Tuesday, September 9, 2003
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Links for the day
Will Saletan and Andrew Sullivan are having a debate on Bush's Sunday speech and whether Operation Iraqi Freedom is integral to the war on terror. As loyal readers are aware, I'm mostly on Saletan's side here, but not completely.
The Chicago Tribune has a good front-pager on U.S. efforts to build a modern highway between Kabul and Kandahar. According to the story, the effort has already reduced the travelling time between the two cities from two days to ten hours. When it's finished, the time will be shaved to six hours.
Oh, and everyone at OxBlog seems to have stopped moving around and started posting again. Always worth a read.
The pre-war links between Iraq and Al Qaida were greatly exaggerated, particularly in comparison with countries such as Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. The attempt to roll up the Iraq operation into the protective cover of 9/11 is a politically convenient way of putting to rest any questions among the less discerning populace as to why we got into this mess in the first place. Going further up the intellectual food chain, this other idea that we invaded Iraq as a fist step toward democratizing the Middle East is also looking increasingly naive and ill-considered.
I think almost everyone agrees that, now that we have begun this operation, the stakes are very high. I also note that the fact that we are going back to the U.N. shows that this operation has a fairly high risk of failure. It seems to me that undertaking a high-stakes, high-risk operation that was ultimately unnecessary is indicative of a major strategic blunder.
It's about time "OxBlog" got back to the plow.
I'm tired of the travel diaries.
Jetting here. Jetting there. Jetting ... just everywhere.
Wake me when they land and only if they have something important to read.posted by: Michael on 09.09.03 at 11:39 AM [permalink]
As to the link between Iraq and al-Qaeda, it is only a little abstract. Josh Marshall said this, in the course of describing the neocon case for invading Iraq:
All of that changed after September 11. Suddenly the prospect of Saddam slipping a dirty bomb to terrorists to blow up in, say, Milwaukee, didn't seem so far-fetched. It also became clear that our efforts to contain Saddam--sanctions that wound up hurting Iraqi civilians, U.S. troops on Saudi soil--were ideal recruitment tools for Osama bin Laden.
It is not strictly relevant whether Saddam planned 9/11. Three of the Arab world's major grievances with America are US troops in Saudi Arabia, Iraqi kids dying from sanctions, and US support for the Israelis over the Palestinians.
Saddam was directly connected to two, and tangentially related to the third.posted by: Tom Maguire on 09.09.03 at 11:39 AM [permalink]
By now, the *more discerning populace* understands that the existence of long-standing liaison between Saddam and both Bin Laden and Al-Jawahiri is a well-established fact. The erroneous notion that Saddam was implicated in the WTC attack is devoid of relevance. This war on islamofascism is not analogous to the Crips doing a retaliatory drive-by shooting on the Bloods. As to *the mess we are in* I wonder if there ever has been a war that wasn't a mess. The fact that virtually the entire Pacific Fleet was riding at anchor in Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 was a royal mess. So was the destruction of an entire group of Troop Carrier Command C-47s by US naval gunners in the invasion of Sicily, which wiped out an entire battalion of airborne troops. So what? We were in the winners' circle when it ended. That was a signal achievement even though Roosevelt and Marshall and Eisenhower had failed to plan for Stalin's postwar treachery.posted by: John Van Laer on 09.09.03 at 11:39 AM [permalink]
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