Sanity Injection

Injecting a dose of sanity into your day’s news and current events.

Irony, thy name is Al-Qaeda in Iraq

Posted by sanityinjection on June 22, 2009

Al Qaeda and other Sunni extremist groups in Iraq have said all along that they are fighting to end the American occupation of Iraq. This is the excuse they use to justify their barbaric terrorist attacks not only on US soldiers but on Iraqis themselves (the lives of the innocent are equally to be sacrificed for their glorious cause.)

So, with US troops on schedule to pull out of Iraqi urban areas by June 30 as part of the larger withdrawal plan, one might logically assume that the bombings and attacks would decrease with the removal of the provocative US presence. Indeed, this has been the essence of the anti-war argument offered by Western liberals: The US is to blame for terrorism because of its presence in the Middle East, and if we would just pull out and leave the region undefended, everyone would be happy and play nice. And Al Qaeda has echoed that line of thinking in their statements, since it works to their advantage.

In fact, though, we are more likely to see an increase in terrorist attacks in Iraq accompanying the US pullback. There are two reasons for this. One is that the removal of US forces simply makes it easier for the terrorists to carry out their attacks, and it’s only natural for them to take advantage of the opportunity. But the second, and more fundamental reason, is that in fact the last thing Al Qaeda in Iraq wants is for the US to leave – because it would remove their excuse for existing there. With the US gone, Iraqis will have little sympathy for Al Qaeda attacks on Iraqis. But in fact, Al Qaeda still wants to bring down the democratic government of Iraq and replace it with an Islamofascist theocracy.

The hope of Al Qaeda and their allies is that by increasing their attacks, they will force the US to reverse its pullback and keep our troops in Iraq, so they can continue to justify their existence and kill more of us and more Iraqis. Precisely the opposite of what they claim to want.

This is important for the Western defeatists to understand. Yes, the terrorists hate the US because of our presence in the Middle East, but not because it offends them. They hate us because we are the only force that has both the capability and the will to prevent them from establishing their Muslim caliphate. If we were to shrink back into our shell and leave the Middle East, the terrorists wouldn’t pack up and go home. They would renew their struggle with greater energy, knowing that the path to victory and the religious enslavement of the Middle East was now clear.

4 Responses to “Irony, thy name is Al-Qaeda in Iraq”

  1. Tubby said

    Unfortunately, I agree with you. I feel like 10 years ago, the “offends us” reasoning would have applied. Now, you are correct, but it’s only because the terrorist beast has had time to redouble and multiply in ways we couldn’t have imagined ten years ago. My rebuttal to you would be, would you argue that our prisonning actions at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib and warring actions in Iraq have had no effect on making this terrorist beast feed on itself? I would challenge you to make this argument.

  2. No one can or should defend the abuses that occurred at Abu Ghraib. There is no question that they were a disaster as far as “winning hearts and minds” – not of the terrorists but of ordinary Iraqis. Guantanamo, on the other hand, I think is more of an issue as far as opinion here in the States is concerned. Most Muslim countries operate prisons that make Guantanamo look like a vacation resort, and their citizens know it.

    There is some validity to the idea that US projection of power creates a visible enemy or target that can serve as a rallying point for the discontented. However, I would argue that the foreign policy actions of the United States, 90 percent of the time, are secondary to the reasons why an individual chooses to become a terrorist. It’s more a question of timing.

    I believe that if the US is pursuing our national interest in ethical ways, if doing so makes people our enemies, then so be it. If we are not pursuing our national interest or not doing so in ethical ways, that is a problem regardless of whether it pisses off people in other countries or not. Ultimately our goal is not to be loved, but to be respected.

  3. tubby said

    Re: Guantanamo: That doesn’t justify its practices. The problem is that Cheney and his ilk believe that the only way to be respected as a country is to abandon any compunctions about unethical treatment of prisoners – or so it seems.

    Note: From a purely practical point of view, I don’t personally have a problem with bending the rules of engagement a bit during times of conflict. Sometimes your friendly neighborhood Jack Bauer has got to make things happen. But from a pragmatic point of view (argued above), and an ethical standpoint, you can’t really argue that these effects don’t exist. I hear you on the timing argument, but I’d bump that percentage down to 50 or 60 percent.

  4. Well, I am not generally in the habit of defending Cheney and Rumsfeld, whom I blame for most of the mistakes regarding the war and its aftermath. But I would suggest that the interrogation techniques used at Gitmo were not implemented with any thought about PR, but simply because they believed that it might make the difference in preventing imminent attacks on the USA – which supposedly it did. Whether that is justification or not can be argued. Personally I do not support waterboarding anyone (if John McCain says it’s torture, he ought to know.)

    I do agree that adhering to ethical standards makes us more respected in the world rather than less.

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