Senator Jim Webb (D-VA) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) were on Meet the Press Sunday morning to discuss Iraq. Since it is impossible for a Republican to say the word “Iraq” without “al-Qaeda” in the same sentence, I was treated to another round of “why it is important to defeat al-Qaeda in Iraq.” My head starts to hurt every time I hear a politician say we need to fight terrorists over there (always said in the context of Iraq because there’s little debate over the military’s presence in Afghanistan), so they don’t follow us here.
Senator Graham lectured his listeners on the reasons why al-Qaeda was in Iraq, advising us they were there to disrupt the fledgling democracy in Iraqi. You see, al-Qaeda hates freedom and democracy. They’re not in the terrorism game to triffle with any particular country… they’re engaged in a broader “War on Democracy,” much in the same way we’re in a “War on Terrrorism.”
First of all, if al-Qaeda’s primary adversary is democracy, why are they screwing around in Iraq? If they think a western style democracy has a chance in Iraq, they may be the only ones. You know what? After the outcome of elections in Iraq, I’m not sure the Bush administration really wants Iraqis to choose their own government either.
I’ll admit I don’t really know why al-Qaeda does what it does. Maybe al-Qaeda really does exist solely to disrupt the spread of democracy. However, look at their history. Al-Qaeda materialized during the first Gulf War, from the remains of resistance to Soviet-Afghanistan occupation. If I recall, it’s organization and growth was fueled by “outrage” over U.S. troops stationed near the Islamic holy sites in Saudi Arabia. After the first Gulf War, an al-Qaeda member attempted to bomb the World Trade Center in 1993. They “declaired war” on the U.S. and it’s interests (the 1998 Fatwa). They bombed two U.S. embasies in east Africa. They bombed the U.S.S. Cole. They were responsible for 9/11.
Fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan didn’t have anything to do with fighting democracy. Remember the Cold War? The Soviets were supposed to be the enemy of democracy too, remember? Their remaining body of work has a pretty clear focus: the good ‘ole U.S. If they do harbor a philosophical animosity towards democracy, it seems they’re pretty narrow-minded as to what constitutes a democracy… those countries with the initials: U.S.A. (or those nations it attempts to “build”). Heck, they talk a good game… but with their single-minded focus on the U.S., they seemingly eschew the raison d’etre of the rest of the radical, militant, Islamic world: the destruction of Israel.
I’m not sure if this ties in neatly with the rest of the post, but consider this. Al-Qaeda was using Afghanistan as a base of operations until the U.S. struck back in late 2001. Afterwards they set up shop on the border region in Pakistan. Instead of following them there, The U.S. invaded Iraq. As I understand it, there was no al-Qaeda activity in Iraq until 2003 – when the U.S. occupation was underway. Maybe al-Qaeda will use the same logic after we pull out of Iraq, and invade Italy.
Or consider this… if “we” were always so concerned that al-Qaeda was going to follow us home, you could by extention reason that al-Qaeda was going to follow us where ever “we” went. Therefore, “we” (Bush and the occupation sunshine gang) should have damn well known that al-Qaeda was going to follow us to Iraq (causing destabilization – rather than the sunny projections of the “neocons”)… and just stayed put in Afghanistan/Pakistan. That way they wouldn’t have followed us anywhere.
Oh well, at least the Meet the Press segment was interesting.