Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The Charleston AFB Speech

President Bush issued a detailed defense of the proposition that fighting al-Qaeda in Iraq is integral part of the broader War on Terror in a speech at Charleston Air Force Base. "There's a debate in Washington about Iraq, and nothing wrong with a healthy debate. There's also a debate about al Qaeda's role in Iraq. Some say that Iraq is not part of the broader war on terror. They complain when I say that the al Qaeda terrorists we face in Iraq are part of the same enemy that attacked us on September the 11th, 2001. They claim that the organization called al Qaeda in Iraq is an Iraqi phenomenon, that it's independent of Osama bin Laden and that it's not interested in attacking America."

Whether or not you agree with President Bush, the speech provides an insight into how he understands the strategic role that Iraq plays. Or at least, it lays out how he wishes it to be regarded by the public. The text of the speech is in Read More.



Nearly six years after the 9/11 attacks, America remains a nation at war. The terrorist network that attacked us that day is determined to strike our country again, and we must do everything in our power to stop them. A key lesson of September the 11th is that the best way to protect America is to go on the offense, to fight the terrorists overseas so we don't have to face them here at home. And that is exactly what our men and women in uniform are doing across the world. 

The key theater in this global war is Iraq. Our troops are serving bravely in that country. They're opposing ruthless enemies, and no enemy is more ruthless in Iraq than al Qaeda. They send suicide bombers into crowded markets; they behead innocent captives and they murder American troops. They want to bring down Iraq's democracy so they can use that nation as a terrorist safe haven for attacks against our country. So our troops are standing strong with nearly 12 million Iraqis who voted for a future of peace, and they so for the security of Iraq and the safety of American citizens. 

There's a debate in Washington about Iraq, and nothing wrong with a healthy debate. There's also a debate about al Qaeda's role in Iraq. Some say that Iraq is not part of the broader war on terror. They complain when I say that the al Qaeda terrorists we face in Iraq are part of the same enemy that attacked us on September the 11th, 2001. They claim that the organization called al Qaeda in Iraq is an Iraqi phenomenon, that it's independent of Osama bin Laden and that it's not interested in attacking America. 

That would be news to Osama bin Laden. He's proclaimed that the "third world war is raging in Iraq." Osama bin Laden says, "The war is for you or for us to win. If we win it, it means your defeat and disgrace forever." I say that there will be a big defeat in Iraq and it will be the defeat of al Qaeda.

Today I will consider the arguments of those who say that al Qaeda and al Qaeda in Iraq are separate entities. I will explain why they are both part of the same terrorist network -- and why they are dangerous to our country. 

A good place to start is with some basic facts: Al Qaeda in Iraq was founded by a Jordanian terrorist, not an Iraqi. His name was Abu Musab al Zarqawi. Before 9/11, he ran a terrorist camp in Afghanistan. He was not yet a member of al Qaida, but our intelligence community reports that he had longstanding relations with senior al Qaida leaders, that he had met with Osama bin Laden and his chief deputy, Zawahiri.

In 2001, coalition forces destroyed Zarqawi's Afghan training camp, and he fled the country and he went to Iraq, where he set up operations with terrorist associates long before the arrival of coalition forces. In the violence and instability following Saddam's fall, Zarqawi was able to expand dramatically the size, scope, and lethality of his operation. In 2004, Zarqawi and his terrorist group formally joined al Qaida, pledged allegiance to Osama bin Laden, and he promised to "follow his orders in jihad." 

Soon after, bin Laden publicly declared that Zarqawi was the "Prince of Al Qaida in Iraq" -- and instructed terrorists in Iraq to "listen to him and obey him." It's hard to argue that al Qaida in Iraq is separate from bin Laden's al Qaida, when the leader of al Qaida in Iraq took an oath of allegiance to Osama bin Laden. 

According to our intelligence community, the Zarqawi-bin Laden merger gave al Qaida in Iraq -- quote -- "prestige among potential recruits and financiers." The merger also gave al Qaida's senior leadership -- quote -- "a foothold in Iraq to extend its geographic presence ... to plot external operations ... and to tout the centrality of the jihad in Iraq to solicit direct monetary support elsewhere." The merger between al Qaida and its Iraqi affiliate is an alliance of killers -- and that is why the finest military in the world is on their trail. 

Zarqawi was killed by U.S. forces in June 2006. He was replaced by another foreigner -- an Egyptian named Abu Ayyub al-Masri. His ties to the al Qaida senior leadership are deep and longstanding. He has collaborated with Zawahiri for more than two decades. And before 9/11, he spent time with al Qaida in Afghanistan where he taught classes indoctrinating others in al Qaida's radical ideology. 

After Abu Ayyub took over al Qaida's Iraqi operations last year, Osama bin Laden sent a terrorist leader named Abd al-Hadi al Iraqi to help him. According to our intelligence community, this man was a senior advisor to bin Laden, who served as his top commander in Afghanistan. Abd al-Hadi never made it to Iraq. He was captured, and was recently transferred to the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay. The fact that bin Laden risked sending one of his most valued commanders to Iraq shows the importance he places on success of al Qaida's Iraqi operations. 

According to our intelligence community, many of al Qaida in Iraq's other senior leaders are also foreign terrorists. They include a Syrian who is al Qaida in Iraq's emir in Baghdad, a Saudi who is al Qaida in Iraq's top spiritual and legal advisor, an Egyptian who fought in Afghanistan in the 1990s and who has met with Osama bin Laden, a Tunisian who we believe plays a key role in managing foreign fighters. Last month in Iraq, we killed a senior al Qaida facilitator named Mehmet Yilmaz, a Turkish national who fought with al Qaida in Afghanistan, and met with September the 11th mastermind Khalid Shaikh Muhammad, and other senior al Qaida leaders. 

A few weeks ago, we captured a senior al Qaida in Iraq leader named Mashadani. Now, this terrorist is an Iraqi. In fact, he was the highest ranking Iraqi in the organization. Here's what he said, here's what he told us: The foreign leaders of Al Qaida in Iraq went to extraordinary lengths to promote the fiction that al Qaida in Iraq is an Iraqi-led operation. He says al Qaida even created a figurehead whom they named Omar al-Baghdadi. The purpose was to make Iraqi fighters believe they were following the orders of an Iraqi instead of a foreigner. Yet once in custody, Mashadani revealed that al-Baghdadi is only an actor. He confirmed our intelligence that foreigners are at the top echelons of al Qaida in Iraq -- they are the leaders -- and that foreign leaders make most of the operational decisions, not Iraqis. 

Foreign terrorists also account for most of the suicide bombings in Iraq. Our military estimates that between 80 and 90 percent of suicide attacks in Iraq are carried out by foreign-born al Qaida terrorists. It's true that today most of al Qaida in Iraq's rank and file fighters and some of its leadership are Iraqi. But to focus exclusively on this single fact is to ignore the larger truth: Al Qaida in Iraq is a group founded by foreign terrorists, led largely by foreign terrorists, and loyal to a foreign terrorist leader -- Osama bin Laden. They know they're al Qaida. The Iraqi people know they are al Qaida. People across the Muslim world know they are al Qaida. And there's a good reason they are called al Qaida in Iraq: They are al Qaida … in … Iraq. 

Some also assert that al Qaida in Iraq is a separate organization because al Qaida's central command lacks full operational control over it. This argument reveals a lack of understanding. Here is how al Qaida's global terrorist network actually operates. Al Qaida and its affiliate organizations are a loose network of terrorist groups that are united by a common ideology and shared objectives, and have differing levels of collaboration with the al Qaida senior leadership. In some cases, these groups have formally merged into al Qaida and take what is called a "bayaat" -- a pledge of loyalty to Osama bin Laden. In other cases, organizations are not formally merged with al Qaida, but collaborate closely with al Qaida leaders to plot attacks and advance their shared ideology. In still other cases, there are small cells of terrorists that are not part of al Qaida or any other broader terrorist group, but maintain contact with al Qaida leaders and are inspired by its ideology to conduct attacks. 

Our intelligence community assesses that al Qaida in Iraq falls into the first of these categories. They are a full member of the al Qaida terrorist network. The al Qaida leadership provides strategic guidance to their Iraqi operatives. Even so, there have been disagreements -- important disagreements -- between the leaders, Osama bin Laden and their Iraqi counterparts, including Zawahiri's criticism of Zarqawi's relentless attacks on the Shia. But our intelligence community reports that al Qaida's senior leaders generally defer to their Iraqi-based commanders when it comes to internal operations, because distance and security concerns preclude day-to-day command authority. 

Our intelligence community concludes that -- quote -- "Al Qaida and its regional node in Iraq are united in their overarching strategy." And they say that al Qaida senior leaders and their operatives in Iraq -- quote -- "see al Qaida in Iraq as part of al Qaida's decentralized chain of command, not as a separate group." 

Here's the bottom line: Al Qaida in Iraq is run by foreign leaders loyal to Osama bin Laden. Like bin Laden, they are cold-blooded killers who murder the innocent to achieve al Qaida's political objectives. Yet despite all the evidence, some will tell you that al Qaida in Iraq is not really al Qaida -- and not really a threat to America. Well, that's like watching a man walk into a bank with a mask and a gun, and saying he's probably just there to cash a check. 

You might wonder why some in Washington insist on making this distinction about the enemy in Iraq. It's because they know that if they can convince America we're not fighting bin Laden's al Qaida there, they can paint the battle in Iraq as a distraction from the real war on terror. If we're not fighting bin Laden's al Qaida, they can argue that our nation can pull out of Iraq and not undermine our efforts in the war on terror. The problem they have is with the facts. We are fighting bin Laden's al Qaida in Iraq; Iraq is central to the war on terror; and against this enemy, America can accept nothing less than complete victory.

There are others who accept that al Qaida is operating in Iraq, but say its role is overstated. Al Qaida is one of the several Sunni jihadist groups in Iraq. But our intelligence community believes that al Qaida is the most dangerous of these Sunni jihadist groups for several reasons: First, more than any other group, al Qaida is behind most of the spectacular, high-casualty attacks that you see on your TV screens. 

Second, these al Qaida attacks are designed to accelerate sectarian violence, by attacking Shia in hopes of sparking reprisal attacks that inspire Sunnis to join al Qaida's cause.

Third, al Qaida is the only jihadist group in Iraq with stated ambitions to make the country a base for attacks outside Iraq. For example, al Qaida in Iraq dispatched terrorists who bombed a wedding reception in Jordan. In another case, they sent operatives to Jordan where they attempted to launch a rocket attack on U.S. Navy ships in the Red Sea. 

And most important for the people who wonder if the fight in Iraq is worth it, al Qaida in Iraq shares Osama bin Laden's goal of making Iraq a base for its radical Islamic empire, and using it as a safe haven for attacks on America. That is why our intelligence community reports -- and I quote -- "compared with [other leading Sunni jihadist groups], al Qaida in Iraq stands out for its extremism, unmatched operational strength, foreign leadership, and determination to take the jihad beyond Iraq's borders."

Our top commander in Iraq, General David Petraeus, has said that al Qaida is "public enemy number one" in Iraq. Fellow citizens, these people have sworn allegiance to the man who ordered the death of nearly 3,000 people on our soil. Al Qaida is public enemy number one for the Iraqi people; al Qaida is public enemy number one for the American people. And that is why, for the security of our country, we will stay on the hunt, we'll deny them safe haven, and we will defeat them where they have made their stand.

Some note that al Qaida in Iraq did not exist until the U.S. invasion -- and argue that it is a problem of our own making. The argument follows the flawed logic that terrorism is caused by American actions. Iraq is not the reason that the terrorists are at war with us. We were not in Iraq when the terrorists bombed the World Trade Center in 1993. We were not in Iraq when they attacked our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. We were not in Iraq when they attacked the USS Cole in 2000. And we were not in Iraq on September the 11th, 2001. 

Our action to remove Saddam Hussein did not start the terrorist violence -- and America withdrawal from Iraq would not end it. The al Qaida terrorists now blowing themselves up in Iraq are dedicated extremists who have made killing the innocent the calling of their lives. They are part of a network that has murdered men, women, and children in London and Madrid; slaughtered fellow Muslims in Istanbul and Casablanca, Riyadh, Jakarta, and elsewhere around the world. If we were not fighting these al Qaida extremists and terrorists in Iraq, they would not be leading productive lives of service and charity. Most would be trying to kill Americans and other civilians elsewhere -- in Afghanistan, or other foreign capitals, or on the streets of our own cities. 

Al Qaida is in Iraq -- and they're there for a reason. And surrendering the future of Iraq to al Qaida would be a disaster for our country. We know their intentions. Hear the words of al Qaida's top commander in Iraq when he issued an audio statement in which he said he will not rest until he has attacked our nation's capital. If we were to cede Iraq to men like this, we would leave them free to operate from a safe haven which they could use to launch new attacks on our country. And al Qaida would gain prestige amongst the extremists across the Muslim world as the terrorist network that faced down America and forced us into retreat. 

If we were to allow this to happen, sectarian violence in Iraq could increase dramatically, raising the prospect of mass casualties. Fighting could engulf the entire region in chaos, and we would soon face a Middle East dominated by Islamic extremists who would pursue nuclear weapons, and use their control of oil for economic blackmail or to fund new attacks on our nation. 

We've already seen how al Qaida used a failed state thousands of miles from our shores to bring death and destruction to the streets of our cities -- and we must not allow them to do so again. So, however difficult the fight is in Iraq, we must win it. And we can win it. 

Less than a year ago, Anbar Province was al Qaida's base in Iraq and was written off by many as lost. Since then, U.S. and Iraqi forces have teamed with Sunni sheiks who have turned against al Qaida. Hundreds have been killed or captured. Terrorists have been driven from most of the population centers. Our troops are now working to replicate the success in Anbar in other parts of the country. Our brave men and women are taking risks, and they're showing courage, and we're making progress. 

For the security of our citizens, and the peace of the world, we must give General Petraeus and his troops the time and resources they need, so they can defeat al Qaida in Iraq.

Thanks for letting me come by today. I've explained the connection between al Qaida and its Iraqi affiliate. I presented intelligence that clearly establishes this connection. The facts are that al Qaida terrorists killed Americans on 9/11, they're fighting us in Iraq and across the world, and they are plotting to kill Americans here at home again. Those who justify withdrawing our troops from Iraq by denying the threat of al Qaida in Iraq and its ties to Osama bin Laden ignore the clear consequences of such a retreat. If we were to follow their advice, it would be dangerous for the world -- and disastrous for America. We will defeat al Qaida in Iraq.

In this effort, we're counting on the brave men and women represented in this room. Every man and woman who serves at this base and around the world is playing a vital role in this war on terror. With your selfless spirit and devotion to duty, we will confront this mortal threat to our country -- and we're going to prevail. 

I have confidence in our country, and I have faith in our cause, because I know the character of the men and women gathered before me. I thank you for your patriotism; I thank you for your courage. You're living up to your motto: "one family, one mission, one fight." Thank you for all you do. God bless your families. God bless America.

I think some critics of Bush's speech will say "Well, al-Qaeda may be in Iraq now and Bin Laden may be sending important assets to it now, but that was only because we got rid of Saddam. Had Saddam been kept in power then al-Qaeda would never have been able to expand in the aftermath of a regime change". There are a few problems with this argument. The first is that the decision to remove Saddam was a bipartisan one. Therefore the more proper and robust criticism of the President's thesis is probably: "Ok. We all agreed to remove Saddam but had you not made a hash of the the subsequent situation, al-Qaeda would never have gotten a foothold in Iraq."

But that case is quite a different kettle of fish because it concedes the basic correctness of the policy but attacks the shortcomings of the implementation. And invites the riposte "ok, if things are wrong, how do we improve the implementation." Barack Obama correctly understands the dangers of going down that line of argument and has maintained steadfastly that Iraq was a mistake from the beginning. That the US ought never have tried to topple Saddam. In order to be on the soundest possible ground, the antiwar case against OIF must hold it to be conceptually flawed and not simply defective in implementation. Otherwise critics will be invited to "fix it". In truth, they want no part of it.

Historically, very few of those opposed to toppling Saddam in the first place objected in anticipation of getting into a fight with al-Qaeda there. Most of the reservations about the soundness of the original decision to mount OIF center around the presence or absence of WMDs or disagreements about International Law. Had anyone in 2003 actually argued we ought not to go into Iraq because we would find al-Qaeda there or that al-Qaeda would come out of its caves to meet America it would have been a very unpopular argument at the time.

However the history may be, the current question is whether al-Qaeda is now to be found in Iraq. And I think the honest answer to that must be yes. Al-Qaeda claims to be in Iraq on every website it can post on. Since it is still apparently the national goal to fight al-Qaeda, the problem facing the anti-war camp is how to justify walking away or retreating from Iraq when the enemy claims to be there in large numbers. And as best I can figure out, the answer to that challenge has been to put forward arguments of varying sophistication maintaining that the best way to fight al-Qaeda in Iraq is not to fight it in Iraq. The basic logic behind these types of "fight by retreating" assertions is that the US is an accelerant which enables al-Qaeda in Iraq. Remove America and al-Qaeda dies on the vine as a fire dies when oxygen is withdrawn.

If that's true however, then there is no reason why the same argument shouldn't apply everywhere else. If "fighting" terrorism is an incitement to more terrorism, then why fight it at all? Therefore we have in the wings a number of undeveloped, but supposedly promising alternative methods of fighting terrorism without physically fighting it. These include a "new Peace Corps", regional diplomacy, or personal diplomacy with heads of "rogue" states. Though how a future President will make his way to see Zawahiri or Bin Laden still remains to be explained.

That I think, is a tour d' horizon of the debate. Many people will be unhappy with the President's strategic argument about Iraq. And equally many will be dissastisfied with the antiwar counterarguments about Iraq. One of the most disappointing things about the last seven years has been watching the two ideological sides, like two washed up fighters in a ring, waltzing around in the parody of a contest, knowing you had to score each round.

30 Comments:

Blogger Doug said...

Michael Totten in Baghdad
HT Blackfive

7/24/2007 08:20:00 PM  
Blogger PierreLegrand said...

What struck me about that speech is his unwillingness to declare that Saddam was already using terrorists to do his bidding and specifically Al Qaeda. This goes back to the problem he has with the CIA. He knows that if he declares Al Qaeda was there before 9/11 that he will run into a firestorm of unnamed sources from the traitors inside of the CIA.

Truth is Wretchard all of the other arguments on removing Saddam hinge on his having a collaborative relationship with terrorists. If he didn't then he was not a problem since many dictators have pretty impressive arsenals.

I know he did have a collaborative relationship which is the only reason I ever backed the invasion. As I said in this post back in 2003...

Saddam must be linked to the Al Queda, its why many of us who supported the war, did so. I know that your reasons to go to war revolved around three or four issues. For many of us it revolved around one main issue, the linkage between Saddam and Al Queda, with the dreadful possibilities that follow from that match. That you wanted to free the Iraqis people was certainly a way for us to feel good about the war, but we both know that had you tried to sell this war by just saying how great it would be to free the Iraqis we would have said fine send them money and arms, but no U.S. Armies. Had you tried to sell this war on just the fact that the Iraqis were ignoring the United Nations resolutions we would have laughed you out of the White House for all the respect we have for that free parking institution. And the fact that Saddam had an active WMD program certainly is a concern to us but fact is, there are a lot of crazies who have weapons of Mass destruction, I don’t/won’t support wars to depose all of them. No this war revolved around the dynamic of Saddam giving those weapons of mass destruction to the Al Queda or other terrorists intent on using them here, it revolved around the evidence of linkage.Don Quixote’s letter to the President, tilting at windmills can be fun

Naturally he didn't take my advice...it was almost like watching a slow motion train wreck..the Bush administration working hard to show how reasonable it is by declaring over and over that Saddam had absolutely nothing to do with 9/11 and the Support for the war evaporating as people started believing him. Pitiful performance on folks so insulated that they simply do not understand that their legalistic notions are no reason to send US citizens to war.

7/24/2007 08:26:00 PM  
Blogger Allison said...

The administration is still trying to recover from their past years' unwillingness to declare ideology to be the uniting force among the members of Al Qaeda, AQI, and all the rest of the various tendrils of the Islamist terrorist networks. The unwillingness to mention Wahhabism, or where people come into contact with this virulent ideology, or how they become radicalized, or what connections the top levels of AQ have to each other has made it impossible to explain how we're fighting A Coherent Enemy.

Even now, in this speech, he makes a passing glance at it, stating "Al Qaida and its affiliate organizations are a loose network of terrorist groups that are united by a common ideology and shared objectives" but at no point in the speech does he explain what their common ideology is. So even as he explains that bin Laden and Mashadani and others have common objectives in Iraq, he can't really explain What They Are, and what in the world those objectives have to do with September 11th.

Attempting to refute the argument that our presence in Iraq created the new terrorism, he says "Iraq is not the reason that the terrorists are at war with us. " and then he cites reasons why it's not Iraq, but he never says WHAT THE REASONS ARE that the terorists are at war with us. It's a lot easier to refute if you give positive, clear statements about what they want, because then it's clear that Iraq isn't the issue.

The vacuum leaves a lot of room for the war's rhetorical opponents.

7/24/2007 09:23:00 PM  
Blogger dla said...

Bush has a good grasp of the situation and is dealing with reality. His opponents are either living in the past, execising their 20/20 hindsight, or they are living in a fantasy today. I'm not sure why people can't get past what was and deal with what is.

What I find most disturbing is that our media doesn't report this to the American public. The public needs to get educated on Iraq. My biggest critique of Bush's operation is that he hasn't pushed his message down the throat of the MSM.

7/24/2007 09:56:00 PM  
Blogger PierreLegrand said...

Bush has a good grasp of the situation and is dealing with reality. His opponents are either living in the past, execising their 20/20 hindsight, or they are living in a fantasy today. I'm not sure why people can't get past what was and deal with what is.

His good grasp of the situation has support for the war near the stage where we surrender. Something tells me that he might have messed up trying to tie our invasion to the UN. After all its not the UN that sends troops. It is our mothers and fathers and our sisters and brothers who say goodbye to their friends and family. You better have a better reason than Kofi Anon to send my childrent I will tell you that now.

7/24/2007 10:03:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

The mental no-jihad zone
HT Pierre
Objecting to a recent column characterizing his views as being non-comprehending or indifferent to jihad, Lt. Col. David Kilcullen, senior counterinsurgency adviser to our forces in Iraq, wondered in an e-mail whether I "may not like Muslims, and that's your choice." It was a long e-mail — one of several — but even these few words convey the viewpoint, increasingly prevalent, that discounts the doctrinal centrality of Islam to jihad violence convulsing the world, from Iraq to London. In the mental no-jihad zone (and, in Lt. Col. Kilcullen's case, despite what he calls his "significant personal body count of terrorists and insurgents killed or captured"), only personal animus can explain alarm over the Islamic institution of jihad (let alone dhimmitude).
"Alternatively," he wrote, "you may think Islam contains illiberal and dangerous tendencies."

I may think? I do think "tendencies" such as jihad and dhimmitude. "Again," he said, "you're entitled to that view."

"That view" is increasingly absent at the top, where Islam itself is politically and strategically beside the point.
Consider current military thought, as expressed by Lt. Col. Kilcullen: Typical terrorists, he wrote, are "driven by fundamentally non-religious motivational factors."
I wonder which non-religious motivational factors inspired Glasgow's terror-docs to scream "Allah, Allah" while ramming a flaming car into the airport.

Of course, it gets worse. Debate now divides the Pentagon over a new lexicon for Centcom. At stake is the Islamic term "jihad" itself, which could become officially verboten within the ranks of the fighting force that is actually supposed to defeat it.

This might leave us speechless, but it better not shut us up.

7/24/2007 10:35:00 PM  
Blogger Ari Tai said...

Re: Hussein responsible for 9-11. Odds are he was (if you consider those who could have stopped it equally culpable…)

Let's see. Would a dictator who only at the last minute was thwarted in his effort to kill his Gulf-1 opponent (Mr. Bush senior) (after accepting a cease fire) hesitate to pass a message alerting the U.S. when his secret police had solid reporting of AQ's plans to use planes to knock down the towers, using individuals named X, Y and Z, who were trained in the U.S., and funded by A, B and C, sometime in September?

The Mukhabarat had its oil-for-food-lubricated (and often enough deadly to its perceived and real enemies) tendrils everywhere in the world-wide arab/jihadi/muslim communities, there was little that escaped their attention and interference as they believed they were under attack from all sides and viewed everything as a possible attack on their clan’s dear-leader. Who was it that actually threatened death to Eason Jordon and kept CNN and other companies in line (by knowing what they were going to do before they did it)? That was the easiest part of their job.

Well, ok, but this is much more plausible than the other conspiracy theories currently in vogue.

I suspect this is why the surveys continue to report the majority think Hussein had something to do with 9/11, despite the Left’s best efforts. A better set of survey questions might tease this out.

Time will tell.

7/25/2007 02:28:00 AM  
Blogger R said...

This long winded argument over our justification for the Iraqi invasion is so boring: I wonder why my President has to stay attached to defending it? I know, he forgot to read 'ole Nicolo Machiavelli's thoughts, instead he chose to read...what?

Simple facts: The most powerful nation on the planet, the one with those fantastic airplanes, those pinpoint accuracy bombs, those robots who diffuse bombs and explore rooms; the nation that produces more lawyers (who work within government) all this collective energy of people and things can't see or figure out how to win in Iraq and here in the United States...sooner, rather than later. Just that simple.

Too many chiefs, not enough indians. Oh, that's right, we did elect this man who believes in "Compassionate Conservatism" and who has helped a "do nothing" Congress to exist, while promoting a socialist agenda...rights, rights, rights, and entitlements with diversity.

Remember, smart and honest professor Ward Churchill is now going to the Courts for his salvation...after 2 plus years wherein "really smart" educated people who lead a University pondered if he should still be a faculty member.

Narcissism has engulfed an entire generation, mine to be more exact.

I never did like Bremer's clothes! Just a little too Preppie for the job, I thought.

And now we have the final Act coming up where the woman (Hillary) gives one long bitch to her man (Bill Clinton's older brother, Newt). Meanwhile, we slide into our Lazyboys peering at our mirrors while enemies come to kill us and our way of life.

Then again, perhaps our thirst for living will be the glue that holds us together long enough for victory in Iraq. Watch the prices of oil for clues to our success.

God may just bless America...again!

Then again, maybe Obama is the new Lincoln?

7/25/2007 07:25:00 AM  
Blogger Ardsgaine said...

The war in Iraq went off the rails when they named it Operation Iraqi Freedom. The president's focus should have been on achieving victory first. You have to defeat a country before you reconstruct it, and reconstruction is optional. We have treated rebuilding Iraq as an obligation, and given the Iraqis a bizarre sense of entitlement to fuel their resistance to the occupation. When I read the president praising the "selflessness" of our troops, I could puke. The purpose of our army is to defend this country, not to serve as a sacrificial offering by which we purchase the benevolence of other nations. Our soldiers are not sacrificial lambs, they are lions of justice defending their own. Damn a president who thinks otherwise.

7/25/2007 09:43:00 AM  
Blogger LarryD said...

Ardsgaine, would you rather that our military was fighting AQ in our country?

The best place to engage the enemy is in their homelands, not ours, even if they get a home court advantage.

And we are draining the swamp the terrorists live in, even outside Iraq.

7/25/2007 10:05:00 AM  
Blogger Ardsgaine said...

"Ardsgaine, would you rather that our military was fighting AQ in our country?"

No, I would rather that we took the gloves off, and fought them over there with the full might of our military. I would rather we stopped letting Iran build their nuclear arsenal while committing acts of war against us with impunity. I would rather we announced our determination to defend this country by any means necessary, and told the UN to stick its head in a bucket.

Etc.

7/25/2007 10:26:00 AM  
Blogger R said...

Ardsgaine, I think we should create our battalion of like thinking warriors, watch this new You Tube video of Patton addressing Iraq and today's Americans, then go get this job done...Victory has no second place!

Watch this video: It is right on the money! At least, to my way of thinking, and hopefully, millions of Americans...and Brits...and all those who love freedom!

7/25/2007 11:07:00 AM  
Blogger dla said...

Ardsgaine wrote...
The war in Iraq went off the rails when they named it Operation Iraqi Freedom

And this is precisely why I believe the Whitehouse should've rammed their story down the throat of the collective MSM - your statement shows that you don't have a grasp of the bigger picture of the war on terror.

This is not some Clinton-era cops & robbers operation. The Clinton legal approach was and is a dismal failure against Al-Qaeda. John Kerry is again a dismal loon when panders to the naive by painting anti-terror as some TV-show, e.g. "The Unit" where we can send in the good guys to take out the bad guy and all will be well in a 60 minute segment.

I can think of no better place and method to disrupt the world-domination scheme of Al-Qaeda, than to establish another functioning democratic republic in the middle east.

Now I suspect that if a democrat president were attempting this, the Main Stream Media would report it.

7/25/2007 11:08:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...

Wretchard,

I was wondering if you'd entertain a few square-one thoughts re: the war on terror, which may or may not read as stream of consciousness.

It's September 12th and we've just been attacked. The President and his advisors come together to discuss 1) who perpetrated the acts, 2) how they perpetrated the acts, and 3) why they perpetrated the acts. This is the orientation stage. We need to pin-point the intent and capability of the revealed enemy, and we need to forecast the systemic implications of each course of action that is open to us. Once we have mapped out the probability space, we must decide how to respond.

One thing that jumps out immediately: 1) "intent" is viral, and 2) Muslims are much more susceptible to infection than others. It's also clear that infection/inoculation rates viz the virus, operative training-levels, available resources (money, allies, vendors, useful idiots, etc.), and available weaponry are the primary factors in determining capability. The enemy's strategic and tactical options increase/diminish depending on how those factors come together at specific instances of space-time.

All of those factors have factors themselves, but one they all share is the factor of time. A favorable time scale for the enemy can greatly change the forecast. As we've seen in Palestine and elsewhere, severity of infection directly correlates to time-length of unadulterated exposure (a qualification that needs closer analysis). Attacks are much more severe if years are available to plan and implement them. Training-levels increase, weapons-grade improves, resources multiply, etc., as available time lengthens. This is particularly true nowadays, in the Army of Davids era. A principle of action is discovered: time is of the essence.

But here's where it gets complicated, and where Bush seems to have chosen, ah, non-optimally. By "here" I mean the stage of orientation where we assimilate all of the above, as new information, into the Overall Strategy for the United States of America.

Before we continue, it's worth revisiting what our overall strategic objectives are. Unfortunately, there are many places to begin such an exploration, each leading to a particular set of answers. I won't get into it here except to say: not addressing this first fork in the road was Bush's most far-reaching oversight. By not defining a particular perspective -- a particular cognitive starting point -- that we could all submit to as citizens and human beings, Bush robbed us of a common language of common principles. Another way to say it: whether or not Bush's blue-print is accurate, the tower can't be built so long as we avoid establishing a unity of axioms. Without defining a fundamental perspective to which each citizen submits and thereby appropriates, Bush began building his efforts, not on rock, but on sand.

(As an aside, without this unity there is no immovable foundation to appeal to when the storms come, as we've seen. I fear that if we do not establish this foundation, and establish it soon, the chance at a brighter future for humanity will have come and gone. America will of necessity evolve into a rational, self-interested power -- she will lose her imagination, optimism and faith -- and the decline will begin.)

So that is step one, a step Bush -- without reflection -- took for granted.

Now, once we have our Overall Strategic Objectives, the next step is to determine 1) which Overall Objectives are implicated by September 11, and 2) how they are implicated by September 11. Here, again, I am certain that Bush chose non-optimally. September 11 does not signal the danger of tyranny and subjugation, as Bush implies with his counter-message of Democracy and Freedom. September 11, if it signaled anything, signaled the danger of emboldened and empowered chaos, Χάος, entropy, meaninglessness -- i.e. the oldest, and the deadliest, of all the evils. (Matthew 7:23, "Depart from me, ye that practice lawlessness" -- the greek anomia means lawless)

If America and modernity represent the coming together of humanity under covalent and harmonious meta-principles -- a plausible assertion -- then Al'Qaeda represents the atomization of humanity into disharmonious clumps of doctrine and instinct. The danger Al'Qaeda represents is the re-entrenchment of mankind behind archaic, intractable and immoderate principles -- in essence, an effort to destroy our tower of unity with an immanently destructive Confusion of the Tongues.

Acknowledging the true danger -- chaos -- elucidates the necessary solution. I won't say any more, but please think on this. After you've had a chance to let it stew, let us (me) know whether you believe Bush's strategy post-9/11 to be optimal.

My conclusion? I suspect that Bush, with the best intentions, worsened the problem. He may not have build the centrifuge, but that it's now spinning faster I am almost certain.

7/25/2007 11:17:00 AM  
Blogger wretchard said...

aristides,

On September 12, I don't think people had a clue where the solution lay. But they had a theory, a hypothesis. One that really had its roots in the Cold War. Terrorism's roots was "state sponsored terrorism". Rogue states. Because states were at the root of everything. Hence, for GWB and maybe some ideologues in the government advising decisively at that very moment when it was so confused, the state in Afghanistan and Saddam's in Iraq were at the bottom of the problem.

The Left too subscribed to the theory of state sponsored terrorism. Except in their model, the United States was the terrorist-sponsoring state.

So America simply acted without quite knowing what it was doing, though it gave the impression that it did. And the Left wreaked its customary havoc, without knowing why it did, but also giving the impression that it had all the answers.

Now we understand that terrorism's cause may not be due entirely to state sponsorship, though clearly there is some of that. It might have to do with other forces. The breakdown of the state, in fact, due to new technology and globalization. Due to an ideology. Call it radical Islam, call it something else. But both these themes are absent both from the mainline narratives of President Bush and the Left. Heaven forbid that anyone should mention radical Islam for example as a cause and combatant, because the one thing that both GWB and the Left agree upon is that radical Islam doesn't exist as a stream within Islam because it is a ROP.

Some of the real explanations of today's crisis lie beyond the spotlight shone by the narratives of both GWB and the Left, but thankfully, not beyond the public's own grasp. In some sense they are in advance of the traditional opinion leaders because they aren't burdened by the received wisdom of the past.

And getting the right narrative is important because the War on Terror will be 10% kinetic and 90% informational. GWB, I think, has got it slightly better than the Left because not only does he understand the necessity for the kinetic part, but in accepting the vague idea of "briging freedom to the Middle east" he has left a crack open for real information war, though I daresay his presidency will be long over before the Government institutionally "gets it".

7/25/2007 11:55:00 AM  
Blogger wretchard said...

One of the more intriguing headlines today is John Murtha's announcement that he is willing to forgo any deadline for an Iraq troop withdrawal as long as he is convinced they'll be withdrawn eventually.

"While he opposes leaving any U.S. troops behind, Murtha said he'll bring an amendment to the House floor next week that requires the White House to start redeployment within 60 days of enactment, without setting a deadline for completion."

Maybe Murtha is getting a little worried that Petraeus might actually succeed. Not convinced, but the glimmer of the chance of a possibility, just the smallest seed of doubt has been planted in Murtha's mind. And that, I think, politically terrifies him. He won't want to be part of a withdrawal in the middle of a changing public perception that things were working out.

So he might be covering his bases, as any smart politician does.

7/25/2007 12:02:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

There are various dimensions to OIF, and an important but often overlooked - or at least badly misunderstood – aspect is that of the symbolic challenge.

The Soviet manned space successes were spectacular and highly symbolic in nature but otherwise represented utterly useless achievements. In response, Pres. Kennedy issued his Moon Race challenge even before the U.S. had placed a single man in orbit.

Likewise, the 9/11/01 attacks were highly symbolic theater, but offered no real practical challenge to the U.S. Our response was to choose a goal – changing Iraq – and thus throw down the gauntlet before the Islamic Fascists. If we could overcome the new Nazis in their own region, and do it in our own unique American way, that would demonstrate the superiority of our way of life quite convincingly.

But it won't win the larger, longer war any more that Apollo 11 made the USSR throw in the towel.

7/25/2007 12:55:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Aren't we slowly but surely moving towards a final and ultimate "clash of civilizations"? It seems to me that what Bush's optimal response became in the week after September 11 was an attempt by America (and the West) to avoid the genocide involved in defending ourselves.

We've now spent six years attempting to bring Muslims of the world up to speed in acknowledging that yes, it is their religion and their Koran that is the "root cause" of both their problems and our reaction. Pretty much as one, they have refused to look that reality in the eye, to the point where our choices have narrowed to two: convert to Islam and do it their way, or nuke the entire region back to the Stone Age, kill them all,and be done with it in the name of self-defense.

I don't know that Mr. Bush ever had full confidence in a military solution, but I'm quite certain that everything he's done has been done out of Christian charity in a full-out effort to avoid having to kill everyone who claims "Allah is Great".

Steven den Beste wrote an excellent essay in September of 2002 which delineates this thinking and the conundrum it poses. It clarified my thinking for ever: http://www.denbeste.nu/cd_log_entries/2002/09/Whoisourenemy.shtml

7/25/2007 01:08:00 PM  
Blogger Aristides said...

And getting the right narrative is important because the War on Terror will be 10% kinetic and 90% informational. GWB, I think, has got it slightly better than the Left because not only does he understand the necessity for the kinetic part, but in accepting the vague idea of "briging freedom to the Middle east" he has left a crack open for real information war, though I daresay his presidency will be long over before the Government institutionally "gets it".

A few months ago I was studying how our 9/11 strategy evolved into "bringing freedom and democracy to the Middle East," and, later, "ending Tyranny in our world." It struck me that these were not controlling principles of action but themes with which to guide and sell our conduct.

Then I began studying signaling theory and deterrence, specifically the idea that in a signaling game, the receiver uses signals to determine the traits of the signaler (e.g. stotting displays). Once an educated guess is reached as to the signaler's "type," -- whether a gazelle is healthy and difficult to catch -- the receiver (e.g. the lion) assimilates that belief into his preferred strategy tree, then makes a choice of action (e.g. pursue another). You probably know all of this anyway, but bear with me.

Any response of ours to 9/11 -- or non-response, for that matter -- would implicitly carry with it a signal. While Al'Qaeda-types and their accomplices might be considered primary, intentional receivers of any signals we sent, it was inevitable that everyone else on the planet -- chunked as they are into entities -- would be collateral receivers, interpreting our "messages" according to their own specific circumstances, biases, and beliefs. Our signals would be independently- and jointly-processed by all manner of players; Russia might process one way, Brazil another, Iran another, etc. Distinct "cognitive algorithms" imply disparate outputs; one group of people might output "imperialism," and another might output "liberal intervention," etc.

As the conclusions from each receiver get assimilated into the receiver's strategic posture, the overall "state" of the international system is modified, either favorably for us, neutrally for us, or unfavorably for us. These are all uncontroversial statements, it seems to me, about how the world works.

So let's say we've decided on a course of action to protect ourselves from Al'Qaeda and neutralize the long-term dangers of jihadism, etc. The next logical step is to figure out how best to mitigate the dangers of signal misconception among the collateral receivers. And this is where theme comes in.

I'm not sure if the analogy totally fits, but the way I think about it is this: the theme we choose is the stamp that identifies the signal we send (intentionally or otherwise) to the receiver and tells him which decryption key to use to read our message. If "Ending tyranny" is our stamp (let's say), then any signals we send will be read accordingly.

This is still very descriptive, I know, but themes also have strategic implications. One, there are centripetal themes and centrifugal themes (important distinctions when building and maintaining cooperative games). National security, for instance, is a centrifugal theme; it logically reduces to singularities of interest.

Also, themes can imply parameters of future actions. For instance, many of our allies object to Bush's sweeping, immoderate theme of "ending tyranny" precisely because no boundaries on action naturally suggest themselves. The only explicit boundary on action is, presumably, the point at which all tyranny disappears. In a cooperative game such a theme (especially when espoused by the dominate player) is not an optimal data-stamp. Especially when entering an era of increased activity on the part of the dominant player. This type of signaling tends to make the collateral receivers a bit squeamish, which then makes them begin to hedge against the dominant player.

The theme, if chosen carefully, can also be an asset against the enemy. It is on this level that Bush chose the theme of Freedom and Democracy.

My conclusion: the optimal theme would 1) accurately or usefully decrypt our actions for our intended and collateral receivers, 2) create a more favorably environment for increased activity by suggesting logical and natural boundaries which are cognizable and acceptable to our allies and potential adversaries, 3) be an asset in undermining the legitimacy/efficacy of the revealed enemy jihadism, and 4) be logically related to the problem at hand.

My conclusion is that the theme for the war on terror should have been Legitimacy, Order, Law, or a synonym thereof. Rather than Freedom and Democracy, Bush should have evangelized Law and Legitimacy. Only the latter reconciles with the above four requirements (it seems to me).

7/25/2007 01:26:00 PM  
Blogger Aristides said...

As for the "institutionally gets it" part, it seems to me that the solution lies in convincing a presidential aspirant of the political virtue of the proper perspective.

In this environment, virtue is to be found in distinguishing oneself from Bush, calming the nerves of domestic interests and international players, all while remaining coherently tough on terror. Embracing the themes of Law and Legitimacy seem well-suited, no?

Now, who could we get to champion that?

7/25/2007 01:52:00 PM  
Blogger R said...

Nice writing, good thoughts, reminds me of walking around the maypole. I like strolling with Plato and his buddies. Strong in mind, body and soul. Da Vinci's man gives a sense of balance, Fuller's notion of the tetrahedron's primacy, and Rodney King's pleading: "Can't we all get along?" just about wraps it up for me.

Pan over to Pakistan. Supposed to be an Islamic state when created? If so, what happened? Today, we have a government that suggests the "body" runs it via controlling military muscle; the "mind" is represented by the judicial class where a major force is prepping their game plan; and out in the hinterlands, or buried in the poor sections of this part of the world are those "soul" players, Islamic true believers...the "have nots" supported by a fascist intellectual class, as always.

Where's the balance? Most Paks have seen Bonanza, know about cell phones, have seen planes, heard about their nukes, and know porn when they see it. Why the unrest?
Who wants what part and how much of the pie of the "good life" as defined by each group?

Ask most Americans today if they have begun to understand why Saddam was such a tyrant, and I will place my bets on the answer being that we have discovered that the Iraqis have a long history of tribal hatreds, religious hatreds...all kinds of operating hatreds.

Matter of fact, what we get mostly from the Middle East is just that:
HATREDS toward others.

Is there such a thing as a sick culture, rotten societies? If you answer yes, then the next step is to create a test to measure a culture or society.

Nut jobs are just that for specific reasons. Why can't a whole country, a society, even a culture be considered a nut job?

The problem is when the nut jobs get weapons and have targets. This is our problem, as I see it. Black and white thinking you say? I should perhaps try to nuance my thoughts?

Crap! This religion of peace has too long a history to fool me. And true believers convinced me years ago of their dangers. This is a war of ideas, via different groups that want power.

I like smart muscle. Wise muscle.

Balanced thinking is the goal, and it's not easy to attain, change is always present. Harmony. Frequency. Amplitude.

There's a part of me that thinks a Peace Corps would be more effective, save the kidnapping game our enemies always pull off.

Just maybe it's our job to wipe out these Islamo fascists so that a new, more healthy culture takes root in those areas where too many humans have been denied basic freedoms and opportunities for far too long. I have no problem with this, only I want it to be done smartly...not like the idiots have so far failed to do.

General Petreaus seems to be fighting a good fight, a winning fight. Let's support him with everything, and I mean everything that we've got.

What's the downside of bringing stability to Iraq? Or killing more bad guys over in Iraq?

Let's send our lawyers into harm's way. That should change the tone of this argument...a lot!

7/25/2007 02:09:00 PM  
Blogger buck smith said...

Hey Wrethard,

I wonder if Murtha's daddy was all hot and bothered about getting US troops out of Germany in 1947 and then decided he was OK with them staying there as long as they were withdrawn evenutally. ;)

That Murtha - as fat as he is, he must do a lot of Yoga to be able to put his foot in his mouth so well. Here's an item about a Haditha Marine Father speaking with the Murthaf**r. He is a lot more restrained than I would be if I were in his shoes:

http://www.911familiesforamerica.org/?p=397

7/25/2007 02:36:00 PM  
Blogger PierreLegrand said...

The purpose of our army is to defend this country, not to serve as a sacrificial offering by which we purchase the benevolence of other nations. Our soldiers are not sacrificial lambs, they are lions of justice defending their own. Damn a president who thinks otherwise.

Brilliant...you have given shape to thoughts that were just out of reach in my own mind. Thank you.

dla...hehe.

Democracy in the Middle East, I wonder if anyone asked the folks in the ME if they wanted Democracy? If they even understand democracy...for that matter not many in this country (USA) "understand" Democracy.

That is hilarious...democracy in the Middle East as a solution. Please you are killing me. Pardon the pun.

7/25/2007 02:36:00 PM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

Wretchard --

Your analogy of two tired fighters in a ten-point must system trying to score on each round is apt.

If the Left has pushed "Back to the Nineties" and pretend AQ does not exist, i.e. a wholesale surrender/apology tour ala Obama the Messiah, Bush has pushed half-measures and suggested it's AQ not Islam that is the problem and we can do half-measures and win.

The cutting of the Gordian knot is simple for a public tired of the failure of each policy: kill a lot of Muslims, take their oil, go home.

Gas at $0.50 a gallon? No more terrorism? Most Americans at this point have such a low opinion of Muslims that such a policy, particularly after we lose several cities as we will, be widely embraced.

What threatens GWB and his group is the Saudis being correctly identified as Enemies and being dealt with. Which of course would include the Saudi people as well as the corrupt regime. What threatens the Dems is that fighting the enemy marginalizes the feminized, weak, and surrender-minded lawyers, pols, "advocates" and the like.

Eventually someone will see the advantages of a Jacksonian solution, as a way to become President or the next one, and propose this solution. The problem with the two tired fighters is that the audience will leave the ring and find something new.

7/25/2007 02:41:00 PM  
Blogger RightinFlorida said...

The speech was just fine. Problem is, when he's done such in the past, he then stops. He needs to carry this message forward just as strongly at least weekly.

7/25/2007 04:57:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Whiskey_199

Generally the world tends to get very nervous and discuss bonding their military together against a powerful foe that gobbles up weaker countries for their land and resources.

See Germany taking Czechslovakia, Poland.
See the Japanese Cosphere of Greater Prosperity.

As much as you want it, the oil in Arab lands belongs to Arabs, not greedy Jews seeking the natural wealth of other nations near Israel, not motorists willing to kill other American's kids and Muslims to get cheaper gas.

If you want to kill& invade to gain materially, Canada has huge oil, gas, and mineral deposits. Or maybe your Israeli supermen could invade the Gulf and try to keep it all on their own, no help from us, against the global Armies and blockading Navies soon to be arrayed against them if they tried such stupidity....

What I believe is that my rights, our law protects my property and I don't see military or police power of others as a good enough reason to simply take what is mine. Nor is there any right to take other's natural resources in foreign lands by thuggery - and we The People will band together against that like the world would resist. And we did in the past overseas to fight such dangerous predators as you propose America and perhaps Our Special Friend become...

7/25/2007 05:24:00 PM  
Blogger ledger said...

It was a good address. Bush laid out his case very concisely.

The reason for it was to block the dem’s political tactic of “Bush took his eye off the terrorist ball.” This is not the case. The “fly paper” effect is drawing and killing thousands of terrorists in Iraq.

Both Wretchard and dla have covered all of the bases. One thing most people know, including liberals, is that Bush is right but by constantly repeating the lie “Bush took his eye off the ball” argument may be good enough to win an election for the dems.

Both Clinton and the dems on intelligence committees knew of the terrorists connection in Iraq starting from Abu Nidal through bin Laden and his 9/11 highjackers. For the dems it all spin until the election is over.

As Wretchard has pointed out, the dem’s worst case scenario would be to have the war continue through a democrat Administration because it would show how poorly they would handle it.

To be blunt, the dems could not fight their way out of wet paper bag.

Sure, Murtha is worried that Petraeus might not “loose the war” in time for the election – Worse, he could actually come close to winning it.

That’s were Murtha knows the danger lies. That is why Murtha trying to straddle both sides of the road. Once his party is in control they will screw-up so badly that they will never be trusted to hold office again (Hillary, Bill, Harry, Nancy, John F.K, and Murtha mixed together in one bickering messy omelet).

In short, the dems need Bush to finish the war for them or let the world see what poor stewards they are during a time of great conflict.

7/26/2007 12:09:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

"Once his party is in control they will screw-up so badly that they will never be trusted to hold office again" - Hardly. Can anyone imagine an administration with worse foreign policy disasters than Jimmy Carter's? And yet the dems are still with us. And they are about to nominate a new Neville Chamberlain - Barack Obama. "Twice there has come back peace from Germany. I think it is peace for our time." Welcome to 1938.

7/26/2007 06:54:00 AM  
Blogger El Jefe Maximo said...

Trouble is, the "key theater" of this war is Washington and New York and the defeatist messages of the media and the politicos, not Baghdad. We can't win in Baghdad unless we can first prevail here.

7/26/2007 08:08:00 AM  
Blogger Ikez said...

al Qaeda is and has been in Iraq since well before U.S. troops arrived. I've just posted a 2002 video of al Qaeda training in Iraq and a list of hundreds of members of Hussein's regime caught working with al Qaeda since the invasion. It's hundreds of men including relatives, former VP's, IIS agents, etc.

Those are both up now at www.regimeofterror.com and I think they are important in the discussion about Saddam's possible links to al Qaeda and their prewar presence.

7/26/2007 11:18:00 AM  

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