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Right on cue ...
Posted by: McQ on Sunday, May 27, 2007

Last week President Bush used the occasion of a commencement address at the Coast Guard Academy to explain al Qaeda's plan to export their war against the rest of the world (and specifically the US) from Iraq.

Essentially that elicited an interesting barrage of comments which mostly ignored the substance and instead focused on the announcement as propaganda and anyone who bought into it as being manipulated by the administration (well, that and some silly stuff about what 'on background' means). We also were treated to the usual reminders that al Qaeda wouldn't be in Iraq if it weren't for Bush. Of course, mostly ignored is the fact that they are there now and it is that reality with which we must now deal.

Obviously it is a much easier problem to solve (meaning pull American combat troops out of Iraq, er, I mean "redeploy" them, right now) if you can ignore that salient bit of reality.

And wouldn't you know it, just when the anti-war left had given us their final harumph and was settling in for a long and self-satisfied nap - having told us Bushbot war-mongering chickenhawks a thing or two - out pops the deputy leader of al Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahiri. You'd almost think he was in league with Karl Rove or something.

What does al-Zawahiri do? Well he essentially puts the national security "what should we do" question right back in the middle of the table:
The deputy leader of Al-Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahiri, has urged supporters in Iraq to extend their “holy war” to other Middle Eastern countries.

In a letter sent to the leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq in the past few weeks, Zawahiri claims that it is defeating US forces and urges followers to expand their campaign of terror.

He conjures a vision of an Islamic state comprising Lebanon, Palestine and Syria, where Al-Qaeda has already gained its first footholds.

The goal of an Islamic “greater Syria”, first outlined by Zawahiri two years ago, is detailed in the letter amid growing concern about the activities of new groups under Al-Qaeda’s influence in the countries concerned.
Now, I have to ask, by what metric does al-Zawahiri make his claim that they are 'defeating US forces' in Iraq?

Clearly it isn't their losses vs. our losses. Nor is it control of anything, such as Anbar province. And it darn sure has nothing to do with the support of the Iraqi people who've mostly turned completely against them and are actively assisting in hunting them down.

So, you have to figure, it must be pure and unadulterated propaganda, right? Well, not exactly. Defeats take place in many ways, don't they, and not all of them, as we learned in Vietnam, take place on the battlefield. We talk about how winning the war in Iraq isn't a military problem, but instead a political one, right? Well so is losing it. And right now, we're in the middle of a self-inflicted loss which, of course, al-Zawahiri is beginning to crow about.

I know it is offensive to those on the anti-war side to have their opposition used by someone like al-Zawahiri as an indication that his side is going to win. But it's a cruel world, isn't it? Since there is really no other way than us leaving in which he can win, and since that is supposedly the desire of the majority of Americans and the one true mission of the Democratic Congressional majority, it seems to me, at least, to be an inarguable point.

So, again, granted, had we not gone into Iraq, perhaps al Qaeda wouldn't be there. But then, perhaps they would. That's the tricky thing, you just don't know. But what we know for a true certainty is they are indeed there now.

And we also know, based on Zawahiri's words, they plan to expand their "holy war" after our "defeat" in Iraq is completed (and, of course, they're not going to give the anti-war left any credit, so don't be looking for a thank-you card).

So there is their plan. Do we enable it by withdrawing early (I'm sorry, I meant 'redeploying', really, I did) or fight it by ensuring Iraq is able to take care of itself before we leave?

Yes, we know you want to pull the troops out now. Are you, given what Zawahiri is saying, willing to live with the consequences of doing so too soon, giving him a real victory to crow about as well a base in Iraq from which to extend his "holy war"? And, more importantly, are you willing, at a future date, to again commit US blood and treasure to another ME war to prevent the exportation of jihad here?

Oh, and if you're wondering, no, I wasn't at all satisfied or particularly impressed with most of the answers, no matter how civil or well written (both attributes most appreciated), in response to Dale's questions.
 
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We also were treated to the usual reminders that al Qaeda wouldn’t be in Iraq if it weren’t for Bush
If this is indeed true, then it is an admission that American forces were attacked by Al-Qaeda after our mission to remove Saddam Hussein was accomplished. We are therefore not the aggressors in our current battle. If fighting back is a war crime, then Al-qaeda could attack our forces or citizens anywhere overseas, and we would have no choice but to withdraw from there as well.
 
Written By: Jimmy the Dhimmi
URL: http://www.warning1938alert.ytmnd.com
Well of course you didn’t like them, you don’t agree with them. I don’t know exactly when this idea took hold on the right that the only way an idea can satisfy or impress you is if it says exactly what you want it to say (aka "You’re right!"), but that’s the accepted standard now.
 
Written By: Oliver Willis
URL: http://www.oliverwillis.com
I don’t know exactly when this idea took hold on the right that the only way an idea can satisfy or impress you is if it says exactly what you want it to say
Oliver, when you claim that Kosovo was not occupied, your arguments are pretty much guaranteed to be dismissed as unimpressive.
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
Well of course you didn’t like them, you don’t agree with them. I don’t know exactly when this idea took hold on the right that the only way an idea can satisfy or impress you is if it says exactly what you want it to say (aka "You’re right!"), but that’s the accepted standard now.
More content free spewage I see.
 
Written By: capt joe
URL: http://
Oliver, your answers all seem to be, "I have no answers. Sorry if you don’t like that."
 
Written By: Fyro
URL: http://
I don’t know exactly when this idea took hold on the right that the only way an idea can satisfy or impress you is if it says exactly what you want it to say (aka "You’re right!"), but that’s the accepted standard now.
Why do you act as if that is unique to the right side of the political spectrum?
 
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
... they are there now and it is that reality with which we must now deal ...

Odd that some will still whine about 2003 when it is 2007. I assume we’ll still hear about this in 2025. Whether they were there in 2003 and we could have fought them better elsewhere, they are there now. It is clear that your critics don’t want us to fight this enemy.

One minor point. Our enemy will always declare victory. The Sunni jihadists have lost Iraq to the Shiites whom they loathe. Someday we will leave and no matter when and how, the jihadists will claim victory. Arabs are taught in school that they won the Yom Kippur War! One shouldn’t confuse their propaganda for the reality on the ground. It’s clear you don’t. But their boasts (like Baghdad Bob’s) are mere posturing. (This is not to dismiss your excellent point about losing at home.)

 
Written By: Jason Pappas
URL: http://libertyandculture.blogspot.com/
BREAKING NEWS! The Liberal Narrative has been repaired! The bug has been fixed and liberals everywhere can take up the new cry starting today.

To recap: The dual announcements in the WaPo and the NYT clearly called for the LN batallions to get off of the “Get Out Now” campaign and to await further directions. Today we have those directions. Watch Professor Erb and others jump on this bandwagon.

What are the elements of the new LN on Iraq? Well, as we all know, the problem with the LN before was that it was vulnerable to a charge that it didn’t “Support the troops”. Note how this new version of the LN begins:
”Staff Sgt. David Safstrom does not regret his previous tours in Iraq, not even a difficult second stint...”
Man, this new LN “IS” the troops!

So what do “the troops” have to say these days?
”But now on his third deployment in Iraq [you cannot get any “troopier” than that!] , he is no longer a believer in the mission... “I thought, ‘What are we doing here? Why are we still here?’ ” said Sergeant Safstrom...”
Take that, Conservatives! This is the Screaming Eagles speaking here, not some liberal pantywaist inside the Beltway. Of course, we all know that you can find one soldier to say that all the problems in Iraq are due to the consumption of chicken fat, so they need to support this point of view:
”His views are echoed by most of his fellow soldiers in Delta Company, renowned for its aggressiveness.”
Next, discredit the milblogs and others who are still behind staying:
” A small minority of Delta Company soldiers — the younger, more recent enlistees in particular — seem to still wholeheartedly support the war. Others are ambivalent...”
Then fill out the picture we want to portray with general references to “interviews” with other troops:
”... in interviews with more than a dozen soldiers over a one-week period with this 83-man unit, most said they were disillusioned by repeated deployments, by what they saw as the abysmal performance of Iraqi security forces and by a conflict that they considered a civil war, one they had no ability to stop.”
Let’s hear from a “conservative Texas Republican” trooper:
“In 2003, 2004, 100 percent of the soldiers wanted to be here, to fight this war,” said Sgt. First Class David Moore, a self-described “conservative Texas Republican” and platoon sergeant who strongly advocates an American withdrawal. “Now, 95 percent of my platoon agrees with me.”
Just to make certain that no one could possibly believe that getting out now is betraying earlier efforts, let’s hit it hard one more time:
” It is not a question of loyalty, the soldiers insist. Sergeant Safstrom, for example, comes from a thoroughly military family. His mother and father have served in the armed forces, as have his three sisters, one brother and several uncles. One week after the Sept. 11 attacks, he walked into a recruiter’s office and joined the Army.”
How many dollars and hours did it take to come up with this guy? Don’t ask. Next follows detailed accounts of the perfidy of Iraq security forces; how they desert in times of stress - if they don’t use their American-provided weapons to fire at American forces. Here’s the kicker: the article ends with "balance" - an ambivalent soldier musing that:
” Sergeant Griffin understands the criticism of the Iraqi forces, but he believes they, and the war effort, must be given more time.
“If we throw this problem to the side, it’s not going to fix itself,” he said. “We gave them Humvees and equipment. For however long they say they need us here, maybe we need to stay.”
How’s that for balance? “We gave them Humvees and equipment, maybe we need to stay.”

This areticle has THINK TANK LN written all over it. “OK, we support the troops; NOW can we get out of here?”

We can expect many more first person stories of troops calling for withdrawal of chicken fat, er...from Iraq over the next few months. What else can patriotic liberal pundits do but respond to these troops?

Kevin Drum is on it.
 
Written By: Robert Fulton
URL: http://
Don’t take al qaeda propaganda seriously. They bluster and brag, but they’re not the most trustworthy folk, and not near as strong as they pretend to be. They have wild dreams of an expanding caliphate, but most Muslims are not about to sign on, and they need us there to provide an emotional outside enemy to help them rally support. And trying to use al qaeda propaganda to promote ones’ own political position is weak.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Mr. McQuain:
"...are you willing, at a future date, to again commit US blood and treasure to another ME war to prevent the exportation of jihad here?"
Professor Erb:
"...trying to use al qaeda propaganda to promote ones’ own political position is weak."
IOW:
"Heh, I’ll make damned sure it ain’t my kids who have to go back, so what the hell, main thing is to elect liberals to bring about my multilateral world sooner. If the poor rednecks have to go back someday - not my problem.*"
*Not an actual quote.
 
Written By: Robert Fulton
URL: http://
Don’t take al qaeda propaganda seriously. They bluster and brag, but they’re not the most trustworthy folk
Yeah! When Bin Laden was issuing fatwas and declarations of war against the US, it was all propaganda!

But nevermind that Scott, you have a terrible blind spot in that even if it is propaganda, it isn’t (solely) aimed at US.

You never understand that simple fact. Ever.
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Yeah! When Bin Laden was issuing fatwas and declarations of war against the US, it was all propaganda!
Much of it was. The idea that al qaeda could expand throughout the region doesn’t at all reflect reality, it’s their fantasy extremist vision. Sure they declared war against the US, but in nearly two decades they’ve managed just a few effective attacks, and only one on US soil. That one had spectacular effects, but in terms of death and destruction didn’t weaken the US one iota. The impact was mostly psychological — which is the point of terrorism, to leverage a weak position by creating fear and perhaps goading another actor to action that actually weakens itself.

The people who will deal with al qaeda are the people most directly threatened by his kind of fascism: the states and people of the Arab world (and maybe Iran too — Iran and the Taliban almost went to war). They’ll take care of al qaeda, especially if we’re not messing things up by injecting anti-Americanism into the mix and giving extremists recruitment tools.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
...but in terms of death and destruction didn’t weaken the US one iota.
Well, now a trillion here, a trillion there, and soon you’re talking about real money.
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
Yeah! When Bin Laden was issuing fatwas and declarations of war against the US, it was all propaganda!
Much of it was
Yeah, except for the parts where his plans caused lots of people to die!

Way to go Scotty!

 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Just an intellectual question here. What if I were like George Soros (meaning that I had a lot of money and was inclined to spend it on politics) and I hired a propaganda hired gun to run me a comment campaign on centrist blogs to facilitate my support of al Qaeda. Would I be pleased by this?:
"The idea that al qaeda could expand throughout the region doesn’t at all reflect reality, it’s their fantasy extremist vision. Sure they declared war against the US, but in nearly two decades they’ve managed just a few effective attacks, and only one on US soil. That one had spectacular effects, but in terms of death and destruction didn’t weaken the US one iota. The impact was mostly psychological — which is the point of terrorism, to leverage a weak position by creating fear and perhaps goading another actor to action that actually weakens itself."
Bonus or firing?
 
Written By: Robert Fulton
URL: http://
Sockpuppet comment:
"Mr. Fulton, how can you question the patriotism of someone who has, like the patriots who founded this country, pledged his life, goods and sacred honor to America, to include giving his life, if necessary and the lives of his heirs and all of his worldly goods to make certain that this beloved country can survive and prosper? Have you no shame?"
Well, I don’t know. Seems that we have here a citizen of the world. Having cast himself and his heirs at sea away from the Homeland, I guess I don’t mind the fact that I owe him the same loyalty and consideration that I do the members of al Qaeda, also citizens of the world. So I have no problem going right after him, even though he, like an illegal alien, has secured employment in this country and has his family here. As far as I am concerned, he is no American.

Let me make that more clear. When the call comes to defend the village from foreign attackers, one must forget petty differences with the village council and man the barricades, with one’s sons and daughters alongside, if able. If one fails to answer the call then I say turn them out to the foreigners forthwith. Which is what I would do with Professor Erb if the decision were mine.

 
Written By: Robert Fulton
URL: http://
We’ve killed more innocents and destroyed far more property in Afghanistan alone, let alone Iraq then they did on 9-11. Think of the emotional anger caused here by 9-11. That’s the response a lot in the Mideast have to us when we bomb and kill, however justified we may feel our actions are. That has to be considered. It looks to them that we feel very angry and sorry for ourselves when we feel pain, but when we inflict as much or more pain, we assume other countries should just be thankful we’re trying to bring them the benefits of our political system. Until we learn perspective we’ll not comprehend why our policies don’t have the results we anticipate.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
WE, White man?
 
Written By: Robert Fulton
URL: http://
We’ve killed more innocents and destroyed far more property in Afghanistan alone, let alone Iraq then they did on 9-11.
I assume you include in your math those killed by suicide bombings...
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
I assume you include in your math those killed by suicide bombings..
No, only so-called collateral damage from American use of force. Afhanistan alone reached that point relatively early. Again, we feel our own pain so intensely about 9-11, and then go bomb and attack without thinking about what kind of reaction that pain will cause in the places where our weapons kill innocents, destroy property, and create mental scars on a generation growing up. The suicide bombings that emerge once a system is become chaotic only aid to the trouble. There is really no way one can justify what’s happening in Iraq. Once the dust settles and people look at this objectively, I’m convinced it’ll be almost universally seen as a tragic failure of both policy and morality.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
"Once the dust settles and people look at this objectively, I’m convinced it’ll be almost universally seen as a tragic failure of both policy and morality."
That pretty much tells one all one needs to know about Professor Erb. Any questions?

What bothers me now is the dead silence from the lefties at this site. Are the rules of group-think such that no one dares express any disagreement with Professor Erb? Perhaps his ranting represents the future that you would bring to America and you stand mute in awe at his brilliant expose of the moral bankruptcy of the current America? Has the BDS epidemic run its tragic course?
 
Written By: Robert Fulton
URL: http://
Yes, we’ve driven the Iraqis and Afghans so insane with hatred that they’re now confused and kill each other 20 times as much as they kill Americans.

And who could forget all the suicide bombers and innocent targets who continue to be attacked from that generation who grew up in Vietnam, or Korea, or all over Europe and East Asia during WWII. (I personally remember those million boat people coming from Vietnam wanting to kill Americans...it’s seared into my memory.)

Well, what can we expect now that our "most murderous" men and women in American history are now in Iraq and Afghanistan?

[/"The Truth Hurts" Erb]
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://

Well, what can we expect now that our "most murderous" men and women in American history are now in Iraq and Afghanistan?
As usual you guys fall over yourselves trying to detract from the point — apparently because you can’t counter it.

The pain we feel when our innocents die and our property destroyed, like 9-11, is no different than the pain others feel when their sons and daughters are killed. Bombing in Afghanistan led civilian death tolls to 9-11 levels by early 2002. Since then, of course, we read constantly about innocents being killed, and the damage in property is far worse than 9-11. So when you see that a majority of Iraqis consider US personnel to be legitimate targets, or read about the Taliban gaining support and neither country stabilizing or embracing a pro-American perspective, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out why. But Americans don’t seem to understand that their pain and anger is as real as ours.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Wait...you’re telling me that people don’t like to be bombed? They don’t like to see their loved ones killed? Who knew?

My thanks to Erb for opening my eyes to reality. My veil of ignorance has been lifted.
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
You know, we killed a lot more Japanese and German civilians in WWII than all the Americans killed at Pearl Harbor. We should have taken a moment to understand their rage at us when we were fighting back. It would have been the pragmatic thing to do.
 
Written By: steverino
URL: http://steverino.journalspace.com/
when we were fighting back.
Iraq didn’t attack us. In any event, you’re comparing traditional wars between states back from the era of total war with the current social engineering experiment after defeating a state. You’re comparing wars with major world powers with violence in a region of military weakness, where only our choice to go there makes us targets for gangs of insurgents.

Trying to appeal to 9-11 is to base choices on fear. Fear is a bad reason to make decisions, it usually leads to a bad choice. 9-11 was a wake up call, and counter terrorism and dealing with the rise of Islamic extremism is necessary. But to go lashing out in a region to try to overthrow regimes and control governments was a reaction based on fear and it’s having devastating consquences for America and the region.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Iraq didn’t attack us
Actually, Iraq did attack us, but Afghanistan didn’t. I’m sure you;’ve forgotten the many attacks on US and British jets patrolling the no-fly zone.

But you’re missing the point: both were supporting terrorist groups, with some combination of cash, logistics, and shelter.

You’re still not worth arguing with, Erb. You don’t debate honestly, and there’s no point in continuing this.
 
Written By: steverino
URL: http://steverino.journalspace.com/
I’m sure you;’ve forgotten the many attacks on US and British jets patrolling the no-fly zone
If you violate another states’ sovereignty they have a right of self-defense. The No-Fly zones were not put in place by the Security Council, so Iraq did not recognize them as legal.

Point to one spot I don’t debate "honestly." I think that, like McQ, you just can’t stand admitting when you’re wrong so when you’re bested in a debate rather than accept it, you feel a need to insult the other person. That prevents you from being able to confront the possibility that perhaps what you believe might be wrong.

As far supporting terrorist groups, Iraq’s support pales compared to the support given by the Saudis. And Iraq wasn’t supporting al qaeda. You also did not answer my point about how comparison of 9-11 to traditional total wars between states is not appropriate, nor how a foreign policy based on fear is misguided. Again, rather than reply to substance you simply insult. I answer your points and build arguments. You run from them.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Fear the Erb!
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
Such is life.
 
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URL: http://www.google.com/
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