Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Enlisting in the War on Error

Thought it might be about time to weigh in on the ‘war on terror.'

Gonna do a take on the mistake in Iraq today, the just plain funny search by our current rulers for ‘metaphors’ to sell Iraq and the ‘war on terror’ tomorrow, and a few thoughts on the best ways to reduce the influence of angry young men with guns on Thursday.

The 16 US intelligence agencies recently finished their first ‘highly classified’ joint report since 9/11 on the ‘war on terror.’

Yow, do we really have that many official spook outfits? :^)

They concluded that the war in Iraq has helped spawn a new generation of Islamic radicalism and that the overall terrorist threat has grown since 9/11, according to New York Times report. Read more

Can that conclusion really come as a surprise to anyone?

Iraq clearly had no Al Qaeda style terrorists before the invasion. Saddam ruled as an old school secular pan-Arabist ruler who ruthlessly crushed all opposition, most particularly Islamic fundamentalists.

Few people at this point but those with an ideological axe to grind or careers to protect can doubt that the war in Iraq has created even more terrorists in the Islamic world and particularly in Iraq. I apologize to my conservative friends for the strength of that comment but at some point you’ve got to call a spade a spade.

It’s debatable whether the invasion will eventually produce fewer terrorists by demonstrating the value of democracy to the Muslim world. I’m on record since before the war and after about both the moral transgression and the strategic mistake I thought we were making in going ahead with the pre-emptive invasion, but sometimes egregious mistakes and even sins can turn out better than you might think. Most of us have experienced that in our own lives and that’s the only thing that keeps me slightly hopeful about the whole thing right now.

At some point, though, you’ve gotta get real about what actually happened. If the goal was to reduce the threat of Islamic terror, we blew it big time.

Of course, the administration changes its reasons for the war in Iraq about every month, so I guess to be fair we can’t hold ‘em to that rationale too closely. But since they’re pushing fear of terrorism (apparently pretty effectively) to the conservative anxiety junkies right now to get ‘em to come out and vote Republican this fall instead of staying home I guess it’s ok to stick it to ‘em right now a little bit :^)

7 Comments:

Anonymous Eddy E said...

Very well said Tom! I want to point out a couple things that you blended together that I think is worth noting. You began by talking about the war on terror and then spent most of your time talking about the war in Iraq. What this administration has done is (successfully) cast the war on Iraq as the war on terror. The problem is that they have created a dangerous foreign policy doctrine. If we are to fight and win this war on terror, then we've basically committed ourselves and/or given the green light to go ahead and go through the alphabet of countries, and engaging in wars but really, saying they are part of one larger war.

And even if Saddam had those mysterious WMDs, would that have made him and his state a terrorist state? No. By blending the war in Iraq into the war on terror, they have given themselves whatever capital they need to do what they please.

8:21 AM  
Anonymous Jon said...

I think that Tom was accurate to put the Iraq war as part of our "War on Terror", because that is certainly what we approached it as. Whether we're actually attacking "terror" or whether the action will have any positive influence to that respect at all is another question all together.

I was freaked by the "16" number when I saw the news reports too. Who the heck are these 16 outfits? Do we even know all or their names?

I think you're right on point with the "sometimes egregious mistakes and even sins can turn out better than you might think" hope. I was devastated when invasion became a certainty and then again when it actually happened. But when we rolled through Iraq and quickly overtook the country with relatively few casualties, I had some hope that maybe good would come after all (although I was slightly worried that such good would cover up how bad war is). The last couple years have made good look less likely, but there is a tiny hope that the pro-democracy anti-radicalism movement could spring up. I'm not much hopeful though

1:37 PM  
Blogger ruth said...

yes, yes, and yes.

and it is soooooo frustrating that so many people totally fell for that.

I like to call it "America's New War", a title the media gave it at the beginning, as if it went along with Elizabeth Arden's New Fragrance.

7:35 PM  
Blogger 3wishes said...

< even if Saddam had those mysterious WMDs, would that have made him and his state a terrorist state? No.

If Iraq had/has WMDs, what exactly, does that make, if not a terrorist state? Does the word "terrorism" have to only mean "terrorizing americans" to qualify as a problem? I'm not much of a bible reader, but isnt there a passage about ...doing nothing is just as much a sin? Most American workers have "multi-task" as part of their vocab. Why cant we expect the govt. to do the same? I hope we can tackle more than one thing at a time.

7:40 PM  
Blogger Wordcat said...

Hey 3. We kinda ganged up on you on this one.

Of all the reasons our present leaders gave for invading Iraq, the one you mentioned was the best and the only one with any moral basis from a Christian perspective. Saddaam was (still is) an evil asshole. No question about that.

I guess the bigger question is whether entering pre-emptive wars to destroy bad guys (the world is full of 'em) is generally a good idea. I don't think that approach has much support from Christian tradition or general common sense, as much as I deeply understand why we'd all like to pre-emptively kick ass on the truly evil and venal rulers around the world. Or even kick ass on people around us that we just don't happen to like :^)

But the idea that the war on Iraq made us safer from Islamic terror --which is what our shameless leaders are trying to sell us--is just bullshit from my perspective.

11:43 PM  
Blogger 3wishes said...

Agreed. I just havnt heard "We are safer from Islamic terror due to the war in Iraq" from anyone. IMHO we are a little safer in the air from terrorists due to air marshals, screening, etc. I for one am enjoying the trial of Hussein, esp. when they shut down the mics. when hes being a jerk :).
The sad part is watching what the military and admin and the press have to dole out to the uneducated people in this country. Canadians get it, thats why their boys are kicking ass in Afghanistan.Yes Canadians, the peaceful ones, but also the enlightned.

8:15 AM  
Anonymous Eddy E said...

"< even if Saddam had those mysterious WMDs, would that have made him and his state a terrorist state? No.

If Iraq had/has WMDs, what exactly, does that make, if not a terrorist state? Does the word "terrorism" have to only mean "terrorizing americans" to qualify as a problem?"


Then that means we are a terrorist state as well since we own WMDs, and so does Israel, China, India, pakistan, France, etc... owning WMDs doesn't automate a country as a terrorist state.

4:59 PM  

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