Monday, June 21, 2004
From an AP story:
The chairman of the Sept. 11 commission said yesterday that Al Qaeda had much more interaction with Iran and Pakistan than it did with Iraq, underscoring a controversy over the Bush administration's insistence that there was collaboration between the terrorist organization and Saddam Hussein.
Now, I support us being in Iraq. Hussein was a destabilizing influence in the Middle East. He had invaded two countries in a 10-year period. He was constantly trying to gain a nuclear capability (stopped in the 80s by Israel and in 1990-91 by us). He was paying off the families of Palestinian murder-bombers. He had a serious bio/chem weapons program. He was a boil that needed lancing.
But a key rationale that the Bush Adm. decided to use was that Iraq and Al-Qaeda were tight. If that was the kicker, then by all rights we should roll into Iran and Pakistan. Or is that not the rationale anymore?
Iran was (and is) even more of a threat than Iraq, with an active (and unsupervised) nuclear program. They are recruiting fighters to combat Coalition forces in Iraq. And yet we are doing nothing to them
Pakistan's military intelligence unit was heavily involved with Al-Qaeda. Their chief nuclear weapons scientist was shopping design specs to the highest bidder. The government supports the radical islamic schools, where children are brainwashed with this murderous perversion of Islam. And yet we are doing nothing to them, going so far as to say they are valuable allies.
Meanwhile, in Afghanistan, we still haven't caught bin Laden.
The stone cold truth is this: We should have finished our business in Afghanistan before we went to Iraq. Another 100,000 troops along the mountainous border w/Pakistan would have denied Al-Qaeda/Taliban/bin Laden forces refuge in Pakistan. We could have controlled the warlords, clamped down on unrest and really cleaned things up.
But neo-cons have had a hard-on for Iraq since Gulf I finished up. So they used the Al Qaeda meetings to justify the invasion. And split our forces and commit us to two nation-building projects instead of one. With a president who originally said it wasn't the job of the military to engage in nation-building.
If it sounds like I am down on Iraq...I am a little bit. I think it was poorly planned, with no concept of how to handle post-invasion problems. And the only reason it didn't become a total fuck-up was b/c of the quality of our troops. The fact most of the country is realtively pacified is amazing all things considered.
And they used the worst possible reason for it. A reason that now is shown to apply more to Iran and Pakistan than Iraq.
And bin Laden, the 9/11 architect, still walks free. Almost three years later.