Saturday, October 08, 2005
Iraq & The War On Terror
In the wake of Bush's terrorism speech and the letter sent to the President by 40 Senate Democrats, Victor Davis Hanson provides a timely reminder about the involvment of Saddam's Iraq in terrorism directed against the US and the situation we face now:
The old debate whether Saddam Hussein was involved with al Qaeda is now calcified. Liberal conventional wisdom denies any such linkage since there is no firm evidence that Saddam knew of, or was involved in, the September 11 attacks. Thus most on the left ignore entirely that Ansar al-Islam was doing Saddam's dirty work in fighting the Kurds, that Abu Nidal and Abu Abbas resided in Baghdad, that Saddam openly harbored Abdul Rahman Yasin and Ahmed Hikmat Shakir who were connected to the effort in 1993 to blow up the World Trade Center and various anti-American plots, and that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi fled Afghanistan to the sanctuary of Iraq.Hanson's piece is aptly titled "The Quiet Consensus on Iraq." Its a very interesting read.
No matter. That was then, this is now — and there is no denying that al-Zarqawi is conducting al-Qaedist operations in Iraq, or that the sort of people who attacked us on September 11 are the sort of people now flocking to the Sunni Triangle and often dying at the hands of U.S. military forces. Everyone can agree on that.
The 'flypaper' exegesis — that Iraq has become a magnetized burial ground pulling in wannabe al Qaedists — is widely dismissed as unsophisticated and yokelish. But we saw the same phenomenon on the Afghan border in late 2001 where the Pakistani madrassas thinned out as jihadists went over the mountains to the Taliban's aid — only to be bombed to smithereens, the survivors limping back to warn others to give up such a holy trek.
In one of the strangest developments of this entire war, the Western world hears almost nothing about the aggregate number of jihadists killed by coalition forces in Iraq, even though we suspect it may have been several thousand — 10,000, 20,000, 50,000? Surely this has had both a concrete and a spiritual effect on hundreds of thousands of angry young Islamists, who are beginning to realize that a trip to Iraq may be lethal — and unwelcomed by most Iraqis who just wish to be left alone to form their own new government. Whatever one thought about the nexus of Iraq and terror before, no one now denies that our jihadist enemies are in Iraq and are being fought and defeated there each day.