Apr 10, 2008 10:33 am


“If you could take it out, you had a choice, the Lord Almighty came down and sat in the middle of the table there and said, ‘Mr. Ambassador, you can eliminate every Al Qaeda source in Afghanistan and Pakistan, or every Al Qaeda personnel in Iraq,’ which would you pick?”

I must admit I expected better from Senator Joe Biden. Ambassador Crocker immediately pointed out (though Maureen Dowd failed to report it) that since the American army have been successful in eliminating most Al Qaeda sources in Iraq, he would chose Pakistan and Afghanistan. He should have asked Biden if he recommends an American take over of Pakistan as only the occupation of that country would afford similar success in eliminating Al Qaeda sources in Pakistan. Leaving Iraq would not help eliminate a single Al Qaeda source in Pakistan though sending additional troops to Afghanistan may afford some temporary help. I write temporary because with the limited Pakistani government control of the Pakistani border region, Al Qaeda is sure to enjoy a safe heaven there regardless. The best the US can do is to use drones to eliminate top Al Qaeda operative from time to time.

On the other hand, the Islamist euphoria which is sure to follow an American withdrawal in Iraq is bound to help Al Qaeda recruitment everywhere. The opposite is also true. An American success in Iraq is bound to have positive consequences for the Central Asian front. The US is fighting a two front war against Islamism. To argue that the two fronts are independent of each other is to misunderstand that basic reality or to ignore it for the sake of immediate political benefit.

As I wrote, I expected better of Biden. Obviously, I should not have as the rest of his questioning amounted to a request for Crocker and Petraeus to tell the enemy what precisely can they do to make the American army wave the white flag. Clearly, the man who pretends to care about casualties has no qualm ignoring the Harvard study which demonstrated that his type of questioning leads directly to increased American and Iraqi casualties.

Those interested in reality, not politics better attend to Henry Kissinger's cognet realist analysis:

Today it is radical Islam that threatens the already brittle state structure via a fundamentalist interpretation of the Koran as the basis of a universal political organization. Radical Islam rejects claims to national sovereignty based on secular state models, and its reach extends to wherever significant populations profess the Muslim faith.

Since neither the international system nor the internal structure of existing states has legitimacy in Islamist eyes, its ideology leaves little room for Western notions of negotiation or of equilibrium in a region of vital interest to the security and well-being of the industrial states.

That struggle is endemic; we do not have the option of withdrawal from it. We can retreat from any one place like Iraq but only to be obliged to resist from new positions, probably more disadvantageously. Even advocates of unilateral withdrawal speak of retaining residual forces to prevent a resurgence of Al Qaeda or radicalism.

I understand Biden's wish to see the Lord Almighty grant him reprieve from such an unsavory reality but I resent his position to torment men who bear a disproportinate part of it's burden.

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