Many of the al-Qaida forces—most notably the horrific but now deceased Abu Musab al-Zarqawi—made their way to Iraq in the first place only after being forcibly evicted from Afghanistan. Thus, if one did not want to be confronting Bin Laden fans in Mesopotamia, it was surely a mistake to invade Afghanistan rather than Iraq.Click on the link provided by Slate itself in the above paragraph, & try to decide where al-Zarqawi was before appearing in Iraq. We could add that we heard absolutely zip from the Bush-Cheney myth machine about an infestation of jihadis in Iraq in those 18 mos. between the assault on Afghanistan (Oct. 2001) & the attack on Iraq (Mar. 2003). Wonder where Sahib Hitchens got this idea. Parenthetical aside: Had Bush, after the infamous "OK, you've covered your ass"/"Bin Laden Determined to Attack in U. S." Presidential Daily Briefing of 6 August 2001, had the fucking brains to call the SecDef & JCS & advise them to locate Bin Laden & get a JSOPS group ready to take out or capture Osama the moment anything else suspicious happened, OBL might be dead or imprisoned at this very moment, as well as thousands (if there were that many) of other Mad Muslim Mofos, who would not have gotten to Iraq or anywhere else. If U. S. intelligence & military forces had been warned or ready, 11 Sept. 2001 might never have happened, & at worst the attack on Afghanistan would have taken place on 12 or 13 Sept. 2001 (depending on the Int'l. Date Line & whatnot) instead of the month we gave Bin Laden & his boys during which to hide out really well. Reason 2:
Indeed, the commander of the anti-Taliban forces is usually not even an American. Yet it is in these circumstances that more American casualties—and not just American ones—are being experienced than are being suffered in Iraq. If this is so, the reason cannot simply be that our resources are being deployed elsewhere.Not really understanding this one either, Mr. Hitchens. Do you have a less simple reason? No? Well, if resources are being deployed elsewhere, there are fewer resources to fight those causing the casualties, so they're on the loose, all over the place, as the NATO forces aren't adequate to bottle them up. Didn't they all run to Iraq anyway? You know, because "we" had to fight "them" "there" so "we" wouldn't have to fight "them" "here." Also: No matter who the commander of the "anti-Taliban forces" is, the majority of the combatants are American service people, & you can bet that little or nothing is done w/o Yankee approval/suggestion. Last & least of Hitchens' points:
Many of the most successful drives against the Taliban have been conducted by American forces redeployed from Iraq, in particular from Anbar province. But these military victories are the result of counterinsurgent tactics and strategies that were learned in Iraq and that have been applied triumphantly in Afghanistan.So, it was necessary to invade Iraq 18 mos. after invading Afghanistan in order to learn how to be counterinsurgents? Why couldn't the U. S. have waited until it got its counterinsurgent shit together in Afghanistan & then invaded Iraq? By that time someone might have noticed that Iraq had no WMD, & the whole mess might have been avoided. Not to trivialize the deaths of untold Iraqis, the fleeing to Syria &tc. of millions of the educated middle-class Iraqis most needed to get that mythical, mystical "democracy" going, and the loss of 4,000+ American lives, & billions upon billions of dollars, leading to a greater economic slowdown than occurred post 11 Sept. 2001. Seriously, Bush-Cheney have done greater damage to This Great Nation of Ours™ than the attacks of 11 Sept. 2001. Then the pickled prick gets into serious "Let's Have A War" territory.
I happen to disagree, but just for an experiment, let us imagine that some regime did exist or did arise that posed such a combination of threats. (Actually, so feverish is my imagination that I can even think of one whose name also begins with I.)Tell us, please, Mr. Hitchens, which country is that? And your evidence for this combination of threats comes from...? (We can only hope different sources than the paranoids all over the U. S. & Western Europe who were absolutely sure of Iraq's perfidity in trying to defend itself before all – or any – of the facts were in or the inspections were finished. Even if nothing much can be trumped up against the ayatollahs, there's another good target available, implies Xtopher.
The continued and, indeed, increasing insolence of the Taliban and its al-Qaida allies is the consequence of one thing and one thing only. These theocratic terrorists know that they have a reliable backer in the higher echelons of the Pakistani state and of its military-intelligence complex and that while this relationship persists, they are assured of a hinterland across the border and a regular supply of arms and recruits.Oooh, they're so insolent!! Oooh, they talk back!! The horror. Thought ol' Hitch was supposed to be a writer of some sort, not a mere Limey understater.
So, the question for Sen. Barack Obama and his glib supporters is this: Would they solve this problem by removing the American forces from Iraq and putting the thereby-enhanced contingent there to patrol a frontier where one of our main "allies" is continually engaged in stabbing them in the back? (At one point last year, Obama himself appeared to accept the illogic of his own position and spoke hotly of the possibility of following the Taliban onto Pakistani soil. We haven't heard much of that lately. Did he mean to say that, come to think of it, we had enough troops to occupy three countries instead of the stipulated and solitary one? Or would he just exchange Iraq for Pakistan? At least we do know for sure that Pakistan has nuclear weapons acquired mainly by piracy and is the host and patron of the Taliban and al-Qaida.)Glib supporters? Glib? The pot accuses the tea kettle of warmth!! Glib? Try this passage for "glib."
Another consideration obtrudes itself. If it is true, as yesterday's three-decker front-page headline in the New York Times had it, that "U.S. Considering Stepping Up Pace of Iraq Pullout/ Fall in Violence Cited/ More Troops Could Be Freed for Operations in Afghanistan," then this can only be because al-Qaida in Iraq has been subjected to a battlefield defeat at our hands—a military defeat accompanied by a political humiliation in which its fanatics have been angrily repudiated by the very people they falsely claimed to be fighting for. If we had left Iraq according to the timetable of the anti-war movement, the situation would be the precise reverse: The Iraqi people would now be excruciatingly tyrannized by the gloating sadists of al-Qaida, who could further boast of having inflicted a battlefield defeat on the United States."Battlefield defeat?" In asymmetical warfare? There is no battlefield, just ambushes & security sweeps. "If we had left Iraq according to the timetable of the anti-war movement," then wouldn't the Iraqis themselves have "angrily repudiated" whomever the fuck AQI is? Or weren't they capable of angry repudiation unless hiding behind Uncle Sam's skirt? (In which a case why should we be propping them up?) What's the real likelihood of the 60% Shia population of Iraq being "excruciatingly tyrannized by gloating sadists" (You can take the boy out of England, but you can't take the English out of the boy.) of the Sunni persuasion after they were so recently relieved of Sunni occupation by our noble & glorious troops? (And a lot of indiscriminate aerial warfare.) Has any one shown Mr. Hitchens the actual U. S. military statistics on what portion of attacks on occupation troops (That's us, Yankee pig-dogs. We're the occupiers. Doesn't sound pretty, does it?) were by AQI & how many by Shias wanting a country free of all oppressors?
I dare say the word of that [his imaginary "battlefield defeat"] would have spread to Afghanistan fast enough and, indeed, to other places where the enemy operates. Bear this in mind next time you hear any easy talk about "the hunt for the real enemy" or any loose babble that suggests that we can only confront our foes in one place at a time.So, the recent increase in casualties in Afghanistan is not linked to the "battlefield defeat" that would have been suffered had U. S. forces left Iraq, it just, uh, like, happened? And "three" (countries) is italicized in the "glib supporters" paragraph, as if that would just be too many to handle, but the big conclusion is a pseudo-Churchillian plea to fight "them" everywhere. And just what are we to do w/ Pakistan? If we stay bogged down in Iraq long enough, will that convince the "higher echelons of the Pakistani state and of its military-intelligence complex" to stop helping Bin Laden & the Taliban? St. Nick on a Stick, Hitch, please try to apply the same logic or whatever it was that brought you to atheism to other issues. We'll grant you that Islam is the scummiest (partly because it's the youngest) of the three "Abrahamic" religions, but let's not go overboard here. Next thing you'll be taking a shower w/ James Dobson to show him who's boss, & how not to be gay.