Cyberspace was abuzz today about President Bush's citing of two Iraqi bloggers in his most recent defense of his Iraqi strategy.
Here's the story from the Associated Press:
WASHINGTON (AP) - To back up his point that pulling out of Iraq would be a disaster, President Bush has quoted opinions from the secretary of defense, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the top U.S. general in Iraq—and now, two bloggers from Baghdad.
Bush made a surprising reference to the blogosphere during a spirited defense of his war strategy on Wednesday.
"They have bloggers in Baghdad, just like we've got here," Bush told the National Cattlemen's Beef Association.
They have bloggers in Egypt, too. But if those bloggers are critical of Islam or of Egyptian President Husni Mubarak they are sent to prison. But I digress.
Actually Iraq is a real beacon freedom and free expression in the Middle East. Now if only the Iraqi government and the American forces can bring a reasonable amount of peace and security, Iraq might become the success we all desire it to be. God knows the Iraqi people deserve it. But, once again, I digress.
If the President felt he should quote these two bloggers from Bagdad, I thought I might take a look at their blog. You need to know know that these Iraqi blogging brothers, Mohammed and Omar Fadhil, are part of Pajamas Media. This tells you two things. First, they are quality writers with a quality product and second, they are on the conservative side of most issues.
This, finally, brings me to my point. I've always believed (and I still believe) that the Republican throw away line "Iraq is the central front in the war on terror" was just hyperbole to gather support for Bush's Adventures in Middle East Nation Building.
But in reading his blog, I discovered that Mohammad Fadhil has written one of the most intelligent and compelling arguments I've ever seen making a case for Iraq as the central front in the battle with al Qaeda. I urge you to read the entire post The Real Front in the War on Terror. Below is an abridged version with my highlights of key points.
"When The Taliban regime in Afghanistan fell young men waited in lines to get a haircut and when Saddam fell barbers became targets."
My father offered this simple example during a discussion we had about war on terror the other day. Although the example is very simple but the idea behind it is deep and aims at identifying the change of the main battleground for war with terror.
I see that al-Qaeda and terrorists in general didn't hide their position in this respect—despite the fact that they still operate in many parts of the world, they are clearly redirecting most effort and resources to the war in Iraq.
There are greater examples than killing barbers of course so I'd like to include some more to remind those who try to naively oversimplify the issue in the context that the commanders of al-Qaeda are hiding in a cave in the mountains of Afghanistan or Pakistan far away from civilization.
Let's not forget recruiting networks that are discovered constantly in many European and Arab countries; we rarely, if ever, hear that those networks were sending recruits to Afghanistan because recruits are being sent to Iraq all the time.
Even more telling, some of the prominent lieutenants of al-Qaeda left Afghanistan to fight in Iraq. One example I remember was Omar al-Farouk who escaped from Bagram to be later captured in Basra!
Let's imagine that the world left Iraq alone before the country is able to defend itself and let it fall in the hands of extremists, what would happen then?
An Islamic state in Iraq whether to be led by al-Qaeda or one of the local extreme religious parties would be an enormous threat to the security of the region and the world and a turning point that might encourage fence-sitters to join the terrorists…the tide would be much more difficult to stop then.
But abandoning this front or failing to recognize its priority is a terrible mistake that can lead to disastrous consequences to all of us.
I have two important observations. First, none of this would have ever happened if President Bush hadn't invaded Iraq and then totally destabilized the region. If everything Mohammad Fadhil said is true, the blame belongs squarely at President Bush's doorstep.
Second, this illustrates how very complex the situation in really Iraq is. Now is not the time for simplistic schoolyard solutions. We cannot simply take our ball home and refuse to play, as the Democrats in Congress propose.
The fact the Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi are building an exit strategy timetable based on nothing but whimsy, without consulting with our allies, without the support of, or even consultation with, General Petraeus and without any discussion with the government or people of Iraq, illustrates how disastrous this strategy might be.
TECHNORATI TAGS: PRESIDENT BUSH WAR ON TERROR AL QAEDA EGYPT BLOGGING IRAQ THE MODEL ISLAM FREE SPEECH MOHAMMED FADHIL KAREEM AMER DEMOCRATS REPUBLICANS AFGHANISTAN
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