Friday, October 10, 2008

Iraq a Diversion for Al Qaeda?

Ackerman, still on tour:

Ken Timmerman of NewsMax asks the panel what Al Qaeda would look like if the surge in Iraq never happened “and Al Qaeda was allowed to take over Iraq” — which would be news to the 60 percent of Iraq that’s Shiite and never ever would have permitted such a thing.

Bruce Hoffmann, unsurprisingly, disagrees with the entire premise of Timmerman’s question. The Anbar Awakening, which started before the surge, was more important than the surge, Hoffman says, though he adds that the “surge clearly mattered.” More centrally, “Al Qaeda has always seen Iraq as a diversion,” he adds, to buy time for Al Qaeda to regroup in Pakistan.

Steve Coll, who wrote “Ghost Wars” and “The Bin Ladens,” agrees, and adds that the victory over Al Qaeda in Iraq is more properly seen as a victory for Iraqis.

And if I can add: Timmerman should be happy that’s the case! Regardless of the immediate politics of the moment, it’s unquestionably better for the long-term war against Al Qaeda if Muslims defeat Al Qaeda. That’s the truest strategic victory there is: an indigenous, authentic, irrefutable setback for the jihadist entity, emanating precisely from the people it’s playing for.

For Americans to claim credit for it is truly to commit a counterproductive category error. (Well, that is, unless the true goal here is to sanctify George W. Bush instead of defeating bin Laden.) Focus, right-wingers, focus!

1 comment:

  1. I think the al-Qaeda leadership views Iraq as a generous gift from George W. Bush. They have put zero resources into fighting the Iraq occupation, while the USA has committed trillions of dollars and the bulk of our ground forces and intelligence capabilities without any clear objectives.

    Result: al-Qaeda is stronger than ever after the world's military superpower has supposedly been fighting them for 7 years.

    Bush's failed Global War on Terror ranks at least equally with his other fiascoes: the 9/11 attacks, the Iraq invasion, Hurricane Katrina and the collapse of Wall Street.

    Our next President will have a gigantic mess to clean up.