It’s Al-Qaeda Stupid

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General Myers testified to Congress yesterday where he told them that the enemy is Al-Qaeda…duh. Guess that was a surprise to Rowan Scarborough of the Washington Times:

Gen. Abizaid raised the stakes for Iraq by presenting a chilling assessment of al Qaeda’s worldwide goals. He said leader Osama bin Laden’s sights are set on Iraq and Saudi Arabia, and then the entire region, as well as Asia.

Although the Bush administration describes the conflict as the “war on terror,” Gen. Abizaid made clear the enemy is al Qaeda.

“Their objectives are very clear,” Gen. Abizaid said. “They believe in a jihad, a jihad, first and foremost, to overthrow the legitimate regimes in the region. But in order to do that, they have to first drive us from the region. This is what they believe. They believe, ultimately, that the greatest prize of all is Saudi Arabia and the holy shrines there.”

He said the war against Zarqawi’s al Qaeda in Iraq, and al Qaeda worldwide, presents “a rare opportunity to get in front of these extremists and focus on them now before al Qaeda and its underlying ideology becomes mainstream.”

Um, helloooooo? Where has this guy been? He says chilling like he has never heard that Al-Qaeda has evil plans. Where does the MSM find these guys?

Do people out there really not understand the goal of Al-Qaeda?

One thing about the Generals statement I want to draw attention to is this:

He said the war against Zarqawi’s al Qaeda in Iraq, and al Qaeda worldwide, presents “a rare opportunity to get in front of these extremists and focus on them now before al Qaeda and its underlying ideology becomes mainstream.”

Recall that by 1936 the world could see signs of where Germany was heading. Europe waited until 1939 to do something about it and it took until 1945 and millions of lives to get it done. But had we stopped it in 1936….

We have a chance of disabling this evil empire call Al-Qaeda here and now.

But just remember when you see a “peace” activist saying give peace a chance, that was tried with Hitler and look where it got the world.

Bradley Graham at the Washington Post has an excellent article about how Al-Qaeda is supplanting the Iraqi terrorists with their own:

BAGHDAD, Iraq ? The top U.S. military intelligence officer in Iraq said Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and his foreign and Iraqi associates have essentially commandeered the insurgency, becoming the dominant opposition force and the greatest immediate threat to U.S. objectives in the country.

“I think what you really have here is an insurgency that’s been hijacked by a terrorist campaign,” Army Maj. Gen. Richard Zahner said in an interview. “In part, by al-Zarqawi becoming the face of this thing, he has certainly gotten the funding, the media and, frankly, has allowed other folks to work along in his draft.”

The remarks underscored a shift in view among senior members of the U.S. military command here since the spring, as violence, especially against civilians, has spiked and as al-Zarqawi, a radical Sunni Muslim from Jordan, has aggressively promoted himself and his anti-U.S., anti-Shiite campaign.

U.S. military leaders say they now see al-Zarqawi’s group of foreign fighters and Iraqi supporters, known as al-Qaida in Iraq, as having supplanted Iraqis loyal to ousted president Saddam Hussein as the insurgency’s driving element.

Which tells us that yeah, Al-Qaeda is in Iraq and yeah, they are a threat to the world. A real and dangerous threat that needs to be taken seriously. What will it take? A nuclear device to be detonated on American soil?

The potentially lethal nuclear enrichment material that Bulgarian customs prevented from crossing into Romania is linked to Iran’s nuclear quest, the Sunday Herald reported, citing Romanian sources.

“The sources could not give the intended final destination of the consignment, but the “working hypothesis” of Balkan police forces is that “it is linked to Iran’s nuclear quest”. Then again, there are always al-Qaeda armourers keen to buy dirty bomb material.”

According to the reports an Arab-dominated Bucharest mafia was the inter mediary in the hafnium deal.

A week ago Bulgaria’s police in the northeastern Danube city Russe nabbed 3.5kg of hafnium, a material that could be used in the manufacture of radioactive “dirty bombs”.

The article raises a number of questions over the releasing of the smuggler’s Romanian companions after the Bulgarian driver of the smugglers’ car admitted that the hafnium consignment was his property.

“The sudden and unconditional freeing of the smuggler’s Romanian companions raises justifiable fears about the financial clout of the mafias apparently involved, and the legendary corruptibility of Balkan police forces. Bulgaria, like Romania, is hoping to join the EU in 2007, but corruption is seen as one of the main stumbling blocks in its path.”

I can see it now, the left will blame Bush for the next terrorist attack because we all know that Al-Qaeda never existed before Iraq. But if they did exist they really didn’t hate us until Bush invaded Iraq. Sigh. Wonderkraut explains this phenomenon much better then I ever could:

You got to love the way the Left operates. *cough*

9-11 happens and Bush takes out the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Iraq is still in violation of UN sanctions, so we invade and remove Saddam from power.

President Bush acted. Because he acted he is blamed and will be blamed from now until the end of time by the Left.

If Afghanistan stays in the dark ages and stays embroiled in conflict, then the Left will say we failed and it is all Bush?s fault. He must not have had a good enough plan or he lacked the required leadership. If terrorism rises or if extremists take over Pakistan, again the Left will blame Bush. Even if it all falls apart 10 or 20 years after Bush leaves office, it does not matter to the Left. Bush is to blame.

If Iraq falls into civil war, the Left will blame Bush. They will claim all the above things I have already written. The same holds true if terrorist attacks continue or if Iran exerts undo influence on the Iraqi government. Bush will be to blame. Again, even if all these things happen years down the road, Bush will be to blame. All because he acted.

This same scenario holds true for all the other pressing issues confronting Bush. If he acts in any way to rein in the North Koreans or if he takes action against a belligerent Iran or if he sells weapons to the Taiwanese. If whatever action he takes turns out to not work or have adverse consequences, the Left will blame him.

I guess one cannot fault them too much. After all, if you act, you do take on the responsibility for the consequences of that action.

However.

The Left wants it both ways. If Bush acts they are waiting to hit him upside his head if he fails. But he doesn?t act?well then they will blame him for not taking action. Follow that?

Bush is already blamed for not taking action prior to 9-11. If he had not taken action in Afghanistan, the Left would have said he was weak and he should have attacked our enemy. If he had not taken action against Iraq and Saddam launch a chemical attack against Israel or invaded another country or gave WMD?s to terrorists, the Left would have blamed Bush for not acting.

This line of thinking is carried out with Iran and North Korea as well.

The Left and by proxy, Democrats, have no plan for anything. The ONLY thing they have a plan for is to blame Bush and Republicans for anything that turns out not quite like we had hoped. If it is because of action or inaction, they will blame. But ask them what their plan would be for say North Korea and you will get some gobbly gook about seeking allies and the UN. Didn?t we already try that and they basically gave the whole world the finger and did what they wanted anyway? The same for Iraq. Ask them what they would have done and they will claim they would have kept pressure on Saddam through continued enforcement of UN sanctions. Gee, we saw how good that worked. Ten years after the First Gulf War the Left was trying to end the sanctions and were praising the Oil For Food Program.

They have no plan. Leadership, real leadership means taking risks. It would have been so much easier for Bush, in the short term, to leave Iraq alone. Same with dealing with the Iranians and North Koreans. But he took the action he felt was in the best long term interests of the U.S. Have there been mistakes? Plenty. Could there have been better planning? Don?t get me started. Could the President have used the bully pulpit better? Amen to that. Regardless, Bush led. He didn?t have too, look at Clintons halfhearted attempt at fighting terrorism, but Bush took the risks….

I will end this with a couple of excellent statements today. First one by Donald Rumsfeld:

I thought it might be useful to also take a moment to look at the situation from the opposite perspective; to consider how al Qaeda leaders might assess the progress being made by the terrorists in Afghanistan and Iraq. If they were called to account for the state of their strategy in those countries, consider what might be asked of them.

For example, they might be asked why they failed to stop millions of Afghans and Iraqis from voting in free and relatively orderly elections. Or how is it that the Iraqi Sunnis, who are supposedly the natural allies of the insurgents, have chosen, albeit belatedly, to energetically embrace the political process, registering in large numbers. Or why the terrorists failed to prevent nearly 200,000 and some 75,000 Afghans — 200,000 Iraqis and some 75,000 Afghanis — I think it’s technically 194,000 Iraqis — from joining the Afghan and Iraqi security forces, despite their very best efforts at intimidation to prevent them from joining those forces. Or why the vast majority of Afghans and Iraqis have rejected the terrorists’ twisted ideology and, instead, are supporting efforts to build new societies. Or how terrorists expect to succeed militarily when they cannot rely on sanctuaries in places like Fallujah or Najaf or Tall Afar to plan operations and to train recruits.

These would be awkward questions for them to answer, indeed, because by every one of those measurements, the enemy is losing. Though the transition of Afghan [sic] and Iraq from tyranny to democracy has been and remains violent, we know the importance of seeing this effort through, and we’re seeing the progress that has come with patience, the patience, the adaptability, the resilience and the grit of our armed forces.

Consider four years ago these two countries were among a handful of regimes in the world that were labeled as terrorist sponsors, regimes that had the viciousness and the capability to support terrorism and inflict damage on our country. And today these two countries are joining a growing list of free nations that are fighting terrorism. And millions of their neighbors have taken notice of the reforms that are under way in these rising and predominantly Muslim democracies. These are important achievements.

And then General Casey:

To be sure, the next months will be difficult, as our enemies also recognize what’s at stake. They are already challenging the referendum process with increased terror attacks to create the impression that attempts at progress are futile and that Iraq can never become a modern democratic society. They are attacking the will of the Iraqi people and they are attacking the will of our coalition publics.

They are failing in Iraq. Across Iraq, 98 percent of the eligible Iraqis have registered to participate in the referendum and election processes. Better than 90 percent of the Iraqis have stated their intent to vote. And most importantly, as the secretary noted, Sunni Arabs who boycotted the election in January remain committed to participating in the referendum and the election. This is a significant step forward from the boycott that took place in January.

On the military side, coalition forces and Iraqi security forces continue to pressure terrorists and insurgents across Iraq. And Iraqi security forces are progressing and continuing to take a more prominent role in defending their country.

Let me give you an example of what I’m talking about. In May, Iraqi security forces conducted about 160 combined or independent operations at the company level and above, so about 100 people as company level, and about 160 operations. In September, that was over 1,300, and then our transition teams that we have put with the Iraqi security forces have greatly enhanced their development and their ability to operate with us. We are at the point now where 80 percent of all of the company-level and higher operations that are done are combined operations with the Iraqi or Iraqi independent operations — big step forward.

Additionally, we expect to have 60[000] to 70,000 more Iraqi security forces available for referendum security than we had in January, and by the time of the elections, we expect to have about 100,000 more Iraqi security forces available to protect those elections than we had in January. So as a result, for example, I only had to ask for an additional 2,000 coalition troops to protect the referendum and election process this year vice 12,000 in January.

Another example, in the recent success in Tall Afar, Iraqi security forces outnumbered coalition forces for the first time in a major operation. A year ago that division didn’t exist. We’ve also had good success militarily against the al Qaeda network killing and capturing over 20 of their key leaders since July and including the recent death of a key Zarqawi lieutenant, Abu Azzam.

We and our Iraqi security force colleagues remain postured to provide security for the referendum and the election, and while I expect the insurgents to pull out all the stops to disrupt the process, they will not stop the political process from going forward.

We’re in a tough fight in Iraq, but our country has been in tough fights before to advance the cause of democracy and to protect our way of life. We should not be afraid of this one. We and the Iraqi people will prevail in this battle of wills if we don’t lose ours. We continue to make progress every day in Iraq. Some days the steps we take are smaller than others, but we are more relentless in our progress than those who are trying to disrupt it. We have a strategy and a plan for success in Iraq, and we are broadly on track in achieving our goals. Make no mistake about it, it’s hard work, it’s a challenging environment, but we have the best of America and coalition countries, military and civilian, committed to defeating terrorism and tyranny in Iraq, so that we can all live safer.

I have no doubt we will win this fight. It will be difficult, not only because Al-Qaeda is a differen’t kind of enemy but because we have to fight a double front here at home against the left. They forced us to lose Vietnam but I believe the American people are not that stupid to fall for it twice. After 9/11 they see the importance of our winning this war.

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