Saturday, October 08, 2005

The Iraq War's Consequences Part 1

Stygius has a great post on the major Bush foreign policy speech from Thursday. Of course, I'm behind the curve and the blogosphere has already written at length on this speech. But I want to add my own take on what Bush articulated as my main justification against any sort of withdrawl from Iraq. Bush said:
[The] militant network wants to use the vacuum created by an American retreat to gain control of a country, a base from which to launch attacks and conduct their war against non-radical Muslim governments. Over the past few decades, radicals have specifically targeted Egypt, and Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan, and Jordan for potential takeover. They achieved their goal, for a time, in Afghanistan. Now they've set their sights on Iraq. Bin Laden has stated: "The whole world is watching this war and the two adversaries. It's either victory and glory, or misery and humiliation." The terrorists regard Iraq as the central front in their war against humanity. And we must recognize Iraq as the central front in our war on terror.
This is all very true and to my knowledge, it is the most stark statment of the realities of the situation we're in, by President Bush. As anyone who reads about terrorism knows, the whole goal of Zarqawi's Al Qaeda in Iraq group is to use Iraq as a base of operations to launch attacks against Jordan (he has vowed to overthrow the corrupt ruling Hashemites at all costs). So if Zarqawi can succeed in forcing either a complete or partial withdrawl of the Multinational Forces in Iraq, he will be able to turn the al-Anbar province into a "terrorist Disneyland," if it isn't already.

By big point that I mention to anyone who listens is this: The whole goal of 9/11 was to awaken the American giant in order to provoke a massive and stunning retaliation against Afghanistan. Osama expected that the Americans would unleash hell on Afghanistan and once the invasion happened, al Qaeda would spring into action to and bog the US military down. Once we were bogged down, we'd start using increasingly heavy handed tactics and this would show that America was waging war against Islam itself and the Ummah writ large would rise up against us and lead to our defeat. Unfortunately for bin Laden, it seems he didn't appreciate the fact that the Taliban's hold on the country was enormously weak and it crumbled before al Qaeda could begin sustained operations against the Americans. As Osama's main deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri stated in his recent letter to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, al-Qaeda has resigned itself to the fact that it has lost Afghanistan for good.

Then comes Iraq. This is a depressing subject for me lately as I've sunken into a sort of despair over the true consequences of the Iraq War on the world. As my readers will know, I've long been a believer in the war. I supported it initially on a mixture of democratization and human rights, while I did believe Saddam possesed WMDs, I never thought that that alone was a sufficient casus belli as Saddam would never be stupid enough to attack the United States. I remember saying to a teacher of mine right before the fall of Baghdad that this is the most important undertaking the US has engaged in since Vietnam, if not more important. Perhaps I was naive and overly idealistic, but I believed that Bush would prosecute this war compotently. I after a year of sustained insurgency, I became convinced that Bush's handling of the war was severely damaging to American national security and thus I was forced to begrudgingly vote for John Kerry last November, despite my belief that he was a truly atrocious candidate.

Of course al Qaeda would try to challenge us in Iraq. This would be similar to invading France on D-Day and expecting the Nazis to not contest it. As I stated above, bin Laden wanted to soundly defeat the Americans in Afghanistan, but he failed badly. It took the mujihadeen 10 years to defeat the Godless Communists, with enormous backing by Pakistan's ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence) and America's CIA, supplying the "holy warriors" with billions of dollars and millions of arms. The Iraqi insurgency headed by Zarqawi has conducted such sustained and brutal operations that the "withdraw now" coalition is getting increasingly stronger by the day and I fear that by next summer there will be an overwhelming chorus of both parties pushing for a withdrawl from Iraq. al Qaeda in Iraq is well on it's way to defeating the greatest superpower the world has ever known, in a mere 3 years. The reason this is so depressing was that this wasn't inevitable at all and had we prosecuted this war with one iota of compotence, we could've prevented this and Iraq would've been a far safer place and it's likely that a viable democracy would be in place and Bush would've gone down in history as a true visionary president. Instead, if all the signs of a partial withdrawl are true and if the US doesn't somehow make significant gains against al Qaeda, Iraq could very well end up as one of the worst strategic mistakes in US history.

More on this in part 2 either later tonight or tomorrow.