Is it possible that George really believes this stuff?

To paraphrase Cecil, when describing whale shit, “[He] has very little weight and no depth.”

I think Bush has a small kernel of truth in his statements. Al Qaeda is present in Iraq, it is attacking Americans, and it is the same organization that carried out the 9/11 attacks.

But these small truths are overwhelmed by the larger truths. Al Qaeda is not a main player in Iraq. I recently read that about 15% of the insurgents in Iraq are connected to Al Qaeda. Al Qaeda is a foreign organization and is predominantly Sunni - two factors which prevent them from getting a real foothold in Iraq. If we pulled out of Iraq, Al Qaeda is one of the first groups that would be eliminated in any civil war.

But the bigger untruth is Bush’s claim that we need to stay in Iraq because of Al Qaeda. Al Qaeda only became a presense in Iraq after our occupation and, as I pointed out above, it won’t long survive our departure. Al Qaeda is just one of the problems that would be solved by an American withdrawal.

Bravo! Why can’t any politician say this? Hillary? Obama? Rudy? Anybody?

AQ is certainly a foreign organization and Sunni, all true. However, I’d just like to point out that the Ba’athist party in Iraq, who held the whip hand for over 3 decades, was ALSO a Sunni organization…and IIRC, the origins of the Ba’athist party weren’t in Iraq initially. I don’t think that AQ being Sunni PRECLUDES them gaining a real foothold in Iraq…though perhaps them being foreign will put a damper on it, as you say. Assuming that the majority of AQ in Iraq are not Iraqi’s of course.

I have serious doubts about this myself. Personally, I think that at least a few of the Sunni groups will attempt to ally themselves with AQ in Iraq as a counter balance to other Sunni and Shi’ia groups.

Again, I completely disagree. AQ’s goal is a (Sunni dominated) Islamic super-state in the region…not just to fight American’s where ever they can find them. Why WOULD AQ just shuffle off when the US leaves? Why would all the other groups (who will be at each others throats) band together to MAKE them go? With the US gone its going to be chaos in Iraq (IMHO), with myriad splinter factions going at each other for all they are worth. AQ will be in the thick of it, doing what they do best…sowing hate and discontent far and wide.

No idea what gives you this impression or where you get this idea from. Solved? In what way??


Why won’t al-Qaeda survive long after our departure? The Sunni groups who have turned against al Qaeda seem to have done so only with the knowledge that we would be there as a buffer against the Shi’a militias. Once we’re gone, so is that buffer. Sure, the Shi’a will try to eliminate al Qaeda, but what sort of blood-bath would have to ensue in order for that to be successful? And if the country were to split in two (or more) pieces, then al Qaeda would have the protection offered them in the Sunni part.

This recent article in Newsday makes for some interesting reading, noting that many of Bush’s critics agree with him that a precipitous pullout would be disasterous. I see no reason to think that al Qaeda wouldn’t find plenty of support among the Sunni populace in that type of situation’

Now, I’m not saying I agree with Bush’s proposed solution, which seems to be an indefinite commitment to troops on the ground in Iraq. And I don’t think that al Qaeda in Iraq would be sending suicide bombers to the US if we leaved, but I see no reason to think that the ISF is in a position to eliminate them in their country if we pull out quickly.

The Iraqi Sunni insurgents might attempt an alliance with Al Qaeda on their common religious grounds (although Al Qaeda’s foreign connections might preclude this). But it probably won’t make a difference in the long run. The Iraqi Shia insurgents outnumber the combined strength of the Iraqi Sunnis and the Al Qaeda in Iraq by over two to one. If a general civil war starts with everyone shooting everyone else then the Shia will be the survivors.

Al Qaeda will still exist in other countries but it will be “solved” in Iraq because they’ll all be either dead there or have fled the country.

I’m not saying this is a good solution - the Iraqi Shia insurgents are no better than the Iraqi Sunni insurgents or the Al Qaeda insurgents. But I am claiming that Bush’s statement that we need to stay in Iraq to fight the Al Qaeda insurgents there is wrong. Our presense there is keeping the conflict between insurgents groups minimal and therefore is keeping the Al Qaeda insurgents alive.

I don’t see why AQ being a foreign organization would preclude an alliance with some (or even all) of the various Sunni factions…especially if they are desperate.

Well, it might or might not (only time will tell), but you were implying there wouldn’t BE a ‘long run’ for AQ in Iraq…and thats what I was replying too.

This may or may not be true, but lets accept that at face value for now. A couple of points. First off, this implies that either the Sunni OR Shi’ia are some kind of monolithic organizations. They aren’t. There are various factions in both. Also, there are OTHER groups that will be involved in a general civil war (the Kurds spring immediately to mind…but there are other groups that will align one way or the other, or strike out on their own for all we know). Also, once the US is out and a general civil war starts, those initial numbers (even if they were all neatly aligned on one side or another) are pretty much out the air lock as this is not going to be a contained struggle among the Iraqi’s, completely separate form the rest of the region. At a guess Iran will be sticking its oar in the water (though probably covertly)…and probably Saudi and a few others as well.

In addition, whatever AQ has in Iraq NOW, that doesn’t preclude them from bringing in more fighters or other groups loosely aligned with them once the US is out. Again, AQ is not an organization dedicated to fighting the US where ever we happen to be…they have other goals in the region that have nothing to do with us (or only touch on us when we stick OUR oar in their pond). I’d say they have a very real stake in the future of Iraq…they certainly don’t want to see an Iranian style Shi’ia theocracy there (nor a secular democracy).

I don’t believe thats a likely outcome…certainly not without years of blood shed and struggle, and probably not without some form of serious ethnic cleansing of the Sunni in Iraq. We’ll just have to agree to disagree and wait and see…and hope you are right and I’m wrong.


I don’t think he believes that Al Qaeda In Iraq was tied to the 9/11 massacres. When pressed, e.g. in the 2004 debate, he says he knows there was no connection. AQinI didn’t even exist before we invaded Iraq. However, he knows that if he keeps finding new ways to imply that 9/11 was a good reason to invade Iraq, a whole lot of people will believe that.

I’m not making that up. Surveys show a surprising number of Americans feel sure that Iraq was behind the horrible September attacks. If you single out those who get their news from FoxNews, a majority of the Foxies believe it.

The previous paragraph asserts things I don’t know how to find. I’m a lousy Googler. More experienced searchers can call me a dunderhead, and say they could find that stuff with the mouse tied behind them. When the signup for Google class was announced, I probably mis-heard, and thought, “Heck, I already know how to be a muggle.” :smack: Sorry.

i think the emphasis should not be on whether or not there is a connection between Saddam and Al Qaeda or between that organization in Pakistan and one in Iraq. The question is, to me, is staying in Iraq the best available defense against terrorist attacks here.

The idea was that we would create a democratic nation in the Mid East. Supposedly that would reduce the discontent in other nations in the area and obviate the need for terrorist activities. That was pie-in-the-sky from the onset and has long been shown to be so. What are we still doing there now?

Well, of course we don’t “need” to do anything. But when you say Bush is wrong on that issue, are you also arguing that Harry Reid, Hillary Clinton, Barak Obama, John Edwards, and Joe Biden are wrong, too? They are saying the same thing, although not to as strong a degree and not that al Qaeda in Iraq poses a direct terrorist threat to the US. The recent bill introduced by Reid to “withdraw” the troops explicitly allowed the president to keep some level of troops in Iraq to, among other things, fight al Qaeda there.

Maybe they are just to chicken-hearted to say anything else. The question remains as to whether the money being spent in Iraq could be applied to a more effective means of combatting terrorism in general.

When GW vetoed the Iraq funding bill that called for a schedule for withdrawal they could have held their ground and sent up a bill that appropriated money only for withdrawal.

The word keeps being spread that failing to fund the troops would put them in danger. Well, they are funded and still getting killed and wounded.

Providing targets for terrorists.

Now I’m picturing Bush in flightsuit and codpiece, standing on the deck of an aircraft carrier, in front of a banner that says, “Git 'r done!”

I might (emphasize “might”) believe that about Clinton, Edwards and Reid, but not about Obama or Biden.

And yet poll after poll shows that most Americans want us out of Iraq. Not partially out-- completely out. I think the more likely explanation is that they actually believe there is need to stay and fight against al Qaeda there, albeit with a different force level and different tactics than Bush proposes.

Could be. However I think they also know how fickle public opinion can be. If they force a pullout and if something really bad happens to our troops during the pullout, public censure can follow in a heartbeat.

Safer to deal with the killing we have and blame Bush rather than risk other possible killing which could be blamed on us.

Bottom line: Saddam Hussein (may he rot in Hell, if I believed in such a place) did a better job keeping Al Qaeda out of Iraq than the U.S. has done during the occupation.

How sad is that?

Not sad. Predictable. Dictators are almost always better at keeping terrorists at bay than are democracies. What’s sad is that we didn’t think of that before going in (we, as in Bush et al, not we as in the folks on this MB and certainly not we as in me).

Several reasons. Republican connected corporations don’t want to give up war profiteering. Bush and the neocons refuse to admit they’ve screwed up. They really want those “enduring bases”. They still hope to invade or at least attack Iran. The oilmen want Iraqi output suppressed, or the profits handed to them. The Christian fundies & cheerleaders for Israel ( who have a big overlap ) want to keep killing Muslims. And so on.

Yes, and that prewar toehold was in Iraqi Kurdistan, which Hussein did not control after the first Gulf War, thanks to the U.S.

Don’t know if the question really applies in his case. In England they say, “George Washington could not tell a lie, Richard Nixon could not tell the truth, and George Bush cannot tell the difference.”