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Hey, Thanks, George!
The headline says it all, from the NYT op-ed page, "Al Qaeda Resurgent":

Almost five and a half years ago, America — united by the shock of 9/11 — understood exactly what it needed to do. It had to find, thwart and take down the command structure of Al Qaeda, which was responsible for the deaths of 3,000 innocent people on American soil. Despite years of costly warfare in Afghanistan and Iraq, America today is not significantly closer to that essential goal.

At a crucial moment, the Bush administration diverted America’s military strength, political attention and foreign aid dollars from a necessary, winnable war in Afghanistan to an unnecessary, and by now unwinnable, war in Iraq. Al Qaeda took full advantage of these blunders to survive and rebuild. Now it seems to be back in business.

...Al Qaeda’s comeback didn’t have to happen. And it must not be allowed to continue. The new Qaeda sanctuaries in Pakistan do not operate with the blessing of the Pakistani government. But Pakistan’s military dictator, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, has not tried very hard to drive them out. In recent months he has virtually conceded the tribal areas to local leaders sympathetic to Al Qaeda. President Bush needs to warn him that continued American backing depends on his doing more to rid his country of people being trained to kill Americans.

Washington also has to enlist more support on the Afghan side of the border. NATO allies need to drop restrictions that hobble their troops’ ability to fight a resurgent Taliban. Afghan leaders need to wage a more aggressive campaign against corruption and drug trafficking. And Washington needs to pour significantly more money into rural development, to give Afghan farmers alternatives to drug cultivation. One reason General Musharraf has been hedging his bets with the Taliban and Al Qaeda is his growing doubt that Washington is determined to succeed in Afghanistan.

Sorry, we're a little busy in Iraq at the moment. Can we get back to you?

Posted by aalkon at February 25, 2007 8:04 AM

Comments

It would seem to me our country should have enough resources to fight successfully in both Afghanistan and Iraq. We were able to fight both Germany and Japan back in the day.

Sounds like more government incompetence.

Posted by: doombuggy at February 25, 2007 1:16 AM

Um, there was a draft back then.

Here, from Media Matters:

http://mediamatters.org/items/200702160007

it is not just Democrats who have made the link between Iraq and Afghanistan. The bipartisan Iraq Study Group noted in 2006 that the mission in Afghanistan has "been complicated by the overriding focus of U.S. attention and resources on Iraq."

Posted by: Amy Alkon at February 25, 2007 1:28 AM

> America today is not significantly
> closer to that essential goal.

Amy, that's just silly. Read it out loud. Does anyone in the world think AQ moves as freely as it did 6 years ago?

Once again:

> America today is not significantly
> closer to that essential goal.

How exactly was Afghanistan "winnable"? It's a shithole country without resources or prospects for development. It's got one thing going for it: If you're willing to live like a seventh-century mountain goat and only use your satellite phone twice a month, it's a great place to hide. America polices it as we do our own inner cities; not because we know what to do for people there, but because someone's got to keep the lid on, and the Danes and Tongans can't be bothered. What exactly are the resources we can use there to "win"?


Posted by: Crid at February 25, 2007 4:44 AM

> America — united by the shock
> of 9/11 — understood exactly
> what it needed to do.

Oh, for Christ's SAKE, Amy!


America perfectly well understands what it need to do for the inner city, too... Except for the part where it has no clue.

Posted by: Crid at February 25, 2007 5:02 AM

So, you're saying we shouldn't have invaded Iraq, we should have invaded Pakistan instead???

I don't get it.

If Musharraf stands up to the AQ goons, his own people will put a bullet in him. Letting AQ have the border province(s) is assassination insurance.

Posted by: brian at February 25, 2007 6:34 AM

The main issue is not A.Q.'s ability to get out orders once or twice a month. It would be the secondary leadership cells located in the various urban settings in Pakistan that should be concentrated on. They are the ones giving out orders and setting up alternative finance plans for operations in the next 2 to 3 years.

I would expect future terrorist attacks during significant changes in the various target nations. Perhaps when Blair steps down as P.M. of the UK in September, 2007. The upcoming French national elections too.

The last successful (as effecting national policies away from the US) A.Q. inspired operation was the toppling of the pro-US Aznar government in Spain with the Madrid train bombings just before their elections.

Posted by: Joe at February 25, 2007 7:18 AM

Musharraf has been conducting secret purges of his ISI (Pakistan's CIA) in the past 4 years.

Personnel believed to have sympathies with A.Q. and other forms of militant Islam, but maintaining strong links to terror activities in the disputed Kashmir province. One side fighting A.Q., but maintaining Pakistani national pride over territorial disputes with India.

The joint CIA-ISI capture of Abu Faraj al-Libbi in 2005 was a major blow to A.Q. Not to confuse him with Anas al-Liby, who was responsible for the 2 embassies bombings in Africa. Who is still at large.

Posted by: Joe at February 25, 2007 7:41 AM

There are none so blind...

Is there any group of intellectualoids who have less credibility than the editorialists at the NYT? They are one thing and one thing only, political whores of the left.

As I've pointed out in great detail without rebuttal, you are a blithering fool when it comes to the military, and what we should be doing where. You have no fucking idea of what we're doing in Afghanistan/Pakistan and Iraq. Reminds me of Frost:

Neither Out Far Nor In Deep

The people along the sand
All turn and look one way.
They turn their back on the land.
They look at the sea all day.

As long as it takes to pass
A ship keeps raising its hull;
The wetter ground like glass
Reflects a standing gull.

The land may vary more;
But wherever the truth may be---
The water comes ashore,
And the people look at the sea.

They cannot look out far.
They cannot look in deep.
But when was that ever a bar
To any watch they keep?

Posted by: Casca at February 25, 2007 2:39 PM

You are such a Negative Nelly.

Posted by: Crid at February 25, 2007 5:11 PM

Who is Casca talking about?

Posted by: Joe at February 25, 2007 5:22 PM

Is it negative to call a spade a spade? I'm tired of listening to traitors and their useful idiots in time of war. Lincoln locked up 15,000 Copperheads, and shipped Clement Vlandingham south. Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Chucky Schumer and the editorial board of the NYT need a one-way ticket to Tehran.

I know these young men who carry the burden of this war. My son is one of them. We are in a battle with a psychopathic enemy. All who attack those making the decisions in this war are ignorant of the decision making process, and of the facts and strategies behind these decisions. So, their empty carping is meaningless, except to score political points, and turn the electorate against the valiant efforts of our men in the field. This directly aids the enemy by encouraging them that victory is possible, when it dare not be. A non-victorious exit from Iraq will just be a stage in a war that will not end until these muslim psychopaths are dead. It will simply become more horrific, and most likely return to our shores.

Jefferson observed that, "the tree of liberty must be watered with the blood of tyrants and patriots." We need to add traitors to that list.

Posted by: Casca at February 25, 2007 6:39 PM

> Jefferson observed that, "the
> tree of liberty must be watered

McVeigh loved that passage too.

Posted by: Crid at February 25, 2007 6:51 PM

Abbie Hoffman too.

Posted by: Joe at February 25, 2007 7:09 PM

Casca:

Here's what makes the Muslim extremists dangerous assholes: They blindly follow their leaders, believing when they're told that what they're doing is God's will.

You're saying we should do the same thing.

Do you have the slightest idea it is that we're fighting for?

Posted by: Jon Tyken at February 25, 2007 7:25 PM

Crid, you're at your least interesting when you play the cheapshot artist. Didn't know you knew McVeigh that well, lol.

Jon, I do. We're fighting for the continued existance of Western Civilization. Freedom in Iraq is but a milemarker along the highway.

Posted by: Casca at February 25, 2007 7:38 PM

Casca:

I'm curious on how Iraq will be a free, peaceful and united nation? What would your plan consist?

Posted by: Joe at February 25, 2007 7:47 PM

There's a reason why the administration hasn't laid this stuff out on the table. There's no upside in the propaganda component. Those are intermediate objectives to the extent they serve our purpose in meeting our final objective.

But since your heart longs for a scenario. The Kurds get together with the Shites, and wipe the floor with the Sunnis. It'll happen in a year or two.

Posted by: Casca at February 25, 2007 8:20 PM

Actually, I agree the US leaving the region would be a total disaster, but the whole 'fighting the terrorists there instead of here' is highly unlikely. Personally, a regrouping of US forces to the north would be the best option.

Problem, Kurds will invade the Shia controlled regions. Right after the Shias (with the invisible hand of Iran) beat the Sunnis.

The Kurds have been waiting for an semi-independent state since 1919. They are going to do so some bold 'neo-con' adventures to secure their independence. This also causes problems with the Greater Persia policy of Iran.

Iran has a dream of controlling the pipeline project from Central Asia to Syria and an invading Kurdish militias into southern Iraq kind of creates a delay in the plans. US forces concentrated in the north country keeps Iranian military in check. They (Iran) will use the local Shias to cause problems and support more irregular military operations instead of the classic military confrontation.

Posted by: Joe at February 26, 2007 9:23 AM

Joe,

With all due respect, the Kurds will not invade the Shia controlled regions. They might pick a fight with Turkey, which still controls areas of what should be Kurdistan. They also have a bone to pick with Iran, which controls areas with predominantly Kurdish populations.

Posted by: MarkD at February 26, 2007 10:20 AM

They won't have to pick a fight with the Turks.

Posted by: Casca at February 26, 2007 11:33 AM

Mark,

The Kurds will never fight against the Turks or the Iranians. Both nations are too well established. What the Kurds will do is go after the Shia controlled regions of Southern Iraq. They see these regions as an extension of Iran's Greater Persia policy. What better time to invade right after a nasty sectarian fight against the Sunnis. While the Kurds are peaceful, organizing and making permanent alliances with the USA and the West. They have the inside advantage between the 3 groups.

The boys from Tehran are just waiting for the US to leave the region. Then they would invade Northern Iraq in a heartbeat. While the US Army is in Baghdad, Iran will use the Iraqi-Shia insurgents to cause as much trouble as possible.

Casca,

The Kurds will NEVER align themselves with the Shia. What is the dominant Islamic school of the Kurds? The answer is Shafi'i. The Shafi'i is a subgroup of the Sunnis. Why don't the Kurds align themselves with the Sunni? Lets see, the persecutions from Hussein. Also, the Kurds see a secular-nation state as security for their cultural heritage. Centuries of persecutions from their Brother-Muslims Turks, Iranians and Sunni, Shia Iraqis has lead to this conclusion. Check out my further Kurd comments on the "Why People Blow Themselves Up" post.

Also, the US in many ways can benefit from an independent Kurdistan in which I have posted in past entries. If they don't, there is one thing I do fear in the next 10 years is when the Kurds no longer believe in the secular-nation state as a solution but lean to a religious one. See, Shafi'i is very conservative and very orthodox in its view of Islam. If there is no independent Kurdistan... try imagining an alliance between religious Sunnis (persecuted by Hussein's abuses) and Kurds.

Posted by: Joe at February 26, 2007 12:26 PM

What I mean is an Al Qaeda inspired alliance between Iraqi-Sunni and the Kurds. Another nightmare scenario.

So a tactical regrouping of US forces in the Kurdish secured northern region is a must. ASAP

Posted by: Joe at February 26, 2007 12:31 PM

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