Will the war in Iraq lead to reduced terrorism?

I’m too sick at the moment to get into the details right now of why December’s cite is wrong, but I’m hereby placing an open bet on the table. $100 even money says 5 years from now this war will not be credited with reducing terrorism. Any takers?

Good post, december.

I don’t see this war as leading to a reduction in terror against US interests; indeed, I believe that we will see something of an upsurge in terrorism against US assets and interests as a result. I’m not thinking about the “fringe terrorists” (The Shoe Bomber or his mental equivalent) but the more intelligent, cunning and fanatical terrorists. Osama bin Laden may well be dead, but this war has (in my opinion) inflamed and outraged a number of unstable people who didn’t like us much to begin with. Heck, there were a number of reports on bbc online and reuters.com about “arab dismay” at the for-all-practical-purposes unilateral invasion of Iraq by the US. A lot of people in what was once Mesopotamia expected Saddam to put up a better fight than he did. No doubt at all, we demonstrated that the US (aided by the British and a few Aussies) can kick significant butt in any military encounter. One lesson to learn from this is, “don’t attack the US with a conventional army.” So I come down on the opposite side of this from DrDeth, in that I suspect there will be more covert funding and support of these clandestine, deniable terror operations.

Side note – I don’t see how this can be a good thing to have even people who hated Saddam Hussein now mad at us – “yeah, he was a bastard, but he was our bastard!”.

One problem (of course) is that the truly dangerous terrorists have followers who, for whatever reason, believe that a suicide attack is a reasonable tactic, and (General Patton notwithstanding) it’s hard to fight someone who is willing to die for his cause. Furthermore, these truly dangerous terrorists have a commitment and patience to plan and execute operations which may take YEARS to set up. Example: The first attack on the WTC was in 1993 (the bomb in the basement), and that didn’t work too well. The 2001 attack was a better planned and better executed followup to that first attack, but the second time was more effective.

I don’t see it being easy in this day and age to make “Fortress America” secure, and it will be impossible to secure all American assets world-wide against an attack.Worse, these days we have the attention span of a grasshopper on speed when it comes to stuff like this. If we can’t address the problem in one political cycle (time between elections!) then it either doesn’t exist or is unsolveable. So I think that we’ll be seeing the fallout of this invasion long after George W. Bush has retired from the White House.

So that’s why (in a nutshell) I really didn’t want this particular war to happen in this particular way – no unified UN backing, general sense that this war was going to happen no matter what.

Now that it has started, I am very glad that the US/UK forces are rolling into Iraq and meeting limited opposition. I hope that the war will be over soon (hopefully by July 4th so we can have a bigger celebration than usual this year) and that the Iraqi people are better off “under new management”. I watched AM Burridge’s briefing/question-time last night on C-SPAN, and really got the sense that the Iraqis will be better off in a couple of years. I hope we will too.

Do you have a cite for this claim? According to the Telegraph (which I’m certain you don’t trust, but you should at least provide an account which contradicts it), there have been rather large numbers of civilians running into the street to greet the British. Also, the British military claims there has been a popular uprising against the Ba’ath regime there.

It’s my understanding that there are still small pockets of fierce resistance, but I think that the statement “Basra is fighting back hard” is an inaccurate representation of the situation.

Alternatively, you should provide evidence rather than repeating assertions that have little basis in fact.

Fact: Recently Hussein began writing checks to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers (not to Hamas, itself or to any other organization) in a move to garner support among the anti-American and anti-Jewish groups in the Mid-East.

Fine. A bit of token PR.

Now, what factual evidence can you present that he has engaged in genuine support for Hamas or any other terrorist group in the years since the first Gulf War? It would be interesting to see what that evidence that is, since Colin Powell was unable to provide any evidence before the UN and President Bush has produced no evidence in the more than twelve months that he has been beating this war drum.

The point, ladies & gentlemen, is not whether or not it’s good for the Iraqis. I’m happy for them if getting rid of Saddam is a good thing, but I don’t live there; I live here. The only question I’m interested in is the only question I SHOULD be interested in: does this make me any safer, which is what the OP is all about?
On balance, so far, no.
Think: we helped the Afghans get rid of the USSR. The result? Osama bin Laden. If this is the reward we get for helping them in a time of need, I’d hate to see what happens when we offend them.
The only answer is to GET THE HELL OUT, not dig the hole deeper, which appears to be what we’re doing.

Now, looking at the current situation, we have the following worst possible outcomes so far:

1 - We went into the war with only the barest minimum of support from the West and from the Arab world.
2 - So far, there has been no conclusive discovery of any NBC type weapons anywhere in Iraq, and no use of them by the Iraqi regime. Absent this, the original rationale for war is thoroughly discredited.

Number 2 is the really big problem. We should have gone in, if we were going to go in at all, under the banner of stopping terrorism, which would have been an easy case to make, even absent the al Qaeda connection, as Dr Deth points out. Instead, the thinking inside the Administration appears to have been to use pre-existing UN resolutions as a foot in the door, as it were, that could be used to throw it wide open and invade Iraq. As it turned out, possession of WMD was very hard to prove, and it still might turn out to be impossible. If that winds up being the case, then the world is going to see this as an invasion that was completely without justification. That will only increase terrorism against us, meaning, just to be completely explicit about this, that thousands of Iraqi lives, and quite a few Americans and Britons, along with a shitload of our tax dollars, would be completely wasted in a counterproductive piece of folly.
So far, this whole thing has been botched so badly it’s truly beyond belief. Our only hope is to pray hard that they find something conclusive in the way of WMD fast.

I’m not sure whether you would consider this “genuine support”, but Abu Nidal lived until his recent death in Iraq under the protection of Hussein. It is widely though that his organization (the Fatah Revolutionary Council, frequently referred to as the Abu Nidal Organization) has been based out of Iraq since Libya and Egypt shut down its operations in their countries in 1999.

Of all the countries immediately after 9/11, Iraq was the only one, the only one who publicly applauded what the terrorist did. I knew then that Sadaam’s end was soon. I just wished there were 51 swords on his neck–51 being the number of other predominately Islamic countries around the world.

Do you people really want to engage december in a discussion about what constitutes “support” for terrorism? Really?

Fang, since you asked, I do not normally read the Telegraph and am unaware of its orientation. When I want to get a transatlantic point of view, the BBC and Guardian seem to fill the need. But the point is still that Basra is not under British “control”, three weeks into the “cakewalk”. Although one would expect to find locals on both sides of the liberation/conquest viewpoint divide, there is no factual support (yet) for the belief that the mass of them (a dangerous term, I know) are in favor of the war even now, much less that they will be over the long-term future. You provided your own cites for the view you asked me to cite, ya know.

Many Catholic Nationalists welcomed the British Troops in N. Ireland as they were seen as protection against the racist and oppressive Unionist leaders. It didn’t last very long as you may be somewhat familiar with :wink:

Reality, truth etc are all relative. Lots of people just buy the BS coming from the people they perceive to be on their side. Any major action against the IRA generally led to higher levels of support for them within the nationalist community because they were usually caught up in the backwash of whatever the policy of the day was, internment, shoot to kill etc.

Will this war increase terrorism? I’d say almost defiantly but whatever way you look at it, it’s hard to see how it will help the situation.

There are a lot of psychics in this thread.

I think a lot of the things that people THINK will follow naturally will turn out not to occur. Can’t prove it, of course – but of course, no one else in this thread can prove what will happen in the future either.

FWIW, I don’t think Pipes’ take is far-fetched, given 5-10 years for things to develop in Iraq. I could even see overseas terrorism attempts vs. American interests increase in the short term ( < 24 months, say) as a kind of backlash agaist the Iraq invasion. But from where I’m sitting, things should improve dramatically in a decade.

It has also been “widely believed” (by different persons, of course), that Abu Nidal, for a number of reasons was not actively leading his former group for quite a few years and that he was hiding in Iraq specifically because there was no interaction with terrorist groups, there. It has been nearly ten years since the ANO was “credited” with any terrorist activities–and those were specific assassinations in the Palestinian region.

While Bush loudly trumpted Nidal’s presence in Iraq, he never provided a link between Nidal and any recent terrorist activity.

“Covert” ? Well, maybe. But certainly no longer overt and open, like they do today.

Wrongo. True, Powell had little evidence of an Al Quada- Iraq link, but the links of SH to generalized Islamic terrorism are many & undoubted. Come on , dude, Google a bit, huh?

I did (Saddam Hamas Terrorism), and there were dozens of hits- and every one of the first few agreed Saddam wholeheartedly supported terrorism. From
I found the following quote “Has Iraq supported terrorsim? Yes, Saddam Hussain’s dictatorship porovides headquarters, operating bases, training camps, and support to terrorism groups…” “During the 1991 Gulf war, Saddam commissioned several failed terrorists attacks on US facilities”.

Then there is the State dept site, too.

No rational person can deny Saddams close & dedicated support of Terrorism. Whether or not that also links him with Bin Laden is another matter.

So, you’ve got two sites talking about active support over ten years old and moral support in the period following the WTC/Pentagon attacks. This is simply more of the same adminsitration “let’s lump them all together and ignore the details” tactics.
(In fact, the al Qaeda camp that was overrun in Kurdish territory a week ago has provided no links (yet) to the Iraqi government, and appears to have been located in that region as part of the power struggle among the Kurds in a place where the Iraqi military could not get to them.)

I would not be surprised that Hussein did “support” terrorism, but so far the U.S. and its allies have still failed to produce evidence of actual, material support beyond a few checks to Palestinian families.

I am unwilling to accept grand pronouncements based on ancient events simply to rationalize our actions.

You asked for facts & links. You got them. A few minutes work will get more recent info- or is the idea of doing a Google search on those terms daunting, as you know it’ll prove you wrong? So dude- where is your cite that Saddam is NOT linked to terrorism? I gave my cites- where’s yours?

It hasn’t so far. So far, it is all Bush and company making unsubtantiated claims that you are repeatring without investigation.

I do not doubt that Iraq could have provided genuine support, so I am not claiming that they must not have. You, however, (along with Bush and Company) have consistently failed to provide evidence of current, material support.

Until I see such evidence, given that such evidence would have provided to the international community a much stronger case for Bush’s invasion, I will continue to hold such unsubstantiated claims suspect.

My cites are your sites. :wink:

Outdated and unsubstantiated.

DrDeth, tomndebb isn’t putting forth the proposition that “Saddam is NOT linked to terrorism”. He’s asking you to prove your assertion that Saddam IS linked to terrorism. You provided cites to support your assertion, he demonstrated why they were inadequate support. The ball is back in your court. Find some more cites, ones that hold up under scrutiny. Or you can revise your assertion to include a disclaimer that you don’t have evidence of ongoing, or even less than a decade-old, support for terrorism by Saddam. Either is acceptable, but shifting the burden of proof is not.


Niether site is outdated, both contain contain current up to date info, including proof that Iraq supports terrorism.

The State Dept source includes info from 2001. The other cite as recently as this year.

Tom just can’t state “those are inadequate, I choose to not beleive them”. The ball is in his court now. Either disprove my cites, or list your own.

Actually, given the tenuous level of “proof” that you seem willing to accept, I can do just that. Form the State Department blurb (which is, itself, dated 2001, but which conveniently omits dates for the claims that it makes):

Note, first, that State uses the past tense for the “support” that Hussein is supposed to have provided. (I am sure that he was providing shelter to the MEK up until a couple of weeks ago, of course.)
Note that the MEK is a group that engages in acts only against Iran. They do operate out of Iraq, but do not quite make it to the level of “international terrorists.”
The PKK is one of several groups engaged in long-term power struggles over who will fight Iraq and Turkey to establish a new Kurdish state; they are not active in “international terrorism.” (In fact, U.S. agencies have reported that they foreswore violence, resorting to “diplomatic” channels in 2000, although I would not be surprised that they have been caught up in the current violence). It seems unlikely that they are being supported by Hussein, who would be as threatened by the Kurdish independence movement as Turkey is.
The support of the PLF is not given a date, but then they go on to insinuate a direct connection by discussing activities of the slightly different PLFP. Meanwhile, the most recent attack directly connected to the PLF seems to have occurred in the 1980s. (One wonders if they, along with Abu Nidal, simply “retired” to Iraq.)
The U.S. government is not currently listing Iraq as a source of PLFP support, so the conflation of the names in the State Department document seems intended to confuse the issue, perhaps deliberately.
ANO, as I have already noted, has not been tied to an active terrorist act in nine years–and that was an assassination in Jordan which is [surprise!] right next to the Palestinian Occupied Territories and occurred more than six years prior to Abu Nidal’s relocation to Iraq.

Feel free to belief that Hussein was actively supporting international terrorism, but bring evidence if you wish to persuade me.