June 17, 2004

PACING

I've received input from several people lately about the War in Iraq vs. the War on Terror. The common sentiment was that the War on Terror is good and necessary but that Iraq didn't figure into it. They said that we should have focused on areas of terrorism other than Iraq, such as Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, or Iran. They believe that taking the war to Iraq was a waste of time and energy and had no real connection to the War on Terror.

I was reminded of their common idea when I read this post today, where David quotes Nelson Ascher:

There were many reasons to invade Iraq, from the WMDs that are being slowly found to Saddam’s links to Al Qaeda, links about which what we know is already enough to be considered a casus belli. Obviously, with time we’ll know more about both things. But the geo-strategic reasons were even more important: after all Iraq has borders with Syria, Saudi Arabia and Iran, none of which could have been invaded as easily, quickly and legitimately. Besides, Iraq was a good place from were to scare other governments in the region, that is, the pour encourager les autres factor.

Yes, Iraq is strategic. It gets us a lot closer to other terror-supporting states, and a democracy in the middle of these other states will make a big difference. But there are many reasons for extending the War on Terror to Iraq. Let's not ever forget that part of the reason for invading Iraq was because Hussein had not done what he was supposed to do after the Gulf War, as QandO has laid out in detail in Justification: A Post-War Review. The fact that large quantities of WMDs have not been found (nevermind that we found sarin-filled IEDs or that the UN admits Hussein shipped weapons out on the eve of war) cannot possibly rewrite history enough to hide the fact that everyone thought Iraq had WMDs. Iraq seemed to be a bigger threat than perhaps she turned out to be, but that's hindsight we didn't have before.

Yes, I do think we need to continue to focus on Afghanistan, and we are: many of my students are already slated to head to Afghanistan at the end of the year. I do think that Iran and Syria are in the plans for the future, that is if President Bush is re-elected and continues to take the War on Terror seriously. Their uppance will come. As Instapundit said, "this is a marathon, not a sprint, and pacing is required."

When the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, we went to war against Germany. They seem unrelated when you put it that way, right? Was WWII Also Unjustified? Military strategy is a complicated process, and this War on Terror will take years. Many people seem to think that they could do a better job of leading the troops and our government, but I am not one of those people. For all the mocking he endures, the President is not stupid. In no way do I think I'm smarter than he, or Rice or Rumsfeld; they know far more about the intricacies of the War on Terror than I ever will. I think it's a tad arrogant of these people who have voiced their opinions to me lately to think that they know better than our leaders which countries warrant our attention over others. Just because we read a few articles doesn't mean we are privy to everything our leaders know.

I have faith that our leaders have spent far more hours than I have studying our options, and I trust that this War will be fought on several fronts for years to come. Pacing is required.

Posted by: Sarah at 02:34 AM | Comments (20) | Add Comment
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1 Sarah, just a quick reminder, when Dec 7 happened and Roosevelt declared war on Japan on Dec 8, Germany by way of a pact with Japan DECLARED WAR ON THE U.S.!!!! Otherwise we would have had a damned hard time justifying interceding in the european theater. As for your comment that you don't think you're smarter than the president, I bet you got something better than the 1.67 GPA I have seen mentioned he had @ Yale. (I have only seen this once, and have not been able to find it again, so the veracity is in doubt) I would like to re-iterate a few facts for your readership, of the 19 hi-jackers involved in Sept 11, 15 were Saudi nationals, absolutely NONE were Iraqi. So we divert attention from Afghanistan to invade a soveriegn nation?? A nation I would remind you that had nothing to do with the attacks of Sept 11. I think large scale military action is nearly useless in fighting terror, we need better intelligence, closer work with the leaders of the nations that have these terror cells in them, and to use the military might in small scale elite force actions. (Think the Israeli's @ Entebbe Airport) You may disagree, but that is my take on how we should be prosecuting this "war" from my experience in the Air Force.

Posted by: Bubba Bo Bob Brain at June 17, 2004 03:44 AM (4pVZJ)

2 P.S. You still have faith in our leaders? I sure don't anymore as that little matter called Watergate is still a vivid memory, you know that "scandal" where Milhous (whom I admired for his intellect) tried like hell to subvert the constitution on the U.S.?

Posted by: Bubba Bo Bob Brain at June 17, 2004 03:54 AM (4pVZJ)

3 In my opinion, GPA is not an indicator of intelligence; it's more an indicator of "being good at school". I graduated with a 3.93, and I don't consider myself to be all that smart.

Posted by: Sarah at June 17, 2004 03:57 AM (4xLPl)

4 And, for the record, I trusted President Clinton when he said he hadn't had sex with that woman. He broke my heart when he lied.

Posted by: Sarah at June 17, 2004 04:04 AM (4xLPl)

5 So the war in Iraq is justified because it's "close" to countries responsible for 9/11.... Well, I'm from Canada, so I hope the newly born terrorists in Iraq don't have that same mentality if they ever try to retaliate against the U.S. Also, I think that until we start thinking of terrorists as actual people with motives and reasons, and until we actually address those motives and reasons, terror and the War on Terror (as it now seems to be capitalized) will go on indefinately, no matter how many different countries are bombed to pieces.

Posted by: J at June 17, 2004 04:24 AM (5gN2v)

6 So, since Germany declared war on the US, thats why the first troops we used were in Africa and Italy, and not Germany. Shouldn't we have just parachuted directly into Berlin to be justified, and left all other countries out of the conflict? This constant theme that this war is only about getting someone back for 9/11 is idiotic and blatantly false. The war is about ending the production of terrorists and the use of those tactics to push a political agenda by eliminating the corrupt regimes that produce them. Iraq was just another strategic battle. It is not the end, nor it should not be. If Iraq is the end of the war, then we have lost. It is indisputable that Iraq fostered terrorists across the board. Whether or not he signed the checks that bought plane tickets for 9/11 is irrellevant. Saudi's were used by Bin Laden because he wants to bring down the Saudi regime as well, and what better way than to focus the blame where he wants it focused? Seems alot of people have bought that bit of strategic thinking. Wasn't there another president in recent history who was supposed to have been dumb as a post for his eight years in office, but history has shown how great his impact was on the whole world? Jimmy Carter was a nuclear engineer, yet his was one of the most disastrous presidencies last century. Degrees and GPA's do not translate into automatic success. Strength and willingness to lead, even when the decision is unpopular, have a greater impact than what grades one got in school 30 years ago. Asking the governments of countries who have terrorists camps in their midst to combat them is nice. But what do you do when they say they are doing so on one hand, while on the other they are providing support to the very same groups? You cannot just use commando tactics for assassinating certain people. Both large and small scale tactics are needed. Including removing the offending government. And yes, better intelligence is the key, but how to get that intelligence when we can't even use a minor thing like humiliation of terrorists to elicit information?

Posted by: John at June 17, 2004 04:43 AM (crTpS)

7 OMFG..... "Also, I think that until we start thinking of terrorists as actual people with motives and reasons, and until we actually address those motives and reasons, terror and the War on Terror (as it now seems to be capitalized) will go on indefinately, no matter how many different countries are bombed to pieces." Of course they are people. They are people who want to kill you, your neighbor, your unborn grandchildren. Why? It isn't because the US uses alot of oil, it is because they are islamists who are trying to dominate the entire world because their religion tells them that it is what their god demands. How do you reason with a religious fanatic who has as his ultimate goal your death, as well as everyone who isn't a muslim. Why don't you just become a muslim and that way you won't be killed. Just like all the muslims in Saudi, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Egypt, the Palestinian territories, Spain, Indonesia... etc... who haven't been killed by terrorist bombs. "So the war in Iraq is justified because it's "close" to countries responsible for 9/11.... " See my prior comments strategry...... And by all means, keep your head in the sand. You might not hear the AK-47 aimed at you when they come to shoot you too.

Posted by: John at June 17, 2004 04:54 AM (crTpS)

8 Duh.... "See my prior comments on strategery...." is what I meant to say. Being a Canadian will not shield you. If the US withdraws every soldier and citizen from all parts of the world, stops using oil, gives away all its money, and provides free medical care to the world, do you really think that peace will suddenly envelope the globe? They hate the 'West'. Which to them means any and all liberal democratic societies. That is what they want to destroy, read what they say. It isn't like it is hidden, or secret.

Posted by: John at June 17, 2004 05:01 AM (crTpS)

9 bah, this stupidity about strategery is pissing me off. First of all, the rationale for war was non-compliance with resolution 1441. Since this non-compliance was supposed to be judged by the UNSC, but wasn't, this was an illegal war, as was also stated by Richard Perle, Hans Blix and a host of UN lawyers. (Yeah, yeah, screw the UN, I know). 2. "WMD's that are slowly being found" is a load of crap. The sarin-grenades were leftovers from the Iran-Iraq war and not part of an ongoing WMD-program. No one that was part of the hunt for WMD (David Kay, UNMOVIC) believes they'll find anything anymore. By the way, the World Tribune article is a gross misrepresentation of what UNMOVIC said about the Iraqi materials found overseas. Please stop swallowing crap supplied by oncorrigable war-hawks and do some of your own reasearch. 3. "Iraq-Al Quaida links" are close to non-existent (don't you people read the news?), which is in stark contrast to links between Al Qaida and many other countries, including US allies (Pakistan, Saudi Arabia). 4. Drawing WOII parallels is just so incredibly ignorant I don't even know where to start. Parachuting into Berlin? There was this little thing about a Third Reich, you know. 5. Which brings me to the final point. Invading a secular state, which was at best minor player in anti-US/Israel terrorism led to pissing off generations of Arabs, greatly increasing Al-Qaida recruitment and leaving the US army incapable to strike a real threat effectively. 6. The WoT is not a war between countries, it's a war between the forces of moderacy and the forces of extremism. Waging a dumb war like in Iraq only increases extremism and is therefore by far the dumbest strategery I've seen in my life. --- That's also why I find Sarah's naiveté dangerous. Despite all the facts contary to this administration's assertions, she continues to trust their insight, because she believes they're smarter than she is. But smart men make mistakes, smart men deceive, smart men lie. A docile populace is all that it takes for such men to thoroughly screw their country. [/end rant]

Posted by: Sander at June 17, 2004 10:06 AM (9v8mw)

10 Do you think people have the right to fight against an oppressive regime? If so do the Saudi people have the right to fight against the regime that is oppressing them?

Posted by: s at June 17, 2004 10:07 AM (AmfhK)

11 The invasion of Iraq is a continuation of the Gulf War. It is something that should have been done much earlier, preferably in 1991. Unfortunately, Bush 41 agreed to do what the UN wanted and stopped. In retrospect, that was a huge mistake. Yet some still want Bush 43 to "go to the UN", even though they chastise his father for doing just that. Doesn't make sense to me. Clinton had several opportunities, but politics intervened. Iraq is the ideal spot to hit first. We could not hit Saudi Arabia first because of logistics. And if you are concerned about gas prices now, imagine what they would be if we had hit the Saudis intitially. They are on the military hit list, I can assure you. But the State Department is full of people hoping to retire on Saudi money, and who want diplomacy (with all its abuses and failures) to succeed. Strategically, Iraq is ideal. A representative government in the middle of the mess that is the Middle East puts pressure on Syria, Iran, and Saudi Arabia, not to mention Jordan and the Palestinians. Make no mistake about it. They understand, and will do everything they can to destabilize the country. Syria, in particular, has a stake in Iraq. There has already been at least one strike planned against Syria, but not carried out. There will be more, and Assad knows this. Iraq can be the ideal base for quick strikes anywhere necessary in the area. And the withdrawl of forces from Saudi Arabia now gives us more freedom to operate, including in Saudi Arabia. First of all, the rationale for war was non-compliance with resolution 1441. Since this non-compliance was supposed to be judged by the UNSC, but wasn't, this was an illegal war, as was also stated by Richard Perle, Hans Blix and a host of UN lawyers. (Yeah, yeah, screw the UN, I know). 1441 does, in fact, say there will be "dire consequences" for failure to comply. Actually, it was unnecessary because the original cease-fire agreement gave authority to any nation to take action if Saddam didn't comply.

Posted by: Mike at June 17, 2004 11:46 AM (cFRpq)

12 Wow, two links to me in a single post? I'm deeply honored.

Posted by: CavalierX at June 17, 2004 01:11 PM (R9DSb)

13 Mike, do you believe that a pro-American democratically chosen government will be installed in the next few years and do you believe the positive effect of this outweighs that of the increased recruitment of terrorists in the same period (plus that of last year). If you reject either of these premises, strategery has failed. 1441 does, in fact, say there will be "dire consequences" for failure to comply. Actually, it was unnecessary because the original cease-fire agreement gave authority to any nation to take action if Saddam didn't comply.Please cite a lawyer of an international body who claims this. Since resolution 687 has no enforcement mechanism, violation of this resolution is not a legal pretext for war. If it did, then as you say, Iraq was fair game for any country, which of course be unacceptable for the UNSC.

Posted by: Sander at June 17, 2004 01:17 PM (9v8mw)

14 And lawyers are now relevant in international relations because...? 1441 says: "Recalling that its resolution 678 (1990) authorized Member States to use all necessary means to uphold and implement its resolution 660 (1990) of 2 August 1990 and all relevant resolutions subsequent to resolution 660 (1990) and to restore international peace and security in the area. "Further recalling that its resolution 687 (1991) imposed obligations on Iraq as a necessary step for achievement of its stated objective of estoring international peace and security in the area," I guess a lawyer could parse that however he liked.

Posted by: Mike at June 17, 2004 02:43 PM (YyIUS)

15 There's been a substantial body of expert opinion diametrically opposed to the invasion of Iraq. Interestingly, many of these same experts were also opposed to the previous administration's botching of both domestic terrorism and international terrorism policy. It's not black and white, nor are the professionals in terrorism studies political partisans. And a useful point to bear in mind is that Saddam had (past tense) chemical weapons capability. He never had biological or nuclear capability. But Iraq was disarmed by the combined actions of the UN, the Clinton administration and the Brits. Operation Desert Fox was the end of it. But it was not the end of the uncertainty. Those aren't the same things. So, credit where credit is due: Clinton, not Bush, disarmed Saddam.

Posted by: Warbaby at June 17, 2004 03:46 PM (IyXOG)

16 "So, since Germany declared war on the US, thats why the first troops we used were in Africa and Italy, and not Germany. Shouldn't we have just parachuted directly into Berlin to be justified, and left all other countries out of the conflict?" First off, I have to agree with the poster who said WW2 parallels are ignorant... I'd go on to call them wishful thinking for those who need to believe that what's going on now means something. BUT, in response to the above quote, the reason Northern Africa and Italy were attacked first was because they were controlled by Germany, and the only route to Berlin before D-Day. The same cannot be said for Iraq. The bordered land known as 'Iraq' doesn't control people we consider terrorists, and is therefore not a route to ending terrorism. (If anything, the recent actions there only look like they've stirred up more anti-American resentment. Something the world really doesn't need more of.) This isn't a war that can be one by taking over lands - that's as silly as fighting a War on Poverty by bombing ghettos. "How do you reason with a religious fanatic who has as his ultimate goal your death, as well as everyone who isn't a muslim." Change that last word to Christian and that's who most Iraqis probably feel about Bush right now. It's all a little game that isn't going to end until minds and hearts are changed, on both sides.

Posted by: J at June 17, 2004 04:30 PM (5gN2v)

17 >The bordered land known as 'Iraq' doesn't >control people we consider terrorists I'm just going to go out on a limb here and assume that you're trying to say that Iraq had no ties to terrorists. In that case, I invite you to read Saddam's Philanthropy of Terror for enlightenment on that point.

Posted by: CavalierX at June 17, 2004 11:54 PM (sA6XT)

18 >Change that last word to Christian and that's >who most Iraqis probably feel about Bush right >now. It's the "probably" that gives away the fact that this is how YOU feel about the President. Don't project your personal hatreds and prejudices onto the Iraqi people, if you don't mind.

Posted by: CavalierX at June 17, 2004 11:56 PM (sA6XT)

19 I'm not real keen on the World Tribune. Yes, there's always the possibility that they have a scoop, but their track record isn't particularly good. For a good deconstruction of the World Trib article, look at Jim Henley's Unqualified Offerings. (Jim's not exactly a standard-bearer for the media elite.) http://www.highclearing.com/archivesuo/week_2004_06_13.html#005423

Posted by: Darkwater at June 19, 2004 11:44 PM (rKvtT)

20 Just for the record J, it was sarcasm about parachuting into Germany. And, didn't you just do what you excoriated? Defining the current war under WWII terms? As you say, and I was illustrating, they are not the same. However, all wars involve different circumstances and not just one battle. Iraq is a battle in a war, not a war unto itself. The difference between Christians and Muslims here is that Christians aren't using suicide bombs strapped to humans and in cars to blow up civilians at random. Unless you have a few incidents to cite......

Posted by: John at June 20, 2004 10:13 PM (crTpS)

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