Iraq and al Qaeda: two failures

Here are two worthwhile articles in The American Conservative. “Beyond Baghdad,” by Stewart Nusbaumer, tells nothing surprising but is graphic about terrorirism. It shows how the terror insurgency is still operating at liberty in Iraq, and includes a description of the immediate aftermath of a terror attack in Anbar Province, which had supposedly been pacified by U.S. forces. “Al-Qaeda’s Waiting Game,” by Michael Scheuer, the CIA’s former top bin Laden expert, whom I do not entirely trust because I’ve always sensed a tone of anti-American schadenfreude in his writings, is nevertheless deeply sobering. He tells how al Qaeda’s ability to carry out terror attacks has not been materially damaged by our efforts. He says al Qaeda has a seven-year plan to win back Afghanistan for the Taliban and also has increasing abilities to attack America, which we, far from preventing, are facilitating with our immigration and other policies.

Ben W. writes:

Both articles concerning different regions, demonstrate what a quagmire we have gotten ourselves in—geographically and temporally.

My, my, how the Bush administration has misconceived and miscalculated in its effort to “place” democracy on the Middle East as if it were the holy city descending from heaven by divine fiat.

Ken Hechtman writes:

I don’t entirely trust Michael Scheuer either. What you see as anti-American schadenfreude, I see as disgruntled-bureaucrat-cover-your-ass. It’s this constant tone of “I predicted this and this and this at the time and you didn’t listen to me and now the sky is going to fall and you’re going to deserve it.”

In this article he talks about Al Qaeda and the Taliban planning for a seven year war. I’ve never heard the figure of seven years before and it’s just too convenient. Seven years from Sept. 2001 is a year and a bit from now—close enough to be imminent, far away enough to be plausible.

The figure I heard at the time was five years. I did a story on the Taliban’s material aid drives across Pakistan in October 2001. They were collecting huge amounts of everything from food to weapons to gold jewelry to blood plasma. Everyone involved seemed to know that the quota they were aiming at was “five years worth of supplies”. I heard that over and over again. There was even a joke that since Americans were generally only half as dumb as Russians it would only take half as long for us to figure out they couldn’t win.

Obviously the five years has come and gone. Their plan didn’t work out as well as they expected and they’re playing it by ear now. These things happen. But it’s not as dramatic to tell it that way.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at May 26, 2007 11:37 AM | Send

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