October 13, 2004


Dennis Prager asks the question:

In order to believe that the greater number of terrorists in Iraq means the invasion was a mistake, you have to believe one or both of the following -- that were it not for the invasion, the terrorists who are in Iraq would have been engaged in some peaceful work in some other country, or that they are newly minted terrorists who were perhaps selling shoes prior to the war in Iraq.

Neither scenario makes sense.

Take the leading terrorist -- the Jordanian butcher of human beings, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Everyone acknowledges he was a terrorist before the war in Iraq. In the 1990s, he spent seven years in a Jordanian prison for plotting to overthrow the government and establish an Islamic state. He then went to Germany, where he set up a terrorist cell.

So here's the question that apparently goes unasked of all the Democrats who are sure it is President Bush who lacks intelligence: What would Zarqawi be doing now if he were not slaughtering people in Iraq? Selling used cars in Amman? Playing cello in the Berlin Philharmonic?

Posted by Tim Blair at October 13, 2004 01:56 PM

Moderate Arab governments thoughout the middle and near east must be eternally grateful the Americans have attracted all the jihadist idiots into Iraq so that they can disrupt Iraq's oil exports while the Yanks kill them off, as they appear to be doing with some success, thereby driving up the price for their own undisrupted oil exports. Neat eh?

Posted by: Adolf Fiinkensein at October 13, 2004 at 02:02 PM

And the next obvious point to make: How many terrorists would have been trained in Afghanistan if the US had not invaded?

1,000? 10,000? More? And what would they be up to?

Posted by: Bruce at October 13, 2004 at 02:03 PM

Yep, it can be argued that the war in Iraq has served to concentrate terrorists and those predisposed to becoming terrorists (at least from that region) in the one place, making it easier to fight them.

I also noticed that one of the Guantanamo inmates who was released is now leading a hostage-taking guerilla movement back home in Pakistan.

As for those who complain about Australia becoming a bigger target: well, that's the price you pay for standing up to be counted in defending democracy.

It's an uncomfortable reality for the Left that our freedom was won, and is only maintained, by military might.

Posted by: Big Johnny at October 13, 2004 at 02:04 PM

what would Zarqawi be doing now ?

probably waging a guerrilla war against saddam funded by the CIA ...

Posted by: Will S at October 13, 2004 at 02:11 PM

what would Zarqawi be doing now ?

probably waging a guerrilla war against saddam funded by the CIA ...

Wow, you're pretty negative on what a President Gore would have done about Iraq.

Posted by: PW at October 13, 2004 at 02:16 PM

Surely the question is not so much what would Zarqawi and his like be doing, as what would their minions be doing?

Every society has its share of violent, psychopathic, loons - like McVeigh, Kaczynski, and Koresh in the US - and that is the kind of person who makes a terrorist leader. But leaders can't do much harm without ab army of the not-quite-so psychopathic loons, all fired up and ready to die. Why are there so many minions in Iraq at the moment?

Posted by: Alan Green at October 13, 2004 at 02:22 PM

If it wasn't for America, my guess is he would have started Iraq's first Mr Whippie icecream business - would have worn the icecream whites, the little hat, been jolly for children etc.

Shame on Bush. Shame.

Posted by: C.L. at October 13, 2004 at 02:29 PM

what would Zarqawi be doing now ?

Pickling cumquats and thinking up some one-liners for a 21st Birthday speech on Saturday.

Posted by: Fool to Himself & Burden to Others at October 13, 2004 at 03:08 PM

If you care to look back, few were arguing that there were no terrorists in Iraq. They were arguing that there was no evidence of a link between Saddam and Al Qaeda, which was one of the many reasons Bush gave to justify the invasion. I think a lot of us were against the Iraq war and suspicious of Bush's intentions on the basis of "why now?". Why invade Iraq when the job in Afghanistan - i.e. the one most important in terms of Western security - remained unfinished? So bollocks to that "you either believe this or you believe that" crap - it's an extremely ignorant critique.

We already know Bush didn't think he had enough evidence of WMDs. We also know Saddam benefitted immensely from US dollars in the Iran-Iraq war and that W's dad left the job half-finished with Kuwait liberated, but Saddam still in power at the end of Gulf War I. Saddam, incidentally, informed a US attache of his intentions to invade Kuwait and was told the US had no interest in preventing it. The UK were also still selling weapons to Saddam when they had intelligence of the Kurdish genocide. And now America has gone back to bring down the very monster it helped create. It's all VERY suspicious. I'm not saying Saddam should have stayed, but I'm not surprised there's so much anger with America over this. Over 20 years, their reckless approach to the Middle East has created far more problems than it has solved.

Posted by: Karl at October 13, 2004 at 03:22 PM

I seem to have wandered off on a tangent there. Sorry, guys. Seriously though, Zarqawi may have been a terrorist before the war, but his current pursuits ARE a direct reaction to the US presence in Iraq. Look at the US' history in Iraq - there's a couple of decades of anger stewing in the evil fuck.

I just hope America doesn't give up without finding him, which they did once with Saddam, and have so far done with Osama.

Posted by: Karl at October 13, 2004 at 03:26 PM

One more thing, then that's it. Promise.

PW, puzzled as to why you think it would be under Al Gore that the CIA would fund one side against the other. That was Reagan's tactic for Iran-Iraq. Fat lot of fucking good that did.

Posted by: Karl at October 13, 2004 at 03:31 PM

Karl, Algore is a very unoriginal thinker. He would have pinched ideas from where ever he could. Even Reagan.

Posted by: The Real JeffS at October 13, 2004 at 03:57 PM

Isn't the last 20 years what Bush has repudiated?
He stated that he wasn't going to play the one side against the side game anymore. That it had failed US foreign policy and that a new doctrine was needed.
What's the alternative then, to keep screwing it up just to be consistent?

Posted by: MOik at October 13, 2004 at 04:11 PM

Or to ask a more relevant question, why wasn't Zarqawi taken out *before* the invasion of Iraq, when he was hanging out at an obvious military target: a terrorist camp in the no-fly zone?

Posted by: Michael at October 13, 2004 at 04:21 PM

Steady on Real J - he invented the internet.

Posted by: C.L. at October 13, 2004 at 04:22 PM

Karl - they just had elections in Afghanistan, uninterupted by terrorists! The country may not be about to join the OECD but it is a vast improvement on the previous management.

And Osama has been found - by a 2000 pound GPS guided bomb in the Hindu Kush and he isn't ever coming out of hiding.

Unfortunatley I am too busy to Fisk the rest of your crap.

Posted by: Razor at October 13, 2004 at 04:24 PM


We already know Bush didn't think he had enough evidence of WMDs

Who's we? I certainly haven't heard that one.

We also know Saddam benefitted immensely from US dollars in the Iran-Iraq war

So what? We also know that Stalin benefitted greatly from having half of his trucks, tanks, airplanes and ammunition given to him by the Americans and British. Does that make their later struggle against Communist tyranny hypocritical?

W's dad left the job half-finished with Kuwait liberated, but Saddam still in power at the end of Gulf War I

Interesting take. Would you have preferred that George Bush Sr have ignored the UN resolution which simply authorised war to remove the Iraqi occupiers from Kuwait? BTW, it was more to do with the French threatening to break the coalition if the Americans did so.

now America has gone back to bring down the very monster it helped create

So America cannot have a conversion on the road to Damascus? Are the Iraqi people to be sentenced to eternity under the Ba'athist jackboot because somebody might be seen as a hypocrite?

Posted by: murph at October 13, 2004 at 04:25 PM

What's the alternative then, to keep screwing it up just to be consistent?

MOik -- Careful, I think you just described the left wingers.

Posted by: The Real JeffS at October 13, 2004 at 04:26 PM

C.L. -- my bad! I forgot that bit of history. This explains how he could identify them digital brownshirts so readily.

Posted by: The Real JeffS at October 13, 2004 at 04:28 PM

Sorry Karl, you're way off base with the "Saddam-attache" thing. First, it was the US Ambassador Saddam talked to, and she was anything but a specialist. Second, it seems to have been a classic case of two people talking past each other. Saddam seems to have felt the US would do nothing, the Ambassador felt she had assured there would be no conflict, and the bilateral Iraq-Kuwait talks to be held the next week would be the first stepping-stone to a resolution of the dispute. An intelligence and diplomatic failure, certainly, but you're a long way from proving any kind of complicity or perfidious nonchalance. Here's how crazy the situation was: Kuwait was afraid that any overt US show of support for Kuwait would actually only serve to give Saddam another reason to attack ... under the guise of pan-Arab nationalism or what have you.

By the way, if you were, as you say "suspicious of Bush's intentions", what did you think those hidden intentions were, exactly?

Posted by: Crispytoast at October 13, 2004 at 04:31 PM

Saddam, incidentally, informed a US attache of his intentions to invade Kuwait and was told the US had no interest in preventing it.

Blah, blah, blah. Yeah, and Thatcher said the same thing to the Argies because she wanted a to start a war in order to get re-elected....

Even if that *rumour* is true, so *effin'* what?

1. A US attache is neither the POTUS nor the US Congress.

2. Incompetent retards like Joe Wilson are US diplomatic attaches.

Posted by: murph at October 13, 2004 at 04:33 PM


We also know Saddam benefitted immensely from US dollars in the Iran-Iraq war

Bzzzt. Sorry Karl, Saddam spent his OWN oil money on the best weaponry France and Russia had to offer, and bankrupted his country in doing so. All the Reagan Administration did was supply him with intel on Iranian battle plans, because it looked as if the Ayatollah might actually win. That was one war the US desperately wanted to end in a draw.

Posted by: Spiny Norman at October 13, 2004 at 04:36 PM

Michael -- what's the point of your link?

Posted by: The Real JeffS at October 13, 2004 at 04:58 PM

"and that W's dad left the job half-finished with Kuwait liberated, but Saddam still in power at the end of Gulf War I"

Freudian slip? Because if YOU think the job was half-finished, why do you have a problem with W finishing it?

Look, Iraq was trying to shoot down US and UK planes over the no fly zone from the minute they were established. For some reason the loony left thinks its ok to try and kill US and UK pilots!

Iraq was paying a 25,000 bounty to the families of suicide bombers.

IMHO those 2 reasons alone were enough to knock him off. Let alone the mass murders, the WMD programs, the wars against his neighbours, sancuary for Abu Nidal, sanctuary for Al Ansar - Al Islam, the payoffs to France and Russia and China etc etc.

Its too bad the French were bribed and threatened Turkey's EU membership so the 4th ID couldn't sweep down and kill as many nutjobs on the way to Baghdad as the Marines and the 3rd ID did.

Posted by: Bruce at October 13, 2004 at 05:03 PM

JeffS, if not for the obsession with invading Iraq, perhaps Zarqawi would now be nothing but scattered ashes in the desert, courtesy of a well-targeted airstrike.

Instead, he is blowing people up, while the US blows up civilian buildings all around him in a pretence of being "strong on terror".

Posted by: Michael at October 13, 2004 at 05:05 PM

I don't follow where US money helped Saddam. Saddam was never an American client and was not a monster that the US created. The US had poor to relations with Ba'athist Iraq ever since the 70s. Things marginally improved during the 80s mainly because no one wanted to see a victory by Iran, who was a top supporter of terrorism during the 80s and a country trying to export a violent totalitarian revolution. During this time Saddam used money from oil and loans from Arab governments, France, and Russia to fund the war.

As for the link between al Qaeda and Saddam, I certainly don't think there was any sort of tactical cooperation, but I do suspect there was a financial relationship simply because al Qaeda's tactical goals lined up quite well with Saddam's tactical goals, and Saddam is clearly clever enough to understand that he will never escape sanctions and containment unless there is a lethal pressure applied against the US that could be construed as a protest against US policies against Iraq. Such pressure would have to untraceable to Iraq, otherwise it would definitely invite retaliation. Al Qaeda's fatwa calling for war against the US included several complaints/demands that if the US were to capitulate to would immensely benefit Saddam. Although the carnage generated by al Qaeda's attacks reflects the contempt bin Laden and al Qaeda has for non-Arabs and non-Muslims, they certainly did have political and tactical goals they wanted to achieve. They wanted a retreat by the US. Al Qaeda's existance and continued prosperity even after bin Laden apparently used up most of his inheritance and after they were forced from Sudan is awfully convenient for Saddam.

This is why the Oil-for-Food scandal is fundamentally important to the US. Obviously, Saddam was trying the buy friends off with the proceeds, and needed funds to maintain his conventional weapons base as well as maintain WMD research capabilities. But the other reason why it is important is because it allowed Saddam to gain access to a lot of hard currency, which he was not supposed to have. The question I have is did any of that money find its way to terrorists. Obviously some of that money found its way to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers, but no one cared. The question is did any of it find its way to al Qaeda. The fact of the matter is that we probably never figure out whether this is true or not simply because it would be too easy for some unknown courier to take a briefcase of money to Pakistan or Iran and cross over to Afghanistan and give the money to an al Qaeda operative.

Posted by: ATM at October 13, 2004 at 05:10 PM

Some fucking pretence - 3 countries, yes, count them - Afghanistan, Libya and Iraq, are no longer havens for terrorists.

And Michael - do you really believe that the US pilots are trying to miss the fucker?

Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps - all sing along now. . .

And perhaps I'll be the next Bill Gates, because you certainly won't. Although I'd settle for Warren Buffet.

Posted by: Razor at October 13, 2004 at 05:15 PM

Iraq isn't a haven for terrorists? So you mean Zarqawi *has* reformed and opened his own fashion store selling an exciting range of designer label burqas?

Posted by: Michael at October 13, 2004 at 05:18 PM

(I love the way you keep parrotting the "Al Gore invented the internet" fake quote, too. It's just like those silly journalists and Bush's plastic turkey! This piece of crapulence was debunked years ago, and yet you still flog it off at every opportunity. Bloody marvellous).

Posted by: Michael at October 13, 2004 at 06:04 PM

I hardly think I was advocating that Bush keep screwing it up to be consistant. I think it's great Saddam's not in power now. Getting rid of him was a good move, but I felt that doing it in the middle of a completely different conflict in Afghanistan and slapping the "War on Terror" label on it to keep everyone happy was a little strange - great for Iraq (if a little late), terrible for Afghanistan and the prospects of catching Bin Laden. Even looking at Afghanistan though, it's still Bush putting right past errors (in this case, not paying serious enough attention to Al Qaeda despite warnings from the former administration). Bugger it's hot. I'm going home.

Posted by: Karl at October 13, 2004 at 06:24 PM

I would recommend the book "Charlie Wilson's War" by George Crile, to look at the attitude of the CIA during the Iran-Iraq war. They didn't give Saddam any more information than could help him level the playing field. They did it so he could continue killing hundreds of thousands of Islamic Militants from Iran, waste the best and brightest of his own people, squander time and energy he could have spent conquering his neighbors, and delay his and Iran's quest for the Bomb. Job well done.

Besides, I think it's a noble cause that Zarqawi is leading. He lets his brave young fighters attack the Coalition forces, with no training, no over-arching scheme, and no hope of survival. Sounds good to me. The more of these souls that get sent to the great beyond, the fewer there are that will be around to think of effective ways of killing our troops, or our civillians at home.

Posted by: ronin72 at October 13, 2004 at 06:42 PM

> Saddam was never an American client and was
> not a monster that the US created.

Says the anonymous poster. But I've read that Saddam first appeared on the CIA payroll in 1959. At that point the youngster was known mostly for political gossip and torturing dogs with fire.

Posted by: Cridland at October 13, 2004 at 06:48 PM

No one seems to want to apply thought to the notion of the US and the Ba'athists working together. As for the late 1950's, why would the US replace a friendly British appointed Monarch, part of the anti-Soviet Baghdad Pact (CENTO), and cool with Western oil interests, with a thug who nationalises the oil, and gets cozy with the Russians.

Karl, you seem to be under the impression that alll that's needed for success in Afghanistan is massive deployments. If so, explain this, why did massive deployments fail for the British and the Soviets?

Does America have magic fairy dust that means anything can work with more troops?

Posted by: Sheriff at October 13, 2004 at 07:27 PM


Please forward one crate of "Karl's American Magic Fairy Dust" to Bagram, AF - c/o TF Eagle. I will ensure it is sprinkled over every one of our patrols that go off base and aircraft that fly support missions. Then when we get more troops, we will really kick some butt. Thanks!

Oh, and in my quite unofficial opinion, UBL is Vulture Chow - not even Al-Jezeera has managed to produce a tape in how long? That was one dude that could never resist saying "Nyah, Nyah, you missed me."

Posted by: Major John at October 13, 2004 at 09:10 PM

Where the Zarkawi??

Posted by: jlchydro at October 13, 2004 at 10:54 PM
What would Zarqawi be doing now if he were not slaughtering people in Iraq?

He would probably be at Berkeley as a postgraduate student in Gay and Lesbian Studies writing his PhD dissertation "Transgender Whales -I Feel Their Pain."

Posted by: Clem Snide at October 13, 2004 at 11:32 PM

The US created the monster Saddaam because that's the only place monsters are ever created. See a monster? The US did it. Only we have the capacity. Those benighted brown folk surely can't do it by themselves.
The war in Afghanistan is hardly handicapped by the lack of a couple of armored divisions. The US effort there needs the Fourth ID about as much as the Navy does. Calling the Iraq effort a diversion indicates either ignorance or a desire to mislead.
Creating terrorists is easy. When an infidel lifts his arm to ward off a blow from a Muslim, he has committed a horrid crime against Islam, and ten thousand warriors of jihad rise in their righteous wrath, genuinely thinking their religion has been the subject of a deadly and unforgiveable insult which can only be relieved by the murder of a large number of infidels.
Besides which, when an infidel breathes, he's warring against Islam.
Now, being nice means weakness and deserves the contempt of all desert princes and heirs of Saladin, and requires the conquest of such wimps.
This is a different way of thinking, folks.
One of those new paradigm thingies people are always talking about.

Posted by: Richard Aubrey at October 13, 2004 at 11:55 PM

Michael, if you read that article, ignore that last (clearly biased) paragraph, Bush did not go after Zarqawi because he thought that would screw up the invasion of Iraq.

Now, you see that as a mistake. I don't. We've tried bombing specific targets before -- if the targeting is accurate, the support structure is still in place, and the terrorists go somewhere else. It's a good bet that Zarqawi had contingency plans for exactly that reason.

Bush elected to go after the national support necessary for any terrorist group. This is the difference between strategic objectives and appeasing short sighted fools.

Posted by: The Real JeffS at October 14, 2004 at 12:40 AM

Iraq isn't a haven for terrorists? So you mean Zarqawi *has* reformed and opened his own fashion store selling an exciting range of designer label burqas?

Learn the difference between "battleground" and "haven" and you will not make ignorant statements like that. Might as well declare Stalingrad a "haven" for Nazis.

(Or heck, just whine about the "horrid costs" of invading Iraq and then demand why we didn't invade North Korea.)

Posted by: Patrick Chester at October 14, 2004 at 03:10 AM

Mr. Blair, I tend to think of 'honeypot' Iraq as a clever culling of the terrorist rank and file - much akin to those police stings we occasionally hear about wherein the cops call soon-to-be-nabbed criminals to come collect various prizes - only on a global scale.

If this is as I increasingly suspect to be the case, it's a brilliant strategic move on the part of our "vulgar" and "shallow" "warmonger" leadership.

In one fell swoop, the coalition of the willing has managed to draw the terrorist inclined of the Islamofascist world into an irresistable regional trap.

A many layered sticky-trap...

First of all the two recent liberations have bracketed Iran and given the mullahs coherent notice of potential consequences of the type they can respect on two of their borders, whilst at the same time drawing a consequential noose first around greater Iraq, and then ever tighter around the Sunni Triangle...Now that noose is tightening still more - insurgent stronghold by militant town - onto Fallujah where the residents of these ever-shrinking Baathist-Islamist nexus points are increasingly losing their sympathy for the "insurgents" and "militants" so beloved of the cognitively dissonant suicide humpers of the Ummah and the militant-happy western elites.

By God! I love my Illuminati master puppeteers!

Besides setting the fromage that is currently attracting Islamist rats and the more ballsy of their sympathic fleas into what they (and the west's appeasnic chattering class) thought was their trap, the coalition's trap is sprung and the hammer is aimed squarely at the "militant's" heads wherein highly-armed coalition troops are busily mowing down all those supposedly "newly minted" terrorists. Militants who're even now still flocking to their ultimate doom in Iraq.

The Bushitler McChimpmoron and his supposedly "inadequate" coalition are engaged in this great cull (turkey shoot) on it's own terms and in the very heart of terrorville whilst increasingly enjoying the active aid of hundreds of thousands of newly minted freedom loving Iraqis who have been given the opportunity to realize that they now hold in their possession the motivation and the means to keep their eyes on an achievable democratic prize.

I suspect that the grand strategists of the WoT are - contrary to popularized media perception - actually banking on the fact that the liberation of Iraq mints even more of the terrorist-minded from among Islam's "militant" class of neofascists.

As President Bush said - "bring them on". The President's opponents still don't seem to understand that he tends to mean what he says. He doesn't just blow rhetorical [Kerryesque] smoke rings for political gain.

The subliminal wall of irrational reality hatred that has served to protect terrorist enablers and the ego's of the collective's fatally flawed worldview is already showing signs cracking.

Who would have thought that our coalition warplanners were such accomplished multi-tasking Aikido masters as to conceive of using the terrorist's own "momentum" and motivations in order to draw them so willingly to their own doom?

Hint...Certainly not our chattering 'progressive' 'intellectual elite' 'betters' who've been far too busy examining the fecal minutiae of domestic colons to notice that they've been harnessed by "evildoers" and bested by a Harvard MBA holding "moron" with a knack for surrounding himself with Ameri-can-doers.

I suspect that President Bush's reelection may prove to be the proverbial straw that breaks the limp pacifist cartilage that has previously pretended to stand as proxy for western spine.

Overall, not bad for a retarded, nuance-deprived moron chimp and his coterie of the "coerced and bribed"...Not bad at all.

Back to my rum.

Posted by: monkey fan at October 14, 2004 at 10:42 AM