If the Iraq war is meant to fight terrorism, then we're losing the war on terror. Not that that should surprise anyone. Choosing to go to war in Iraq had as much to do with fighting terrorism as attacking China would've with Pearl Harbor -- roughly same part of the world, the people kinda-sorta look the same, close enough.
But making Iraq the 'central' war of two seems to be backfiring. Turns out that close enough isn't good enough.
AMY GOODMAN: [...] Paul Cruickshank is co-author of the new study, "The Iraq Effect: The War in Iraq and its Impact on the War on Terrorism." He's a research fellow with the Center on Law and Security at New York University School of Law. Welcome to Democracy Now!
PAUL CRUICKSHANK: Good morning.
AMY GOODMAN: Summarize your findings, Paul.
PAUL CRUICKSHANK: Well, you know, the Bush administration has argued that the war in Iraq has sort of diverted jihadists to Iraq, a bit like moths to a flame. Our study suggests that if Iraq is a flame, it’s a flame which has reignited a global jihad. We find a 607% increase in fatal jihadist attacks around the world, a 237% increase in fatalities. Outside Afghanistan and Iraq, the two major hotspots for jihadist terrorism, there has been a 35% increase in jihadist attacks, and there’s been a 25% increase in attacks on Western targets since the war in Iraq. So we’ve seen quite remarkable rises in jihadist terrorism in the period after the war in Iraq.
We have a 600% increase in terrorist attacks and we're supposed to believe this is working? As a front on the war on terror, Iraq is a total bust. Not that that really surprises those of us who were critical of the war from the gitgo. If your approach to fighting a problem involves attacking nations that aren't part of that problem, you're pretty much giving the people causing the problem a pass. We're not fighting terrorism, we're fighting insurgents and militias. We're told that we have to 'fight them over there, so we don't have to fight them over here' -- but why on Earth would iraqi insurgents and militias want to fight a civil war on the streets of Milwaukee or Boise? How does that argument make any sense at all? Violence in Iraq isn't caused by terrorists trying to take over the world, it's caused by iraqis fighting over Iraq.
The whole thing's a complete disaster. In fact, according to former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, it's the worst foreign policy disaster in US history.
"I think that Iraq is going to go down in history as the greatest disaster in American foreign policy because we have lost the element of the goodness of American power and we have lost our moral authority," she said.
"The job of the next president will be to restore the goodness of American power," she said.
Our future president will be a janitor, cleaning up the foreign policy mess left by George W. Bush. The world has lost the respect it once had for the US and dicking around on a snipe hunt in Iraq has actually allowed terrorists to flourish.
It's looking like this 'central front' makes as much sense strategically as it does linguistically -- none at all. The Bush administration talks about terrorism a lot, but they don't seem to be very interested in doing anything about it. They'd rather fight remain committed to their mistakes -- damn the consequences.
Technorati tags: politics; war; Bush; neocon; foreign policy; disaster; by making Iraq the 'central front' in the War on Terror, we're ignoring actual terrorism