Tuesday, January 22, 2008


One of our representatives in Congress believes Iraq distracts us from the "real" war on terror:

The Bush administration's fixation on Iraq costs us dearly in the struggle to comprehensively confront the threat to global peace and stability presented by al-Qaida and its allies. President Bush's final term in office is almost up, though, and the next president will have the opportunity to forge a better strategy.

Our special-operations forces are the "tip of the spear" confronting al-Qaida and its allies — the forces in our military best trained at all the facets of counterinsurgency needed to confront these global terrorist networks. But, with the majority of our special operations forces in Iraq, al-Qaida members are freer than they should be to spread their totalitarian ideology and deadly tactics in other countries around the world.

Afghanistan has become the poster child for the Bush administration's neglect of key strategic fronts in the fight against al-Qaida and its allies. Afghanistan is roughly the same size as Iraq. It has a population comparable to Iraq. The country sandwiched between a now-destabilized Pakistan and Iran served as al-Qaida's launchpad for the 9/11 attacks. These terrorists and their Taliban allies have a safe haven just across the border in Pakistan and violence was up sharply last year.

Good grief. Will this rot never end? When al Qaeda has challenged us in Iraq, how is it tunnel vision to kill them right there? I do believe we kill more jihadis in Iraq than the rest of the world combined. If "tunnel vision" (as the representative called it) is seeing too narrowly, what do you call it when you can't see the bull's eye because of a blind spot to anything Iraq-related that clouds your judgment and makes you unable to focus on what is happening right now?

But instead of addressing his obvious vision problem of failing to see how we are decimating jihadis in Iraq or questioning whether it is really true that a majority of our special forces are in Iraq, I just want to ask where he'd send those special forces to fight al Qaeda if they have to stop killing jihadis in Iraq? He can't just be talking about sending them to Afghanistan since that is mostly a Taliban problem and the good representative says al Qaeda is spreading around the world because we are too focused on Iraq. So do we send these special forces into countries to kill al Qaeda whether the local government wants us to or not? I mean, the Pakistanis say they don't want our troops inside Pakistan to kill jihadis. The Iraqis are fine with our troops killing jihadis inside Iraq. Does this not matter one bit?

And if the representative is talking about going into Pakistan, doesn't he understand that our special forces operate best when they have lots of friendly forces suppressing the enemy and keeping them beaten down so they can't mass gunmen to kill our special forces or simply shrug off our attacks and replace their losses?

Given that Admiral Fallon is in Pakistan to discuss US-Pakistani cooperation in the emerging Taliban Campaign and that there is a growing appreciation for the regional nature of the threat, I'd say Representative Smith had best be careful what he is wishing for.