenly created a greater threat. Moreover, it gave al qaeda a way to more easily recruit locals or people from nearby countries to go there and bleed the US in a variety of ways at little cost to themselves. If they have members able to get to the US and operate here, they wouldn’t be the ones they’re sending to Iraq.

Moreover, when we attack, we make ourselves more vulnerable, not less. We generate more anti-Americanism, more fodder for Islamic extremism. The Iraq war has dramatically increased the appeal of Islamic extremist ideas in Europe and even amongst Muslims in the US. By attacking, we make it more likely that we’ll be attacked. This isn’t a game. It’s not a binary system where one side gets attacked or another side does. This is a series of complex political movements that can’t simply be eliminated or defeated by military force. In fact, the attempt to do so, the "attack or be attacked" philosophy, plays right into the hands of our enemy.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
I would rather listen to Bernard Lewis
 
Written By: cap joe
URL: http://
But al qaeda in Iraq are not the ones likely to come to the US, and in fact our presence there has helped them recruit.
And if we leave the way the Democrats want us to leave, AQ will see that as a victory and that will help them recruit.

They’ll say, "Look, we’ve kicked the great Satan out of Iraq. Join us for our next great jihad."
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com/
And if we leave the way the Democrats want us to leave, AQ will see that as a victory and that will help them recruit.
But the emotion of having us there, with stories (true or untrue) about American atrocities on the news every night, does far more to inspire a lot of anger. Most people don’t want to just join a jihad and they don’t want the puritanical form of Islam promoted by al qaeda. They get duped because their thinking is clouded by the emotion of having a "foreign invader" threatening their identity (which is how many see it, whether valid or not).

But if we change policy how it gets viewed depends on what our new policy is, and whether or not its successful. Nothing can guarantee success — sometimes success isn’t possible, we have to recognize that fact of life. But I’m rather optimistic that if we shifted dramatically to a regional/international solution, which would require us giving up a lot of control of the situation, we’d ultimately have a better chance of success, and a better chance to undercut al qaeda. (I still think al qaeda in Iraq would be slaughtered by the Sunnis and Shi’ites there in a heartbeat if we left. They get tolerated by many groups because of anti-Americanism, but many have turned against them already).
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm

 
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