Will war in Iraq make it harder/impossible to catch terrorists in the future?

Well, this question has been addressed in some of the war threads, and seems to boil down to two possibilities:

Yes: The Middle East will hate the United States even more than it does now if we go to war, especially, and most significantly, the relatively moderate countries who might help with anti-terrorism efforts. The leaders of European countries, maybe even Britain, might face public political pressure not to do anything seen as kowtowing to “U.S. imperialism” (as is being seen now). Thus, the international cooperation needed to find and capture terrorists will be severely depleted.

No: Iraq falling will cut off a big source of support to terrorists. The effects of freeing Iraq will spread to the rest of the Middle East (seeing as how they don’t particularly like Saddam anyway). It’ll strengthen the safety of Israel, who could be (and is, perhaps - I don’t know either way) extremely helpful in the anti-terrorist effort. As for Europe, they have their own reasons for wanting terrorists capture, so why wouldn’t they continue cooperating?

Does anyone have any corrections/additions, considering these are only my probably flawed impressions? More importantly, how about evidence to support your POV?

You left out the issue of whether and to what extent invading and occupying Iraq will deplete our financial resources for fighting terrorism.

Another factor is whether an American invasion of Iraq will exacebate anti-American sentiments in Arab countries, leading to there being more terrorists to catch.

Well, considering the chaos that will ensue directly after the war, it will make it far more difficult to stop weapons from crossing the boarders. After the dust settles, chances are for years to come that the new Iraq government will have little power out side of Baghdad, the same as Kabul, which will allow for more weapon leakage.

The only thing that a war will do is to stop the government of Iraq for creating any new WMD, stopping any current ones, if they exist, from falling into the wrong hands or leaving the country will be difficult at best.

If we attack Iraq, and Iraq, through agents of some sort, attack the American public, is it still terrorism?

At that point, isn’t it, well…war?

Terrorism is attacking civilians or targets unrelated to the military of political regime to facilitate a political resolution thru terror and intimidation. If Iraq’s agents attack military bases, support facilities and industry, that is war. If they release germs in Central park, thats terrorsim.

Like Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and the fire-bombing of Dresden? Was that terrorism, or war? Why?

Once again, I’ve seen very few war supporters answering my question. And I’d really like them to, because as I said in my OP, I’m not at all clear that I really did their arguments justice. Would someone from that camp, preferably more than one someone, like to tell me where I might have gotten their argument wrong? After all, I think this is another of the key issues about going to war.

Or is it already too late? Have we, as some claim, so totally blown world opinion that there’s no chance we’ll ever get the opportunity back?

These examples support the view that attacking Iraq will lead to reduced terrorism. That is, soon after those three horrendous bombings, there was a cessation of terrorism committed by Japanese and Germans.

Indeed, several hundred thousand of them…how did Our Leader put it…“aren’t a problem any more”.

I disagree. The attack on the Marine base in Lebanon and the attack on the Khobar Towers complex are considered terrorist attacks, yet they were against military targets.

Leaper, I think the point I tried to make is that the definition of terrorism seems to depend on your perspective.

Freedom fighter, or terrorist? Sometimes it is hard to tell. Perhaps you can provide the definition you would like used to address your OP.

I think it will, in the short term, increase the possibility of terrorism but in the long term decrease it. Once Iraq’s economy takes off and other middle east countries see the Iraqis doing well then the fundamentalists will find it harder to raise support for their stance.

In relation to al Qaida, the removal of Saddam will also destroy their biggest recruitment tool, the sanctions.

I also think that removing a hardline dictator in the area has to make a solution to the Israel conflict more likely rather than less likely. Even if it doesn’t bring about a solution it may help lessen tension which will also damage al Q.

Groups like al Q feed off resentment, anger and hatred. Remove the resentment, anger and hatred and you remove al Q.

There’s no point in chasing down each and every al Q terrorist in the world, this is an impossible task. You need to remove the things that attract people to them in the first place.

I’ve just realised my post reminds me of this article from Satirewire:

FBI to issue 5 day terror forecasts

  1. There is no connection that has been made between Al-Qaeda and Iraq.

  2. Further US intervention in the Middle East will only fan the flames more.

  3. Iraq has nothing to do with Israel’s problem with the Occupied Territory.

Ah, I see. Hrm. Well, considering how nebulous this term has been, I have to admit it’s difficult… Perhaps the best I can do at the moment is “those like bin Laden and those who took down the World Trade Center.” I’m not even sure if THAT does it… Have to think about it a bit. Anyone else care to offer possible definitions?

There are some who would argue that the Middle East is criminally underdeveloped considering her inherent wealth and her long term population base. Compared to most countries within the Western World which have applied every possible benefit attached to stable democracy and the Industrial Revolution, it’s safe to say that the Middle East, in this context, is a dismal failure.

A region laced with ancient feudal warlords, and dubious sheikdoms - a region where more than a few countries were invented with the simple drawing of some lines on a map in the 1920’s - a region where wealth is concentrated into the hands of a few more acutely than anywhere else on the planet - it’s safe to say that in many respects, the lack of stability, the lack of economic wealth (outside of oil) and the general lack of safety which exists in the Middle East in 2003 is as much the fault of the residents of the Middle East as it is of the Western World. If not more so.

However, the resentment and spite which is so very evident in the Middle East nowadays is 100% directed at the West - as if every single aspect of their lives, and their inherent poverty, is somehow the West’s fault.

The reality is that the Middle East has had at least 1,300 years to demonstrate that, if they wanted, they could invent a better way of doing things - a better social system, a better form of goverment. But nah… only the most biased non-objective person in the world would argue the Middle East is a better place to live than almost everywhere else in the world. Especially if you’re a woman.

The harsh truth, as it seems to me, is that the Middle East, by and large, is a throughly backward place compared to the majority of the globe. China, Japan, Russia and Europe, North America, Australasia, India, parts of Africa, most of South America can all lay claim to being infinitely more stable, advanced and prosperous regions.

And yet, still, to this day, I have yet to hear even ONE notable Middle Eastern voice of reason concede these points. Nope, everytime, ALL of their troubles are the Wests fault. Every single person in the Middle East is a victim of some terrible consipiracy by the West to conquer and plunder the Middle East blah blah blah.

Yes… it’s true. Poverty, and harship are inarguably the most fertile soil imaginable to nurture and grow Fundamental Islamic Militants. Without doubt.

But I will also argue this… there are some dark forces afoot in the world of Islam - dark forces who are more concerned with ego trips and vanity than they genuinely are with the well being of their peoples. Such dark forces are happy, almost glad, to see the majority of people in the Middle East to continue to live under hardship. It serves their ends.

It’s true that the West can “help” the Middle East to improve herself, but her peoples have to want to help themselves first - instead of pouring ALL of their energy into a life of spite and “poor me victim” syndrome. And yes, I’ll happily concede that the Palestinian evictions by Israel after the 1948 war were, and remain astonishingly unfair and unjust, and Israel needs to atone for such injustices. Nonetheless, the Palestinian issue is an anomoly in the context of what I’m talking about in general here. I’m talking about the Middle East in general - with the exception of Israel and Palestine.

Most importantly, if you have a situation where generational hatred is passed ad infinitum from parent to child, such children NEVER get the chance to grow up in an “enriched environment” of peace, and goodwill. This is what we’re seeing now in the children of Middle East - the hatred of the West is now being “hard wired” into their brains from birth - generation after generation.

Regardless of whether the war in Iraq happens or not, we, here in the West, are going to have problems with Militant Islamists for at least another generation or two - such is the far reaching influence of the deeply ingrained social patterns of the region. And worse still, those dark forces I mentioned earlier are more than happy to hi-jack the peaceful religion of Islam to export that hatred - as evidenced by the bizarre and obscene bombings by militant Islamists in Bali last year.

In closing, I genuinely try at all times here on the Straight Dope Message Board to be ultimately sensitive and caring in my words - especially when talking about such hot-button issues as this thread - but on very rare occasions, I feel justified in calling a spade a spade if you know what I mean.

Y’know what, Boo Boo Foo, you’re right (in general) and while we’re describing spades as spades let’s get something else out of the way:

An open letter to the Middle East

Dear Middle East,

You describe the west’s invasion of Iraq as imperialism. Well, you know what, you’re right.

We think your system of government is shit. We’ve listened to your tales about how the middle east has unique cultures, traditions etc etc yadda yadda.

We’ve watched and waited for decades for you to do something about the mess you’re in but we’ve given up waiting. We’re just going to come in and impose our system on you.

Don’t like the idea, heh? Well tough shit, we’re going to do it anyway. How you gonna stop us?

The fact is that our system is better than yours. Democracy is better than dictatorship.

If you decide you don’t like democracy, well you can always vote in another dictator in a few years (but I can’t see you doing this).

You see the fact is, in a democracy, we choose our leaders. And, whether they are good or bad, they only get a few years and then we kick 'em out and choose someone else.

So we’ve listened politely to your tales about how the middle east’s culture differs from that in the west but we’ve decided that, even so, our system is still better than yours.

So get used to the idea, middle east.

Democracy - coming to a middle eastern country near you. Soon.