Thursday, August 25, 2005

Why We Fight

Now to put some quick answers up as to not only why we were right to invade Iraq, and also why we should stay.

And not vague "seeing it through" types of answers concerned with nation-building as good humanitarians, but with more concrete national security reasons.

First, let's review the "mistakes" of the war. There was a plan for the postwar, namely that certain exiles would quickly take power being welcomed by the people. Events however turned out to make that plan worthless, as the exiles had no clout, so a new plan for the postwar had to be improvised. Also, no large WMD stockpiles were found, which is (incorrectly) given as the only "justification" for the war. These two facts are taken to make the whole effort a "failure."

It turns out, however, that many things happened to work in our favor as a consequence of the war that we even had no idea about -- they were the "unknown unknowns", as Rummy would say.

Some may not wish to give Bush credit for these things, since they weren't foreseen. That's pure politics. We benefit from them -- and hence the war -- nonetheless.

For example, we had no idea about the UN's Oil for Fraud program that was undermining the sanctions and funneling money to weapons, terrorists, and the corruption of Western politicians.

Which the war ended.

We had no idea about Libya's advanced, secret nuclear weapons program.

Which the war ended.

We had no idea about Dr. Khan's vast nuclear black market emanating from Pakistan and supplying Iran, Libya, and North Korea with weapons know-how and parts.

Which the war ended.

And most importantly, we had no idea how threatened the jihadists felt from the prospect of a free, democratic Iraq.

Which the war revealed.

One reason the "insurgency" caught the planners by surprise is nobody appreciated how much the al-Qaeda types as well as the Iranian clerics -- our deadly enemies -- saw the result of the war to be a Very Bad Thing for them.

That's why they're waging it so desperately!

This is a key point.

Being unforeseen, it's taken as a "failure", but the jihad the war encouraged just proves how right the whole enterprise is.

As Tilo Reber mentions at Belmont Club,
Yep, Bush has never understood the threat that democracy poses to Islamofascism. He really did believe that Islam was just another religion and that Al Queda was a small group of radicals. But that is what most people thought. And many still believe this today. Few understood then and few still understand today that Islam would be put in a position of having to fight for it's life on it's home peninsula. The fact that Bush did not understand this puts him in no worse a position than most of humanity. The left still doesn't understand it.
Which is why we stay in Iraq for the time being, to mow them down in droves.

Bush himself now says it:
Bush: Terrorists converging on Iraq, US must stay

Bush said foreign fighters from Saudi Arabia, Syria,Iran, Egypt, Sudan, Yemen, and Libya were targeting Iraqi civilians with car bombs and suicide attacks.
Some say we're just "making more terrorists as fast as we kill them." This is wrong.

There are 3 major elements we're facing in Iraq. The first is the "former regime elements" who are diehard holdouts. They have no future and they're getting what's coming to them. Their numbers are dwindling.

The ones that do seem to be in large supply are the "ali babas" (as the arabs themselves call them) -- a criminal element that doesn't mind taking a few hundred dollars from the terror masters to fire off a few potshot mortar rounds at us. There is a deep well of them, but their creation poses no threat to us outside Iraq's borders, they are not very effective, and local tribal sheikhs will rein them in as the new government takes control.

That leaves the real prize we never expected: the foreign al-Qaeda fighters.

There were upwards of 10,000 jihadists that trained at bin Laden's camps in Afghanistan. There could be thousands more than that. Or at least, there WERE that many, until they all started swarming into the meatgrinder of Iraq where we have a free-fire zone and a geared-up military to take them on.

They do this because they know a free Iraq will be mortal blow to their ideology.

So we stay to send them to "paradise" as long as they keep coming.

What, you'd rather they had time to sit around and plan more suicide attacks against our own country?

Because as outlandish as that sounds, that's what they'd otherwise be doing, we now know.

And they aren't easily replaceable; these are trained pros whose lives are devoted to jihad. I'm sure we're encouraging some more who were borderline to take up the call, but it's best we get them out of the woodwork now, and kill them off while they have little experience.

But look at how al-Reuters spins this!
"The stakes in Iraq could not be higher. The brutal violence in Iraq today is a clear sign of the terrorists' determination to stop democracy from taking root in the Middle East," Bush said.

His comments came on a day when dozens of insurgents armed with rocket-propelled grenades and assault rifles attacked police checkpoints in Baghdad.

More than 1,800 American troops have been killed in Iraq. The Bush administration's initial justification for the war was that Iraq posed a threat because it had stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction. None were found.

Bush has increasingly tied staying in Iraq to the need to fight terrorism following the September 11, 2001, attacks. Critics say the administration is trying to shift justification for the war despite lack of evidence linking prewar Iraq and September 11.
What evil liars!

For one thing, it is KNOWN Hussein was supporting terrorism in general.

For another, there are several open-source links between Hussein and bin Laden.

That his regime was having cooperation talks with al-Qaeda is not disputed. Why do we have to prove he drew up the plans for 9/11 specifically to take him out as a supporter of our mortal enemy? Did Bush not say "we will make no distinction between the terrorists and those who harbor them?"

Did Hussein not harbor arch-terrorist Abu Nidal as well as bin Laden lieutenant Zarqawi before the war?

Did not extant news reports just prior to 9/11 mention the curious fact that German officials arrested several Iraqi intelligence agents for planning attacks on American interests? Whether that was 9/11 itself or a different attack they were planning should be irrelevant.

And -- AND! -- there even ARE growing links between Hussein and the 9/11 hijackers: the Czech intelligence report that Atta met with Iraqi agents in Prague has not been withdrawn, and some of the other 9/11 hijackers are known to have definitely met with an Iraqi intelligence agent in Malaysia.

What more do they want?

How about attempted assassination of Bush the Elder?

How about violating the cease-fire agreement of Gulf War 1 repeatedly?

How about material breach of UN resolutions?

How about still to this day failing to account for tons of WMD the UN inspectors themselves believe was produced?

Not to mention the strategic goals of pressuring Iran and changing the whole dynamic of the Middle East.

That's why we went in.

And to kill al-Qaeda terrorists is why we stay.

And we'll "leave" (which really just means not having responsibility for security; we'll always have a reasonably large presence there, one would hope!) when the Iraqi security forces are trusted enough to have control of their own supplies, transportation, and intelligence, which we haven't given them yet until they have a real government.

This should all be obvious.

It seems like people won't accept these reasons, however, until Bush personally meets with them not once, but twice, to explain it (as Sheehan is demanding), using formal debating rules, with his performance judged by media pundits as to whether he "won" the debate or "made the case".

As if this were some sort of game.

5 Comments:

Anonymous Jeff said...

Great post, RDS. The al-Reuters comment is staggering...even for them.

2:36 AM, August 26, 2005  
Blogger jpe said...

What, you'd rather they had time to sit around and plan more suicide attacks against our own country?

There's a curious logic in the flypaper strategy: the strategy only really works if the country is plunged into violence and chaos. If the country immediately became stable, then al-Q would've been denied the space to cause havoc, which would've in turn denied us the chance to kill them in Iraq.

Oddly, then, the flypaper strategy only works if there's no post-war security. In other words, our success in killing al-Q members hinges on the lack of security. This lack of security is the proximate cause of the deaths of many Iraqi citizens during post-war chaos. In short, we sacrifice innocent Iraqi civilians for the security of America.

Isn't that ethically troubling?

Another point: yes, good things have come out of the war. However, a good thing has come out of Boston's Big Dig, something that has been judged a miserable failure due to the enormous cost overruns. In other words, you have to account for costs when judging the success of something. That's just common sense.

12:48 PM, August 26, 2005  
Blogger jpe said...

Sorry to repost, but there's a reason only freepers and lluminati-obsessives buy into the Saddam/al-Q link.

Most of the evidence is dicey at best, and it's unclear whether Iraq had any more contacts with terrorists than any other country in the regioh.

12:57 PM, August 26, 2005  
Blogger RDS said...

jpe,

Illuminati? It doesn't take the tinfoil hat brigade to find the following items more than merely curious:

1. The 1998 Clinton Justice Dept. indictment reads,
Al Qaeda reached an understanding with the government of Iraq that al Qaeda would not work against that government and that on particular projects, specifically including weapons development, al Qaeda would work cooperatively with the government of Iraq.

2. What about Ahmad Hikmat Shakir Azzawi, an Iraqi intelligence agent?
This is a man who, undeniably, was called from a 1993 World Trade Center bombing safehouse, got a 9/11 hijacker through Malaysian customs, apparently attended a foundational 9/11 gathering, disappeared from sight (as did the hijackers and their co-conspirators) right after the Malaysia meeting, and turns up in Qatar a few days after 9/11 with contact information for the brother Khalid Sheik Mohammed (the 9/11 mastermind) and other terrorists. What is the good reason not to be curious about this apparent co-conspirator (whom the CIA once thought important enough to travel to Jordan to interview)?
There's some doubt about his membership in the Fedayeen, but that doesn't mean the official airport-greeter with this name who met the 9/11 hijackers didn't exist!

3. How about these pre-9/11 news reports?
Iraqi Spies Reportedly Arrested in Germany 16 March 2001

Al-Watan al-Arabi (Paris) reports that two Iraqis were arrested in Germany, charged with spying for Baghdad. The arrests came in the wake of reports that Iraq was reorganizing the external branches of its intelligence service and that it had drawn up a plan to strike at US interests around the world through a network of alliances with extremist fundamentalist parties.


4. From the 9/11 Commission report itself,
The report provides details of several of the "friendly contacts," including meetings throughout the mid-1990s which suggest the outreach between Iraq and al Qaeda went both ways. In March 1998, "two al Qaeda members reportedly went to Iraq to meet with Iraqi intelligence." The public learns for the first time of a trip taken by Iraqi officials to Afghanistan in July 1998 in which they met first with representatives from the Taliban and later with bin Laden. According to the report, "sources reported that one, or perhaps both, of these meetings was apparently arranged through bin Laden's Egyptian deputy, [Ayman al] Zawahiri, who had ties of his own to the Iraqis." (THE WEEKLY STANDARD reported in November 2003 that Zawahiri met with Saddam Hussein in 1992. And, according to an interrogation of a senior Iraqi Intelligence official, Zawahiri received $300,000 from the Iraqi regime in 1998.)There's plenty more.

Even if such contacts are "par for the course" in the region, that just means we need to change the behavior of all of them, and we had to start somewhere.

8:19 PM, August 26, 2005  
Blogger RDS said...

jpe,

As I mentioned, the flypaper strategy evolved out of circumstances and was not by design. The terrorists of various stripes would be making the Iraqi people suffer whether or not we are there, in the aftermath of Hussein, as it's in their interest to make it a 1980s Lebanon. Our presence at least makes that harder.

Therefore, I see no ethical problem. The responsibility lies entirely with the terrorists. There is no equivalency.

As far as the Big Dig having good outcomes, I was speaking implicitly of good outcomes, net-net. We'll find out soon enough if the Iraqi people really want Hussein back in power or not, when he goes on trial; I'm confident they will judge their present circumstances worth a more hopeful future.

8:24 PM, August 26, 2005  

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