The president made another electioneering foray through the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and the eastern edge of Wisconsin�last week and repeated his contention that the Iraq war is a war on terrorism and even though we haven't been able to find any weapons of mass destruction, the war was still very much worth it.
The United States is safer as a result, he said.
There are many who will beg to differ with that "safer" notion, some suggesting that it, too, is one more presidential lie.
As a matter of fact, the cover story in the current issue of the national investigative journal, Mother Jones, concludes that the United States is severely less safe than it was before our unilateral invasion of Iraq and the war on terror has suffered a setback.
"In more than a dozen interviews, experts within and outside the U.S. government laid out a stark analysis of how the war has hampered the campaign against al- Qaida," author Peter Bergen wrote. Not only, they point out, did the war divert resources and attention away from Afghanistan, seriously damaging the prospects of capturing al-Qaida leaders, but it has also opened a new front for terrorists in Iraq and created a new justification for attacking Westerners around the world.
Bergen even quotes Kenneth Pollack, one of the leading experts on Iraq, whose book "The Threatening Storm: The Case for Invading Iraq" trumpeted the case for overthrowing Saddam Hussein, as saying, "My instinct tells me that the Iraq war has hindered the war on terrorism. You had to deal with al-Qaida first, not Saddam. We had not crippled the al-Qaida organization when we embarked on the Iraq war."
A former FBI counterterrorism official, Harry "Skip" Brandon," told Bergen that the Iraq war has served as "a real rallying point, not only for the region, but also in Asia."We've seen very solid examples of them using the war for recruiting," Brandon commented. "I have seen it personally in Malaysia. The Iraq war is a public relations bonanza for al-Qaida and a public relations disaster for us the longer it goes on."
"If the al-Qaida leadership had been wiped out in Afghanistan during the winter of 2001, President Bush might have gone down in history as one of the more adroit wartime presidents. Instead, al-Qaida's leaders and many of its foot soldiers went on to fight another day.
"We deposed the secular socialist Saddam, whom (Osama) bin Laden has long despised, ignited Sunni and Shiite fundamentalist fervor in Iraq, and have now provoked a 'defensive' jihad that has galvanized jihad-minded Muslims around the world. It's hard to imagine a set of policies better designed to sabotage the war on terrorism."
Copyright 2004 The Capital Times