Friday, March 30, 2007

Where is the Real War on Terror

Charles Krauthammer takes Democrats to task for trying to argue that we should be focusing on Afghanistan instead of Iraq:

Thought experiment: Bring in a completely neutral observer -- a Martian -- and point out to him that the United States is involved in two hot wars against radical Islamic insurgents. One is in Afghanistan, a geographically marginal backwater with no resources and no industrial or technological infrastructure. The other is in Iraq, one of the three principal Arab states, with untold oil wealth, an educated population, an advanced military and technological infrastructure that, though suffering decay in the later years of Saddam Hussein's rule, could easily be revived if it falls into the right (i.e., wrong) hands. Add to that the fact that its strategic location would give its rulers inordinate influence over the entire Persian Gulf region, including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the Gulf states. Then ask your Martian: Which is the more important battle? He would not even understand why you are asking the question.

Al-Qaeda has provided the answer many times. Osama bin Laden, the one whose presence in Afghanistan (or some cave on the border) presumably makes it the central front in the war on terror, has been explicit that "the most . . . serious issue today for the whole world is this Third World War that is raging in Iraq." Al-Qaeda's No. 2, Ayman Zawahiri, has declared that Iraq "is now the place for the greatest battle of Islam in this era."

And it's not just what al-Qaeda says, it's what al-Qaeda does. Where are they funneling the worldwide recruits for jihad? Where do all the deranged suicidists who want to die for Allah gravitate? It's no longer Afghanistan but Iraq. That's because they recognize the greater prize.

The attention on Afghanistan is a ruse, of course. If the US were fighting a more aggressive war there - and suffering the casualties that are inherent to a war - then the Democrats would want us out of Afghanistan, as well. In fact, they would argue that Afghanistan is strategically unimportant, is not a priority of Al Qaeda, and has little influence in the region.

Recall that prior to the election the Democrats endlessly droned on about how the President had allowed North Korea and Iran to advance the nuclear weapons programs, and how those posed a greater threat than Iraq. Well, where is their attention to those issues now?

On Iran, the Democrats are trying to make sure that the administration does not rush to war. On North Korea... I'm not sure. Has any Democrat spoken on North Korea lately? Are they trying to have us send troops to either region, so we can pose a credible threat? If so, I haven't noticed.

When Democrats talk like hawks, you can assume it is purely politics. And as I have said before, their lack of seriousness on national security and terror will come back to haunt them.

Update: Read also QandO.

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