Tuesday, September 05, 2006

What's it all about, Bushie?

Cast your minds back.

Consider: at Noon on the eleventh of September in the year 2001 C.E., was the nation of Afghanistan at war with us? Did the government of Afghanistan make an official declaration of war against the United States? Did the armed forces of Afghanistan attack us? Did agents of the government of Afghanistan attack us? Did the people of Afghanistan attack us?

The answer to all these questions is, “No”.

Who did attack us? An extra-national organization which shared a religious viewpoint with the government of Afghanistan. To date, it has never been shown that the government of Afghanistan had a hand in either the planning or the execution of the 9/11 attacks. Indeed, it has never been shown that the Taliban knew anything of the 9/11 attacks until they happened. While it surely knew their attitudes and general intentions, the Taliban only gave Al Qaeda sanctuary. In return, OBL provided weapons, vehicles and other items which the government of Afghanistan either could not afford, or obtain through normal channels.

By what right did we send armed forces into Afghanistan?

While most hawks will admit that the people and government of Afghanistan were no threat to us, most on the anti-war left admit that we were justified in going into Afghanistan after OBL.

I hope that I can be forgiven for being confused.

It is a fact that the government of Iraq provided sanctuary, training, financial and moral support to Al Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah, PLO, Islamic Jihad, etc. There is no proof and no reason to assume that the government of Iraq had foreknowledge of - or a hand in - the planning or execution of 9/11. So what is the difference between Iraq and Afghanistan? Well, unlike Afghanistan, Iraq had a program to develop chemical, biological and nuclear weapons. Unlike Afghanistan, agents of Iraq had attempted to assassinate a former President of the United States. Unlike Afghanistan, the government of Iraq was in flagrant violation of no fewer than 14 U.N. Security Council resolutions requiring it to change its behavior and open itself up to inspections designed to guarantee that it did not have either WMD or the programs necessary to produce them. Unlike Afghanistan, the government of Iraq was crafty enough to host Al Qaeda, et. al. and still maintain plausible deniability in the event of an attack upon the West.

By any measure you wish to use, Iraq was the greater threat. Nevertheless, our efforts are undercut by many who either expected a quick “video game” war - or whose only motivation is to embarrass the President politically and damn the consequences.

Take a look at the current behavior of the government of Iran and tell me that Iraq was not attempting to build a nuclear weapon and that we could have negotiated or pressured Iraq to forego its ambitions. How quickly we forget what a complete and utter failure the sanctions regime against Iraq was. Ask yourself this: would we have been able to go in and root out Al Qaeda if the nation of Afghanistan had had nuclear weapons in 2001? Or, would Osama still be living there, directing and financing operations while we tried to negotiate for his extradition?

Yeah, yeah, sure. But, speaking of which - where is Osama? Why have we not killed Osama? This ‘diversion’ in Iraq has weakened our ability to find him and fight the ‘real’ war on terror. What of Al Qaeda?

What is Al Qaeda? Is it not a loose grouping of like minded individuals all over the world? Afghanistan was its headquarters and Osama was its CEO and treasurer. What is the state of Al Qaeda today? If he’s even alive, Osama is living in a cave and is not able to direct much more than which rock to use as a pillow. Even if he is still in contact with Al Qaeda cells throughout the world, that world has got its eyes if not its hands on his money. He no longer controls anything like the organization he did in 2001. Let’s be clear, the remnants of Al Qaeda remain dangerous, but there is no longer the money or direction that there once was. If he is dead, others will step up to fill his shoes. Had our efforts in Afghanistan slowed down sufficiently, who doubts that foreign Jihadis and branch-office Al Qaedans would have run to Afghanistan? In fact, the recently resurgent Taliban is probably made up of foreign replacements of the same stripe that we face in Iraq. It is entirely reasonable to suggest, as the President has done, that many of those we now face in Iraq are preoccupied with trying to kill our soldiers there rather than our civilians at home. Why is this dismissed as irrelevant? If our invasion of Iraq caused the creation of Jihadis, then so did our invasion of Afghanistan. So would any self-defensive response have. If we defend ourselves, the call goes forth for Jihad. If we don’t defend ourselves, we are called cowardly and invite more attacks. The only question that matters is: Where will we fight these people - in the aisle of the plane or in Baghdad?

I firmly believe that we are facing a challenge the like of which we have not seen since 1865. And sadly, I don’t believe there are enough Americans left today with the fortitude necessary to see this thing through.

1 Comments:

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