Bush Is Wrong on the Iraq War (If We Leave, al Qaeda in Iraq Loses)

Republican Wedge Issues, 2006 Edition,” by Harold Meyerson, American Prospect Online, 08 February 2006, http://www.prospect.org/web/page.ww?section=root&name=ViewWeb&articleId=11096 (from Real Clear Politics).

Harold’s right. Sometimes, President Bush just grinds my gears.

Old lies die hard. We grow inured to the administration’s howlers in defense of its Iraq policy, so much so that the preposterous case the president made in his State of the Union address for our continued presence in Iraq went almost unnoticed. But he actually said this:

“A sudden withdrawal of our forces from Iraq would abandon our Iraqi allies to death and prison, [and] would put men like bin Laden and Zarqawi in charge of a strategic country. . . .”

Is there one person anywhere inside the administration who really believes that Abu Musab Zarqawi’s murderous band of outsiders would emerge as rulers over the vastly larger and very well-armed Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish legions if we pulled out? The same band of outsiders that tried to stop the Sunnis from voting in December’s parliamentary election and held their turnout down, in some provinces, to a mere 90 percent?


There’s more. This is important.


Some links:

8 thoughts on “Bush Is Wrong on the Iraq War (If We Leave, al Qaeda in Iraq Loses)”

  1. You need 1 more pie chart but its inclusion wouldn't fit your narrative very well. It would make Al Queda's ambitions seem a bit more reasonable. The chart would be Sunni muslims v. Shia in the ME or the world.

    The only reasonable route for an Al Queda victory would be for a Shia/Sunni civil war to break out and for external Sunnis to decide to get involved to save their beleaguered Sunni brothers. A declared regional war is not in the cards but large cross-border troop flows are a reasonable possible future and nobody is better at getting Sunni's and military equipment into Iraq than Al Queda, a fact that would increase their influence.

    A significant US presence in Iraq reduces the likelihood of the civil war and creates a ceiling on how many troops and how much equipment can be moved across the border. This renders the Al Queda/civil war plan a complete nonstarter. So in the Al Queda playbook we've either got to go because of Al Queda's horrific attacks or the civil war has to start and the combatants mutually decide to eject us.

    It's a simplification to say that if we leave, Al Queda wins but it's not an unreasonable analysis of the situation imo.

  2. TM,

    Iraq's neighbors are Kuwait, Iran, Turkey, Syria, Jordan, and KSA. Of these, two have militaries capable of out-of-country operations (Turkey and Iran). Neither of these two are Sunni Arab, and the only Sunni state (Turkey) would face a hostile Kurdish population on both sides of the border.

    al Qaeda in Iraq may be hoping that if we leave, a quasi-independent al Qaeda quasi-state could be formed along the Euphrates, and that it could use that state to attack the other Arab states. But as for hope of a conventional, state-oriented regional war being won by al Qaeda confederates, there isn't any.

    As for “winning” a 4GW, al Qaeda could by destabilizing enough states (similar to the Leninist victory in Russia). But then again, spreading instability in /our/ goal, too [1].

    Alternatively, an Iran-Iraq league would have little trouble quelling a Sunni insurgency.

    [1] http://www.tdaxp.com/archive/2005/02/01/spreading_the_fire.html

  3. Well, I think that this is an interesting discussion and all, but the question of “being in” Iraq is a large one.

    One would not ask: “Why choose Disneyland for vacation?” and then examine in depth the fact that it is kept clean.

    There are many reasons to choose Disneyland. A clean park is but one.

    There are many reasons to choose Iraq.

    The world is only beginning to wake up to it, and it is not possible for the administration to spell it out. It has to trust that the American people are intelligent enough to understand it.

    Basically, it concerns a culturally backward region of the globe, the ME, that has come into wealth and power that it was not culturally, socially, or politically prepared for. The cave man had the spear… and as he evolved, his technology did as well. Now the scientist invents “the bomb”.

    Now, imagine if the cave man had “the bomb”.

    Welcome to the middle east.

    The cause of cultural expansion in the ME is the single largest issue we face.

    The ME is essentially a mass of dirt poor peopple, easily pissed off into murderous rage over newspaper cartoons…

    We aren't going to nuke the ME off the face of the earth… so we have to live with them. And to live with them, we have to change them. The broad population needs to enjoy the welth and trappings of wealth that come with the oil of the region. Cell phones, cars, homes that they own. They need the American dream.

    They need something to loose.

    The elite of the ME have no intention of allowing this. Visit Saddam's many palaces if you can't visualize this well.

    The rule of law, women's rights, western democracy, econimic freedom and opportunity… all will play a role in transforming the ME out of the cultural backwaters, and in the end, *alter the minds* of every man, woman, and child in the ME…

    Those cultural changes will spell the demise of dictatorships, insane religious rulers, and eventually have the maturity to handle the power their oil has given them.

    Toward these ends, the west has little choice but to assert western values in the ME.

    “Play by our rules, or we'll f*ck you up.” is the message, and the lesson of SH. He is the poster boy for that concept. Iraq is proof positive of the west's credibility in this regard (not withstanding France, Germany, and Russia). ME leaders: Western civilization is serving you notice. Knock off your power-mad, radical religious hate-mongering, or we will pay you a visit.

    It's that simple.

    What will Al Qadea do if we leave Iraq? Who cares… that's not the point. And we're not leaving until we have a win… and we leave on our *own* terms… saying as we depart: “… and if you cause more sh*t… we'll be back. Count on it.”

    The concept is simple, and sound. Parents use it all the time.

    The children leaders of the ME need to grow up, and the people of the ME need personal wealth and freedom… something to loose.

    Only then will this endless hot spot of intolerance and hate come to a simmer that *might* not go on a murderous global rampage… because if it does… that's when it gets *really* ugly, making the conflict in Iraq look like a picnic.

    Think outside the box, boys… outside the box…


  4. “Iraq's neighbors are Kuwait, Iran, Turkey, Syria, Jordan, and KSA. Of these, two have militaries capable of out-of-country operations (Turkey and Iran). ”

    This may be true if KSA didn't think of the US military as the best military money can buy. It is kind of way they think of our politicians. It matters little if this is true or not. When KSA had the choice of Osama or the US military it went with the US military. The way they view the world is implicitly unique.

  5. Larry,

    As the US Army is unavailable for KSA for either domestic security or security exportation, it is hard to see how it is their best army that money can buy.

    The US Army can protect the KSA from immediate threats, similar to how the US protects Japan. But in other areas, it is worthless to them.

    When the KSA had the choice of salafism and the US, it went with both. The Saudis are traditionally attempt to buy off enemies in a tribal matter. From a power perspective, it's a strategy that works for them.

  6. Do you even have a clue as to what Boyd meant by getting inside your opponents OODA loop? I don’t mean to sound harsh; I am just saying KSA is now inside our loop.

    I only say this because I thought you understood what I meant about the implicit control “trust”, and how it is a way into Dr. Richard’s OODA loop. If you don’t understand this concept, then no amount of charts are going to help. And please stop, they are starting to hurt my brain. 🙂

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