Sunday, January 02, 2005

Anthony! Please!

Just a moment while I mop up the coffee I've spewed across my desk.

I've never met Anthony in person, but on the strength of his writings I consider him one of the keenest minds and most informed people with whom I correspond. I regret that I'm unable to keep pace with his blogging.

I've never met Clifford May, either, but on the strength of his writing, I generally consider him a dolt. With a capitol D. Just so that's clear.

And so it surprises me that Anthony would let something as ridiculus as this Clifford May statement slide:

Indeed, defeat in Iraq would be much costlier than was America's retreat in Vietnam. Ho Chi Min never sent agents to hijack planes and slam them into American office buildings.
Yeah? Well, neither did Iraq.

But this is not really about Anthony's post, which is as high quality as ever. It just tripped a reflexive response in me. Let's just resolve to never let something as that stupid slide by, even if you're going on to make another, more important point.

Maybe I'm being oversensitive here, but when you see something like that linking Iraq and 9/11, I've gotta slap it down. Saddam, depending on which account you believe, managed to squirrel away something like
$21 +/- Billion-with-a-b from the UN Oil-for-Food program and he wasn't even able to buy a freakin' clue. Not one clue. $21B of unreported, untraceable cash, and his desire for WMD never advanced beyond a couple of "weapons-related-programs" haflheartedly pursued in a couple of basements. Oh sure, he intended to make WMD just as soon as the sanctions were over, and just as soon as he could finish the last chapter in his romance novel... Honestly, it's not like those sanctions were keeping him from buy the illegal stuff he needed anyway. Don't get me started.

But on to May. As I mentioned before, Tony Cordesman points out (pdf file) that only about 5% of the enemy in Iraq are foreign jihadists. These people have been recruited to take advantage of the huge target of opportunity we have presented them. Do you really think the rest of the 95% of the enemy, the Iraqis we're fighting in Mosul, Fallujah, Samarrah . Tikrit, Baghdad etc etc etc was coming to get us? Uh, sorry but no. Those Iraqis who might have had such a desire were pretty much included in that deck of cards of the most wanted, and we've done a pretty good job at scooping those guys up.

If, as some would have you believe, the Iraqi fighters are a finite number of die-hard Baathist regime holdovers, then what explains this:

The number of attacks on U.S. and allied troops grew from an estimated 1,400 attacks in September to 1,600 in October and 1,950 in November. A year earlier, the attacks numbered 649 in September, 896 in October and 864 in November.
How do attacks increase like that if there is not an increase in attackers? And how is there an increase in attackers if the enemy is a finite number of Baathists whom we're killing by the truckload?


Anyway, it's not to say that 5% are not effective - certainly the attack on the Dining Tent in Mosul and recent targeting of Iraqi security forces are prime examples - but these people traveled to Iraq to take advantage of the situation we've created.

And while I'm on this subject, why is the absence of major attacks on U.S. soil since 9/11 presented as evidence that President Bush's campaign against terror is working? I mean, by that metric, the Clinton administration was twice as effective, even though their counter-terror policy was either minimal or counterproductive, depending upon your source. And don't tell me yes, but the attack on the USS Cole or the U.S. Embassies yadda yadda yadda. Roger - got it. But those were done by regional cells the likes of whom are now furnishing recruits for Zarqawi in Iraq. Maybe it is easier to kill them in Iraq that to hunt them all over the globe. The problem is, we've brought them to Iraq to have this battle and they're killing Iraqis by the busload in the meantime.



3 Comments:

Blogger Mark said...

Oh, wait. Perhaps "strange assertion" is British english for outrageous bullshit. My bad.

9:28 AM  
Blogger MAJ C said...

Mark,
Why do you hate America?


(To anyone who comes across this and feels compelled to defend Mark's honor, it is a JOKE!!!!! My comments, that is, not his honor)

1:02 PM  
Blogger Anthony said...

Chris, nobody's reading the damn thing mate, I wouldn't worry about it!

Anthony

1:53 PM  

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