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09/06/2007

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Well, not the actual specific people, no, in as much as they were killed and incinerated in the impact. But facing al Qaeda and Sunni fundamentalist kuffir hating jihaddis? Unquestionably.

As for the gratuitous, nasty, unfunny, ad hominem stuff -- what's up with that? I thought for a minute I'd stumbled onto the Daily Kos by mistake.

I'll buy gratuitous, nasty and ad hominem, but unfunny? I don't think so. Not big laughs, of course, but attitude-intensive repetition. (I always refer to Rush as a "thrice-married former drug addict." (All by itself, "thrice" is funny.) By repeating it over and over and over again, it gets funnier.

To me at least.

More seriously, Sunni jihdists didn't exist in Iraq before we arrived, having been suppressed by Saddam. To fight them, we are currently allied with Sunni insurgents who, until just recently, were trying to kill us. This may seem like progress -- certainly, there are those who claim it is -- but it's worth noting that if we left, the Sunni insurgents would also not be trying to kill us and would also be trying to eliminate the Sunni jihadists.

It seems to me that using a jihad movement that only exists because of our presence and would cease to exists again if we left as justification for staying is a fairly thin argument.

"Using a jihad movement that only exists because of our presence and would cease to exist again if we left as justification for staying is a fairly thin argument."

I appreciate a bit of rhetorical slight of hand as much as anyone, but I have to call you on substituting "exist" for "reside", and opportunely dropping the modifier "in Iraq" from the quote above. Losing the legerdemain, we are left with this:

The jihadis didn't exist reside in Iraq before the US invasion and would cease to exist reside in Iraq if we left?

Personally, I find that the very opposite of a "thin" (would that be a "thick"?) argument for maintaining US forces in Iraq.

The Sunni jihadis certainly existed outside Iraq before the US invasion. Indeed, at least 19 of them existed in the US. I rather prefer the idea of them existing thousands of miles away. Especially if there are 160,000 US troops residing in the same place and working to make that existence as nasty, brutish and short as possible.

But I digress. In your comment, though contesting the persuasiveness of his argument, I think you've implicitly conceded that, in addition to thrice married and formerly drug addicted, Limbaugh is factually correct.

I believe that most of the 9/11 hijackers were Saudi nationals (15 Saudis, 1 Egyptian, 1 Lebanese, 2 from union of Arab Emirates) who had never been to Iraq and certainly weren't working with Saddam. So, um, no these were not the people who attacked us. We are facing an enemy in Iraq, the thrice-married former drug addict (heh-heh) is right about that. We are facing a committed and determined group of Iraqis who are trying to throw us out of THEIR country AND they are working with jihadists from all over. Problem #1-International Anti-US jihadists who were responsible for 9/11, USS Cole, US Embassy in Kenya, etc. Problem #2- FUBAR situation in Iraq which we precipitated by invasion and perpetuate daily by our presence. Rush is, to some extent, right, but only because we set it up for the jihadists to get involved in Iraq, how much worse can we screw this up?

Yes, actually, they are the same people. In so much as they are radical Islamists, bent on the destruction of the west. The problem is that you think we all accept your premise that Al Qaeda didn't exist in Iraq pre-invasion. However, the existence of the Al Qaeda training camp just north of Baghdad, as well as supporting documentation that Saddam had been cooperating with and helping to train terrorists at these camps for four years before the invasion, does away with that premise. Therefore the tired old argument that there are only terrorists in Iraq because we are there really holds no water.

A weekly Standard article discussing the Al Qaeda training camp.
http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/006/550kmbzd.asp

Sabah Khodada, former Captain in the Iraqi Army, discussing the weapons program and Al Qaeda in Iraq, pre-invasion, on PBS
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/gunning/interviews/khodada.html

I'll jump to the juicy part.
[Did you hear that some of those training at the camp were working for] Osama bin Laden?

Nobody came and told us, "This is Al Qaeda people," but I know there were some Saudis, there were some Afghanis. There were some other people from other countries getting trained. They didn't tell us they were part of Al Qaeda; there's no such thing. ... In this camp, we know that those are Saudis, or Arabs are getting trained. Nobody will talk about Al Qaeda or any other organization.

This is a typical Sullivanist ploy; play up the distinction without difference.

While it is factually correct that Al Qaeda was responsible for 9/11 and not Iraq per se, one at this point must be willfully ignorant to be unaware of Iraq's active involvement with radical Islamic terrorists, and dare I say Al Qaeda itself. The links between Saddam and terror have been well documented and Zarqawi's operational presence in Iraq well before the US invasion is a fact which cannot be denied.

We are fighting Islamic terror, both in Iraq and around the world, and 9/11 was an attack by Islamic terrorists. So, we have chosen our battlefield and have engaged the enemy who attacked our homeland. The fact that you continue to make bogus claims founded on technical distinctions belies a lack of intellectual rigor that you like to assume exists in those you don't agree with.

But hey, if it gets a Democrat elected at the expense of national security, well then that certainly will be worth the effort!

You listen to the thrice-married former drug addict more than I do, and I'm the knee-jerk right-wing gun-nut from Podunk, TX. It's an odd choice for a committed Progressive. Why?

Scott wants to know why I listen to Rush; I want to know why all my readers disagree with me. (The answer is, Rush does good radio and I like hearing opinions that I don't agree with. Also, there are sublime moments when his complete lack of self-awareness makes me laugh out loud. His callers scare me sometimes.) I get the feeling sometimes that you're out there thinking just maybe I can be saved.

Anyway, we've departed the central point in favor of an argument over scale and my own bad choice of words. Yes, al Qaida existed in Iraq before we arrived, because Islamic fundamentalism exists wherever Islam is prevalent. AQI did not exist as an organized and potent force, however, having been kept in check in those regions controlled by Saddam. (It operated with somewhat more vigor in regions controlled by our friends, the Kurds.)

The idea that attacking Iraq was an effective way of getting to the heart of al Qaida is nuts, as is evidenced by the brief popularity of the defensive "flypaper theory," that we had invaded Iraq to attract terrorist to fight us there instead of over here. That argument itself refutes the notion that Iraq was a significant Al Qaida center.

The war was and always has been about the confluence of two basic beliefs: Saddam has to go and that we can change the culture of the mideast by setting up a model democracy. Al Qaida was a premise to sway the rubes back home. If the goal had been to hurt al Qaeda -- and we should do that -- we picked an expensive, inefficient way of doing it. In Iraq, we've spent most of our time fighting with militia that have no connection at all with al Qaida, a point that is entirely missed in Rush's glib oversimplification.

Rush's remark is nothing more than a continuation of the misinformation that got us into this mess in the first place.

And Pursuit, if it's intellectual rigor you're after, I'm not sure this is the right place. I write about underpants, for heaven's sake.

I want to know why all my readers disagree with me.

We don't all disagree with you, we're just quiet when we don't have anything to fight about!

I get the feeling sometimes that you're out there thinking just maybe I can be saved.

Nah...I was just wondering.

The war was and always has been about the confluence of two basic beliefs: Saddam has to go and that we can change the culture of the mideast by setting up a model democracy.

One down, one to go. The latter should be modified to read 'model Arab democracy,' BTW. It's still an open question if the Musselmen are capable of self-government and bootstrapping themselves into the modern world of civilized people. I have my doubts, but I have my hopes, too. I knew it wasn't going to get done in 24 or 48 months, though, nor was it going to be cheap, but it was going to be necessary to at least try.

"And Pursuit, if it's intellectual rigor you're after, I'm not sure this is the right place. I write about underpants, for heaven's sake."

Ah yes! Thanks for bringing this up. What the hell is wrong with you? Underpants? Underpants?!

For the sake of all that is indecent and manly, how about at least balancing that with some panty posts and lingerie mentions. Perhaps a good ole sex day isn't too much to request? I mean if we're going to have do the heavy lifting of counterbalancing your Sullivanist diatribes, then the least you can do is hike up the cajones and contribute with some testosterone fueled American male cheesecake material.

And no, mentioning Jane Russell in the same sentence with Potsie and Richie ain't gonna cut it Muchamba!

Conrad hit upon, as Frank Zappa put it, the crux of the biscuit:

The Sunni jihadis certainly existed outside Iraq before the US invasion. Indeed, at least 19 of them existed in the US. I rather prefer the idea of them existing thousands of miles away.

So here we have two sides of the same coin: keeping jihadists out of America (and elsewhere in the West) and in their own lands, thousands of miles away.

The delusion is thinking that military action keeps them out. It merely keeps them occupied.

Keeping them out is simple, but requires doing something that is disallowed in our modern liberal world: discrimination. In order to protect ourselves from jihadists, we need to discriminate against Moslems. What does this discrimination consist of? Keeping them out of the West and contained in their own lands.

Islamic jihadism in the West is a direct result of the presence of Moslems in the West. Before recent foolish changes in immigration laws, we in the West, remembering the Moslems' eternal enmity for us, did not let them in. Now, fueled by petrodollars (unwarranted wealth for something they do not themselves create--or even develop the technology to exploit) and given the opportunity to exist among us, they do what Moslems have always done: attack the "infidels." Granting that not all Moslems are terroristic jihadis, we still must acknowledge that most terrorists are Moslems.

The solution to Islamic terrorism in the West is not "war" in the Middle East. The solution is two-fold: stop making the problem worse and stop letting Moslems into our countries. The other step is to implement policies that cause the departure of Moslems from the West; there should be a combination of coercion and persuasion.

Of course, the other thing that is required for us to be able to discriminate against Moslems is the recognition that everyone is not the same, and that some people neither want to, nor are capable of, becoming like us or coexisting with us.

But this, too, requires abandoning the ruling liberal belief system--something that far too few people are willing or able to do.

Keeping them out is simple, but requires doing something that is disallowed in our modern liberal world: discrimination.

I beg to differ Squid. It seems to me that over the past six years we've done a pretty damned good job of keeping the murderous jihadis at bay (as evidenced by the dearth of domestic terror attacks), while subjecting the average US Muslim to less discrimination than I routinely faced as a Westrner in Hong Kong . . . or a Republican at Harvard.

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