Thursday, July 19, 2007

The common cause of Bush and al Qaeda

By Michael J.W. Stickings

This is so fucking obvious, but, hey, at least Lee Hamilton came out and said it:

U.S. forces should go into Pakistan to rout al Qaeda from the safe haven it has found in the mountains on the border with Afghanistan, a co-chairman of the Iraq Study Group said.

Former Rep. Lee Hamilton, who also served as the vice chairman of the 9/11 commission, says the Iraq war distracted the United States when it had al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden on the run in the tribal region between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

He says it's now time to finish the job.

"This has to be carefully calibrated, worked out with the Pakistanis, but I am very concerned that you have a safe haven in Pakistan today where they (al Qaeda) can regroup, rethink, and get ready for more attacks," Hamilton said on CNN's "Newsroom" on Wednesday.

Declassified portions of the National Intelligence Estimate released Tuesday reported that al Qaeda has "protected or regenerated key elements" of its ability to attack the United States while in this region.

Experts may debate al Qaeda's capacities and capabilities, but what is clear is that the Iraq War -- which, remember, has now been going on for more than four years and could go on for years and years to come, has pulled America's own capacities and capabilities away from the far more pressing task of rooting out al Qaeda.

To be sure, al Qaeda -- which should not be understood to be akin to a multinational with branches around the world controlled directly from central office -- has been significantly debilitated. One cannot know for sure -- one without access to the intelligence, that is -- but there is general agreement among experts that bin Laden's organization is not what it once was.

Still, one must speak not just of al Qaeda but of "al Qaeda," that is, the symbol (or ideal) that al Qaeda has become. Bin Laden may not be dead, but he is already a martyr, a hero to be emulated, if not worshipped. Hence the various copycat organizations, or cells, and other organizations loosely affiliated with, or that wish to be affiliated with, whatever the reality, al Qaeda. This is a serious threat -- if a group of "al Qaeda" followers detonate a radiological bomb in the middle of an American city, it won't much matter what they call themselves or whether their affiliation with al Qaeda is real or imagined.

But now, if the NIE is to be believed, the real al Qaeda may be building itself up again in a new safe haven across the border from its old one. And that is where the U.S. and its allies -- which, in terms of Afghanistan and the war on terror, include more than the meager "coalition of the willing" that followed Bush on his misadventure into Iraq. Here we have Canada and Europe, many in Asia, and many others. But they -- my own country, Canada, in particular -- are focused on Afghanistan. It is the U.S. that would need to lead a refocused war against al Qaeda in Pakistan, but would that happen with Iraq still such a significant drain on American resources, military and otherwise?

For it is that war in Iraq, Bush's war, that has both weakened the U.S. and strengthened al Qaeda -- and it will continue to do so for as long as the U.S. remains in such large numbers, that is, as an occupying force grappling with a complex civil war, as well as with al Qaeda (or "al Qaeda"). For al Qaeda, what is better than the Iraq War? And yet Bush continues to wage that war and to support yet more war in Iraq and perhaps with neighbouring Iran? Does that not mean that Bush is, in essence, supporting al Qaeda (and "al Qaeda")?

Yes. Yes it does.

That is the dirty truth about the Iraq War.

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  • Al Qaeda has strong base in Pakistan,Bush don't want to enter his troops into Pakistan because he having the fear of losing support of Musharraf... al Qaeda is much stronger than what we know, since we are not fully aware about their financial sources and weapon sources. Iraq war killing Iraqis and US soldiers rather than al Qaeda...
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    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:04 AM  

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