May 27, 2004

Documented AlQueda - Iraq link (yawn.)

The WSJ Ed page is not afraid of attacking liberal shibboleths. Today's lead editorial:

We realize that even raising this subject now is politically incorrect. It is an article of faith among war opponents that there were no links whatsoever--that "secular" Saddam and fundamentalist Islamic terrorists didn't mix. But John Ashcroft's press conference yesterday reminds us that the terror threat remains, and it seems especially irresponsible for journalists not to be open to new evidence. If the CIA was wrong about WMD, couldn't it have also missed Saddam's terror links?

Sarin gas shells and terrorist links are not just political pawns, either. The same editorial points out that he topics are pretty germane as we face "chatter" and threats in 2004:
The reason to care goes beyond the prewar justification for toppling Saddam and relates directly to our current security. U.S. officials believe that American civilian Nicholas Berg was beheaded in Iraq recently by Abu Musab al-Zarkawi, who is closely linked to al Qaeda and was given high-level medical treatment and sanctuary by Saddam's government. The Baathists killing U.S. soldiers are clearly working with al Qaeda now; Saddam's files might show us how they linked up in the first place.

Posted by jk at May 27, 2004 09:24 AM

"Bah! It's onnnnnnly one link JK... you neo-con chickenhawks are so eager to find any connection after the WMD thing didn't pan out."
That's going to be the reaction.
It's not even fun to predict the left anymore. They never surprise anymore.
BTW, can you forward me that article, I'm not a subscriber! (but i should be)

Posted by: AlexC at May 27, 2004 12:59 PM

The link I posted is on the free site:

Posted by: jk at May 27, 2004 01:17 PM

oh.. you're right.... when i see a box asking for login, i assume i'm gonna get hosed.

Posted by: AlexC at May 27, 2004 02:27 PM

I don't know if it will suprise anyone, buy my take on this is how exactly do you prove a connection to a group that by definition splits itself up into cells? More importantly, does it matter? Terrorists trying to kill us are OK as long as they are not associated with Al Qaeda? I sure hope we are tracking all terrorists, Islamic or not.

Posted by: Silence Dogood at May 27, 2004 04:04 PM

Silence, anti-war folks as a rule have said that the Iraqi liberation was unjust because we were not attacked by Iraq. The bright folks over at The New Republic love to tsk-tsk the stupid, naive, conservative bumpkins who still think there was a connection between Al-Qaeda and Iraq. Sophisticated liberals all know that Iraq was secular and Osama bin Laden was religious, so there was no chance at collaboration.

Said bumpkin Conservatives have pointed out that, y'know, they both think we're the great Satan, and sometimes Hate will find a way to overcome petty differences.

Al-Qaeda is divided into cells but seemed to have a pretty clear leadership structure.

Neither I nor the WSJ Ed Page claims this as conclusive proof that they did conspire. Yet, many folks on the other side think there is conclusive proof (where?) that they didn't/wouldn't/couldn't.

Posted by: jk at May 27, 2004 04:23 PM

"Hate will find a way to overcome petty differences" Well put JK. I am one liberal who agrees completely. Common enemies make for strange bedfellows. I do beleive however that if we are to win, or at least stay ahead in the war on terror we will have to shift our focus away from the concept of supporting States. Modern terror groups have/can/will figure out how to support and arm themselves for their cause without the backing of a government entity. The concept of battling terrorism by shutting down havens is a losing one. If the war in Iraq was looked at solely as a battle in the war on terrorism (which it obviously is not) I would call it dismal failure. Even in complete victory with a free, democratic Iraq the effort required versus the end effect on the enemy is not a good ratio.

Posted by: Silence Dogood at May 28, 2004 09:21 AM

I think you are on to something with your comment about states who sponsor terrorism, but not in the way you suggest. While it's true that terror organizations can exist without state sponsorship, allowing such sponsorship to continue unfettered is a losing proposition. We may not win the war just by eliminating states who sponsor terror but we'll certainly lose if we don't. If you don't wipe out all the wasp nests you can find, your chances of eliminating the threat of wasp stings is zero.

What we DO need to shift our focus away from, however, is nation building in overthrown terror states. We've got to change those state's policies, but this doesn't mean we've got to "democratize" or "Americanize" them in the process. This is the mistake that even the Bush administration just made. It was reflexive. Fortunately, they've recognized the mistake and corrected it. Leave Iraq to Iraqis. Give them advice, maintain relations, apply diplomatic pressures, and if they start sponsoring terror again they'll know what to expect.

As I said recently, we've got to keep our eye on the ball. Recent estimates place the total number of al Qaida associated terrorists at 18,000 worldwide. International law enforcement is an important part of rounding them up or killing them, but if they ever again find safe haven in a sovereign state it'll be time to employ the Bush doctrine: You're with us or you're with the terrorists. We know they're in your country and we're comin' to get 'em.

Posted by: johngalt at June 1, 2004 01:38 PM

The trouble is the "Bush Doctrine" does not make military much less political sense. Look at it as a military strategist and as a battle in a larger war. Why does it make sense to tie up 150,000 of your troops and $500 billion to capture maybe a few hundred terrorists? We're coming to get them? In Pakistan and Saudi Arabia? Don't think so. You can say that it is imperitive to take out haven states but the cost benefit analysis doesn't add up. No nation building? Just bomb out the infrastructure, swoop in with the troops, shoot some terrorists and head home? IF they sponsor again they will know what to expect? I'd say that is a WHEN. So the Bush doctrine is really a cycle, invade, leave, repeat.

Posted by: Silence Dogood at June 4, 2004 11:13 AM

In Saudi Arabia, yes in Pakistan yes, if that is what is required. I sincerely hope it is not. The "repeat" part of your, "cycle," is not necessary if it is possible for these people and governments to learn at all. Heck, even a puppy can learn that if he poops in the house he is in trouble. It does not take many repetitions with a dog. Are these people dumber than my dog? I don't think they are but they don't believe that we will really enforce the Bush Doctrine and the sad thing is they may be right. The evidence suggests that Libya at least decided to believe that we will do as we say.

What the, "Bush Doctrine," really says philosophically is, "You will value our liberty or you are with the terrorists," and that attitude at it's heart (I thought we agreed on this) is crucial to the long-term survival of western civilization. We MUST come up with a military and political way to make it make sense or we will lose the larger war Silence describes.

Posted by: dagny at June 4, 2004 02:12 PM
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