No cite, but I recall a news story that at one point the Pentagon wanted to bomb Al Qaeda there, but the Bush White House told them no. Probably for another excuse to invade.
I’m not gonna dig around for a cite, but IIRC, I posted about that some months back. The logic behind their “reasoning” went like this: If we bomb them, then people will think that we no longer have any need to invade, thus we’ll have a harder time making the case for invasion.
I don’t quite grasp the logic of that at all. It seems to me that if they had gone after the guys before the invasion, they would then have all kinds of evidence that there was an AQ presence in Iraq, and that we’d better go after them. Of course, we are talking about an administration which doesn’t even have enough common sense to send a couple of 15 year olds into Kinkos to produce a “photo” of a camel with a nuclear weapon on it’s back, so I guess it should come as no surprise.
Bush lives in a reality generated by constant reading of bad Tom Clancy-esque novels. It wouldn’t surprise me if he believed the moon is made of cheese after watching a Wallace & Gromit short.
The latest talking point from the right (and moderate Dems) is that we must stay in Iraq to fight Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia. If we leave, they will attack us (an earlier version was “we must fight them over there” etc.). It’s not clear why this requires 160,000 troops and 100,000 contractors. It’s also not clear how this prevents the actual Al Qaeda from launching attacks against us. You remember, Al Qaeda? They’ve been chillin’ out in Waziristan for the last six years. They can do whatever they want. I imagine they’ve been having a lot of fun trolling the tent cities that have resulted from our adventure. If you actually care about terrorism and think it’s an issue, the Mesopotamian branch of Al Qaeda is a distraction.
Yes, they are wrong too. The reality is that both major parties are failures when it comes to this issue, with the Dems receiving a slot nod for going into the next phase sooner than the GOPers.
The biggest problem is that The 1% want those bases and oil contracts and the average American doesn’t. If history is any guide, it shouldn’t be a mystery who will win this battle. Indeed, it’s already been lost, has it not? That’s why “serious” Dem plans involve leaving a large force in Iraq for some time to “battle the trrrrrrrrrrrsts,” as you point out.
We probably won’t be so lucky to be stuck with a president like Bush in the future, though. We’re going to go back to normal, with presidents who can talk clearly and not be a laughing stock. But their thoughts won’t be too different from those of Bush, or Reagan, or LBJ. And as Bush has demonstrated, the bar for sophistication in the U.S. and completing your plans is actually quite low anyway, so I’d expect formerly hesitant grabbers of power to be less so. See: Hillary Clinton’s blatant obsession with Iran. Be afraid, be very afraid.
It would depend on how much traction the Shia got by claiming that Al Qaeda were foreigners who need to be driven out of Iraq. If the Iraqi public is buying that then the Sunnis might decide that Al Qaeda support isn’t worth the cost of lost support from the Iraqi people.
I’m not going to state how long an Iraqi civil war would last. But as a rough guesstimate, I’ll predict the Shia will be in control of the whole country within three years of an American withdrawal. I don’t know if you consider that “long term” or not.
The Kurds are admittedly a factor. But the bottom line is that the Shia are a simple majority in Iraq - they outnumber everyone else. So even if everyone else joins together in an “save ourselves from the Shia” alliance, the Shia will still be the stronger party. In the face of that superiority, there will probably be some smart players (like maybe the Kurds) who will decide allying themselves with the Shia is a better idea than fighting against them.
And the regional power that’s most likely to and most capable of intervening in Iraq is Iran - which is pro-Shia. Which means that foreign intervention scenarios will probably favor the Shia factions.
Al Qaeda does have a lot of different goals. And for that reason, I’m guessing that once the tide starts turning against them in Iraq, they’ll just regroup and move on to a new target, like trying to help overthrow Mussaraf in Pakistan and establish a new Taliban there. Al Qaeda is a loose organization and favors targets of opportunity - they’ll move on to wherever they see a vulnerable target rather than keep fighting for a lost cause.
I agree - my prediction is just a prediction. Anyone who states they know for certain what will happen in the Middle East is setting themselves up for a fall.
But I hardly think my prediction is a rosy scenario we should be hoping for. Sure, Al Qaeda is a bunch of evil bastards and we don’t want to see them taking over Iraq. But having Iraq be taken over by a bunch of Iraqi Ayatollahs instead is just as bad.
Saying that Al Qaeda in Iraq is not a direct threat to the United States is more than a minor quibble away from Bush’s position. It’s a pretty much a different policy.
Well that is a good point.
I assumed before the war started that a long occupation would probably be about the best thing that could happen to AQ in terms of recruitment. Would that I had been wrong.
I wish I could completely delete my previous post, number 28.
I can’t quite explain why. I just don’t feel right about it. I apologize for posting it.
Take my President. Please.
I prefer to see him as the ROTC guy in Animal House standing in front of the stampeding crowd screaming “ALL IS WELL! ALL IS WELL!” at the top of his lungs.
I don’t think so, but it wouldn’t matter if he did, either. He’s just locked into a lie. He’s been using the claim of a link as a justification for his war for so long that he simply can’t back away from it, not without the entire rest of the stone wall crashing down on him (as if it hasn’t already). He can still hope for events to bail him out, which after all is his entire plan.
But it isn’t as if there’s anyone left willing to give him some slack back anyway. It just doesn’t matter anymore what he says.
Remember, they hate us for our freedom. The less freedom we have, the safer we are!