Wednesday, May 28, 2008


Contrast and Compare

Here is what the al Qaeda types are themselves saying about the war in Iraq. Money quote:

According to al Qaeda, their collapse in Iraq was steep and catastrophic. According to their stats, in late 2006, al Qaeda was responsible for 60 percent of the terrorist attacks, and nearly all the ones that involved killing a lot of civilians. The rest of the violence was carried out by Iraqi Sunni Arab groups, who were trying in vain to scare the Americans out of the country.

Today, al Qaeda has been shattered, with most of its leadership and foot soldiers dead, captured or moved from Iraq. As a result, al Qaeda attacks have declined more than 90 percent. Worse, most of their Iraqi Sunni Arab allies have turned on them, or simply quit.

Here is what Senator Obama's campaign said to Senator McCain's offer to travel to Iraq together to do some fact checking on the ground:

John McCain's proposal is nothing more than a political stunt, and we don't need any more 'Mission Accomplished' banners or walks through Baghdad markets to know that Iraq's leaders have not made the political progress that was the stated purpose of the surge. The American people don't want any more false promises of progress, they deserve a real debate about a war that has overstretched our military, and cost us thousands of lives and hundreds of billions of dollars without making us safer."

So for al Qaeda, the war is lost in Iraq and for Obama, the war is lost in Iraq (how else to interpret false promises of progress and not being made safer?). As Mark Knopfler once sang, two men say they're Jesus, one of them must be wrong. I hate to have to say it, but I believe the al Qaeda types have the clearer vision here, at least clearer than the candidate of the alternative reality left who simply cannot see progress in Iraq no matter how apparent. There is indeed none so blind as he who will not see.

The question voters need to answer is do they want a wilfully blind man as their leader? The question kind of answers itself, doesn't it?


The rest of the violence carried out by other Sunni groups?

So I guess Sadr and the Iranians are just sitting on their hands?

I hate to say it, but I don't think this vision is any clearer than my stool.

Unless you totally renounce everything the Bush administration has been saying about Iran, you need seriously rethink how accurate this assessment is.
Good point, Mike. I think the Sunni/Shia divide is about as important as the Catholic/Protestant one, which was murderous in Northern Ireland, nothing in Los Angeles, CA; but given that the al Qaeda types are by consensus Sunni, saying that they and the "other Sunni groups" have done all the violence seems to leave out the Shia terrorists/insurgents who have caused a lot of Iraqi casualties especially since the Samarra Mosque bombing. Thanks for pointing that not small omission out. I do think the Sadr mighty Mahdi Army might have reached its suggested shelf life; we'll see in the next few months. I bet they get more into politics but it's a tough call.

Let us remember that AQM wasn't killing anyone in Iraq until after the invasion.



Mark Dunn
I looked into your statement, Tony, and I think it's merely one of semantics. Moussaui, that doesn't look right, the guy they blew up in a house who was head of AQM, was in Iraq after Afghanistan fell but before we got to Iraq and he was doing just what he did after (at least was organizing and training for it against Americans and actually doing it against Kurds) but his group had a different name. A rose by any other name... We are no more creating terrorists by killing them than we were creating Nazis by killing them. Or so I believe. Any evidence for a counter view other than the AGM wasn't so called much before the 3/03 invasion?

It is not semantics. Very little occurred in pre invasion Iraq w/o Saddam's imprimatur. He permitted Moussaui to operate against the Kurds, his (Saddam's) enemies but Moussaui was strictly small time and had he started to set off bombs in marketplaces, blowing up Iraqis, even Shiites, Saddam would have squashed him like a bug.

Then we removed Saddam and in essence, removed all authority, and voila. When you remove the alpha predator what happens? There is nothing to keep the vermin in check and they proliferate. It was only when the Sunnis tired of the vermin that we were able to bring AQM under control.

Never in life, not in this life and not in the next, take any position that does not acknowledge that the rise of AQM in Iraq was not attributable to the deposition of Saddam. To do so is at best revisionism and at worst, pure fabrication.

We did not create terorists in Iraq and more than we created Nazis. What we did was to create an environment in which teroorists could commit terrorism.

You didn't say Moussaui was worse after we got there, you said his organization wasn't there, no, "wasn't killing anyone in Iraq until after the invasion." Who's revising now? You don't know Saddam would have squashed him like a bug (although Abu Nidal certainly was killed before the Gulf War resumed). I understand the concept of political vacuum, I just don't think it should stand in the way of doing the right thing. Deposing Saddam was the right thing. Tell me you at least believe that.

Was deposing Saddam Hussein right? From a moral perspective, certainly. As a matter of foreign policy, by which I mean were the interests of the United States best served by deposing Saddam Hussein, no.

My conclusion is based on 3 major factors: 1. W/ respect to national security, are we safer, and even though some have concluded that we are, was the benefit we realized worth the cost? My conclusion is no. 2. Will our exercise in nation building succeed? Time will tell but I will cite 2 issues. If Democratic Iraq is to survive and flourish, it will require decades of our presence w/ no hope of ever achieving the results of Japan or South Korea largely b/c of the 2nd issue which is that for deomocracy in Iraq to succeed, a thorough cultural transformation is necessary and that is not going to happen. 3. The deposition of Saddam Hussen reoved the strongest foil to the Iranian Revolution in the region so now we have an empowered Iran, a thoroughly more sinister and inimical threat to our security.

..... what Tony said.

I'd just like to add with regards to nation building that even if somehow the Sunni/Shia split can be resolved, we still have the Mehdi/Badr Shia struggle for power on the horizon (remember all that action in Basra and Sadr city recently? Yeah, that.)

We are so far away from reconciliation in Iraq it boggles the mind.
Tony, OK, so if I'm reading you right, we are safer but it cost too much. It has cost a lot. Like 6% of current annual entitlement spending. With your second point, you return to your tired and I believe racist idea that the Iraqis are genetically incapable of keeping a representative republic going. I reject it, although not from history. Finally, yes, Iran (one of the original Axis of Evil states) doesn't have to worry about Saddam invading again, but I just don't see a resurgent Iran. They've been doing mischief since 1988 but are, like almost all socialistic states, declining. Their oil output is stagnant at best, they have to import a uncomfortable amount of the vehicle fuels they use (because their one vulnerable refinery can't keep up) and they are not becomming an industrial powerhouse even as they join the nuke weapon club (which last fact is a valid criticism of this administration) Iran more sinister than Saddam's Iraq. Don't see that either. Equally bad for sure.
Mike, yeah cling to the sunni/shia divide--it's a HUGE problem in the rest of the Gulf (sarcasm) and how's that Shia infighting going? Quelled in Basra, walled into insignificance in Sadr city? Although I disagree a lot with what you say, I really appreciate your taking the time to disagree with me. Thanks, heartily.

In rereading my comment re Iran being more sinister, I realize it was open to interpretation. I was not referring to the internal living conditions of Iraq vs. Iran, but Iran's practice of "exporting" its "revolution" in the form of support to Hamas, Hezbollah, and Shiite militias and insurgents in Iraq.

I think you are off course if you believe my comments to be racist. As I have said b/f, the problem is a cultural one unaffected by race.

If I were to rewrite history, I would have started by inviting the King of Afghanistan, now deceased, back to his country as a figurehead and installed a constitional monarchy similar to England's.

I would have stayed out of Iraq entirely.

I think we both know that the major beachhead of the war on terrorism is the tribal areas of Pakistan.

I believe our efforts in the "decapitation" of the Taliban would be far more advanced had we merely concentrated our efforts in Afghanistan.

We also both know, you can't put the toothpaste back in the tube.

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