You raise an interesting point about diverting attention from Afganistan. I think, though, that the whole 'democracy in the Middle East' thing has more to do with Palestine and Israel than it does with AQ, necessarily. I do know that Saddam supported terror and may or may not have already given WMD to groups such as AQ. The finer details will hopefully emerge soon and I am not as worried about immediacy as partisan politicians in an election cycle are. So, if you take Bitonti's line about symptoms and root causes, trying to pacify or end the Palestine-Israel conflict could do more to stop future terror than would committing 100% of US muscle in Afganistan, speaking long-term. Let's face it, AQ are just the guys that hit us, not the only dangerous ones out there.
Originally posted by Jet Set Junta@Oct 14 2003, 04:10 PM
I hate following up such a good post with a quickie, but the more the thing in Iraq goes to no satisfying conclusion or justification to me:
What if we had just committed the amount of resources we did w/ Iraq (in terms of troop count, establishing bases, etc) into Southern Afghanistan and northern Pakistan? Could 120,000 troops and the world's best military technology not have determined once and for all whether or not Bin Laden is alive and rounded up another 300-odd Al Queda scum in the process?
These are still the guys I want to see suffer for 9/11, not Iraqis. I know we still commit some troops and intelligence there, but you can't tell me 2 + 1000 - 1000 = 20. There's no way the amount of focus on Iraq isn't draining the ideal intensity of rebuilding/securing Afghanistan and locking down the idiot warlords and sympathizers on that border w/ Pakistan. And these are the guys who ARE linked to 9/11, Al-Queda, and plenty of missing weapons from Soviet Russia over the years.
I'm not so sure on Clinton and Iraq, though I think it could be possible -- which is more than most liberals OR conservatives would even think. I personally think even NADER would have invaded Afghanistan post 9/11 let alone Gore, McCain, or a 2000 Dean/Clark winner -- it was the closest thing this country has had to a real direct retaliatory invasion in 50 years when the Taliban as good as invited/dared us in.
The problem with "smoking gun" theories and remembering 9/11 comes back to the fact there was no gun used in 9/11. It was boxcutters and jet fuel. So it's not like we got 'burned' the first time around by not rooting out WMDs in third world countries. Maybe they're dying to find some, maybe they're not. But if the contention was that they were going to get supplied by Saddam in the immediate future, there has to be something there to show that in hindsight. Otherwise, there's 100 better and easier places they could get scary stuff from than a nation under UN sanctions and inspections ... places that range from Iran to Kazahkstan to who knows what African yellowcake shop (screw the middle man with his berets and flags).
I agree with your overall point that 9/11 was more than just the previous Administration being caught with their pants down. I wish more conservatives would admit that rather than making it some partisan issue and glossing over the rest of that gap between Carter's Iran crisis and Clinton's asperin factory.