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April 08, 2008

Feingold: It's not about winning or losing Iraq...
Posted by Ilan Goldenberg

...But whether we are winning or losing in the battle against Al Qaeda.

He argues that it would have made more sense to have others with Petraeus and Crocker to answer broader questions. Couldn't agree more.

Feingold argues that given that Petraeus says the key is to deal with Al Qaeda in Iraq. Why do our intelligence agencies say that the danger is getting worse not better? Petraeus responds that Bin Laden and Zawahiri say the central front in the war on terror is Iraq. Feingold responds that they have also said they want to bleed and bankrupt the United States and aren't we just doing that.

Crocker also says that everyone except for Sadr supports the U.S. presence in Iraq, to witch Feingold points that a majority of Iraqi Members of Parliament voted to oppose the U.S. presence... Snap.


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I have some ambivalence about the frequent Democratic tactic of claiming that the problem with the Iraq War is that it is distracting us from the real battle against Al Qaeda. It's not that there isn't some truth in that claim. And I understand why the tactic might be felt to be politically smart. But it's not as though the United States is facing frequent terrorist attacks from Al Qaeda elements. In fact, since 9/11 the Al Qaeda toll exacted on the US homeland is exactly zero. Does anybody really want to argue that we are "losing" the war on Al Qaeda? My overall impression is that, despite the fact that there are still a number of dangerous fellows out there, Al Qaeda has on the whole been seriously weakened, fragmented and rendered short on financial resources. A lot of the big wheels have been either locked up or killed.

No, Iraq is a god damned mess on it's own merits. We don't really have to bring Al Qaeda into the argument to explain why five years of astounding butchery unleashed and a debit sheet full of unredeemed human and economic losses were a very bad outcome. Do we?

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