Sunday, May 6, 2007

Wolf by the ear.

Reading Trudy Rubin and Leonard Pitts, jr. in the Spokesman-Review of Spokane, Washington, today; I was struck with a fit of chuckles. Not at them because what they have to say is good. But at the events that preceded the republication of their comments. GW Bush deems that Al Qaeda would want Iraq as a staging ground for more terrorist acts against this country. Leonard Pitts recognizes that this could be a worthy fear. At the same time, Mr. Pitts recognizes that we can't keep our young people worthlessly in harm's way. Given how GW uses Iraq as a brick bat against his opponents, as a political tool to argue that anyone who doesn't agree with him must be a traitor, Iraq as a strategy for winning the election in 08 for the GOP. But, winning the war in IRAQ seems to be another matter. And it is a point that Pitts recognizes very well.

So let us give an interlude to George Tenet, the former head of the CIA who believes fervently that Osama bin Laden has sleeper cells in this country and that they have been here for years. Those sleeper cells merely wait for the orders to strike. If Tenet is to be believed, why would we assume that Iraq would be the only staging ground for Al Qaeda? Al Qaeda certainly had training camps in Afghanistan. But since Al Qaeda struck many "western targets" through out the world even before 9/11/2001; why would we assume that Afghanistan was Al Qaeda's only "staging ground?" In warfare, a staging ground prior to attack, is a place where you assemble men and material before heading for your first military target. That means, say the country is half way around the world that you want to attack, your "staging ground" can not be in the home country, on the day you wish to attack your first target in the country you are going to war with. Men and material must be moved to a staging ground as close to the military target as possible. With Al Qaeda, the "staging ground" for attacking western interests, will be in any country they wish to target. Thus, Tenet's emphasis on sleeper cells. Iraq, whether we withdrew or remained there, wouldn't make a bit of difference when Al Qaeda again chose to engage in a spectacular attack on western nations, or even this one. How Iraq does serve Al Qaeda is as a recruitment tool. And we have managed to give them a number of recruitment tools to use. Which calls into question how well GW understands what he has gotten this country into. Especially when he engages in an hysterical rant over a withdrawal from Iraq that leaves that country in a civil war (which he won't acknowledge even exists) and a "staging ground" for Al Qaeda to attack this country. It would be a little hard for a country in the middle of a civil war to create the conditions for "training camps" for Al Qaeda to send their recruits to. They would need a stable country for the training camps to even exist. Until our war with Afghanistan, it was such a stable country. That is why we should be more worried about the threat of sleeper cells in this country, with limited resources on how to effectively deal with that threat today, than what Al Qaeda might do in Iraq in the future.

On then to Trudy Rubin who opines on what the 44th President of the United States will have to face by 09. Her column is a good one as well. The 44th president, briefly referring to her column, would have to start repairing America's image in the world. But not necessarily if the president is Giuliani, or Romney or McCain, or Brownback, etc. Given the field of 10 GOP presidential candidates first debate and what they had to say; McCain for one, chose to lash out against the Democratic controlled Congress. McCain acts like he is re-running for Senator on the Iraq issue instead of running for President. All the candidates laughed at the idea of Bill Clinton back in the White House and then was clearly heard, "you've got to be kidding." Trudy Rubin writes a good article, but would a Republican candidate and potential president listen to what she had to say? Not when partisan politics trumps all other considerations.

That is what proves so laughable.

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