Are anti-Bush folks making accusations of lying because they concede the war has been a success?

Just a random thought this morning. I mean at this point we know that Saddam was involved with Al Queada and perhaps other terrorist groups. Saddam had WMD and was developing more, Saddam was an evil man that should be eliminated, that Iraqis prefer their new government to Saddam, that Iraq llooks to become a democracy soon, Iraq is even getting a working stock exchange.

Does anyone at this point seriously believe it would have been better to leave Saddam in power?


10 Responses to Are anti-Bush folks making accusations of lying because they concede the war has been a success?

  1. diane says:

    Not to mention the al-Qaida recruiting bonanza.

  2. Really, Diane? Do you have data to back up this claim? Given that we have been killing them in large numbers, I’m curious what you think Al Queada’s net is and whether their present capabilities are greater or lesser than they were before we invaded Iraq. How do you account for the absence of successful attacks on US targets since 9/11?

  3. ooghe says:

    Well, what “data” do we have to prove that terror recruitment is going down?

    Surely you realize that this is specious reasoning.

    For the record- here is what I believe:

    1. Al Qaeda leadership was damaged, but not eliminated by a strategically incomplete invasion of Afghanistan that should have wiped out bin Laden, prevented the Taliban from regrouping, and eliminated Al Qaeda’s ability to operate out of Afghanistan.

    2. Terror networks do not function like heirarchical nation states which can be collapsed. They regenerate and metastasize, evidently generating their own logic as they go. It is unclear what exactly Al Qaeda consistently *is*. At times, it has been a narcotics trafficking organization, an insurgency against the Saudis, has espoused pro-Palestinian politics as of late, and that doesn’t even include whatever Al Qaeda is up to in Indonesia and Malaysia. To wit, the assumption that nation states control terror groups seems less likely to me than that terror groups control nation states.

    3. Al Qaeda is actively seeking WMD, and I do not believe occupying Iraq hampered the chances of their success in this endeavor.

    4. That as a result of US policy, even Arab liberals seem unwilling to find common cause with the US, let alone moderates- strengthening the cause of arab radicalism.

    Also, my train of thought has been largely consistent, and I feel events have been roughly contiguous with my expectations so far, which is why I fear the worst for the nation’s security.

    I was never one of the people that Hitchens criticizes for simply hating Bush no matter what he does. I took a lot of guff for agreeing with the invasion of Afghanistan, but the decision to make Iraq the ‘central front’ has always bewildered me.

  4. Robert asks “Well, what ‘data’ do we have to prove that terror recruitment is going down?”

    We don’t. My claim is that objections based on claims about made up facts are not particularly illuminating. Also, I would observe that we do know that we are killing a lot of them and that such a policy has been extremely effective for the Israelis. The rule of thumb is:

    If you want to stop more terrorism, kill more terrorists!

    Re #1, wiping out AQ in Afghanistan, that would have required violating Pakistani sovereignty and at the time we were unwilling to do that.

    Your #1 and #2 are also in conflict. At this point we know that AQ was operating in and with the help of Saddam. We reached the point of diminishing marginal returns in Afghanistan and shifted our attention. Notably, most of the Afghan AQ leadership is dead or captured. The remainder in Afghanistan have not been operationally effective!

    Re #3, Saddam was developing WMD and working with AQ. Not sure how you can make this point. Not to mention that the attack finlandized Libya into backing off its program and revealing the whole Pakistani/Malaysian nuclear proliferation program.

    Re #4, evidence please?

    Btw, Iran is the ‘central front’ but we could not invade them while leaving Saddam in power and invading them would be much more difficult than invading Iraq. Moreover, we now have US forces on almost all of Iran’s border (except Turkmenistan). We have US forces on the borders of Syria and Saudi Arabia if necessary as well. From a military strategic perspective, Iraq was a no-brainer.

  5. diane says:

    La. I knew I saw it somewhere:

    Posted 5/25/04
    LONDON (AP) — Far from being crippled by the US-led war on terror, al-Qaeda has more than 18,000 potential terrorists scattered around the world and the war in Iraq is swelling its ranks, a report said Tuesday. …

  6. Diane, if you read to the end of the article, you would discover that it is actually a non-sequitor:
    The IISS said its estimate of 18,000 al-Qaeda fighters was based on intelligence estimates that the group trained at least 20,000 fighters in its camps in Afghanistan before the United States and its allies ousted the Taliban regime. In the ensuing war on terror, some 2,000 al-Qaeda fighters have been killed or captured, the survey said.

    And the question to ask here is how do you allocate responsibility for allowing the original 20000 to train over the 1990’s?

  7. ooghe says:

    Are you seriously asking me to buy that the awesome display of US military military might (filtered through Al Jazeera to the Arab world) might have *reduced* the ranks of radicalized Arabs attracted to jihadism?

    I think it was Donald Rumsfeld himself who asked “are we killing terrorists faster than we are creating them?”

    Perhaps you should illuminate him.

  8. Donald Rumsfeld asked the question. He did not provide an answer. Diane claimed to know the answer as perhaps you are doing now. Perhaps you are the one who needs to do the briefing.

    Also, are we talking about Al Queada or terrorists in general? And would we rather today have 20,000 working with Saddam and his WMD programs or whatever number we have today substantially decapitated without access to Saddam’s WMD facilities.

  9. diane says:

    Alex, I’m not sure I understand your use of “non-sequitur.” The article says in the first graph that the study found that there are in excess of 18000 al-Qaeda militants out there. That’s 18000 from Afghanistan plus new recruits, some of which are from Iraq and/or were radicalized because of Iraq. The news article also explicitly says that the study said that “the US occupation of Iraq brought al-Qaeda recruits from across Islamic nations.” Of these recruits, the article suggests that the survey says, up to 1000 are now in Iraq cooperating with the insurgency, where they have found a ready audience evidently.

    Admittedly, we’re reading one person’s take on one person’s take on survey data we haven’t seen firsthand. It would be interesting to see an actual copy of the report. I’m not sure there is any better evidence around.

    That said, a recruiting bonanza for al-Qaeda does not exclude, for instance, the possibility that some Iraqis feel that they are better off, or more free, or some other good thing as a result of the occupation. The upshot of the occupation doesn’t have to be one single thing, although it may be worth asking why some people might want other people to think there was only one kind of outcome, good or bad.

    How ironic would it be, though, if the residents of Baghdad eventually came to feel safer in their city, as a result of this occupation, than the residents of NYC.

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