Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Why Afghanistan, Nancy?

January 31, 2007

After the whirlwind tour of the Middle East, admitting she went convinced already that retreat from Iraq is best to “solve the situation” in Iraq, Speakerette of the House, Nancy Pelosi, is advocating a Troop increase in Afghanistan, while opposing the same in Iraq, where the terrorists currently are.

Pelosi and Afghan President Karzai discussed plans this weekend for an additional $10.6 billion for Afghanistan, increase aimed at rebuilding the country and strengthening government security forces there. Former State Department analyst, Marvin Weinbaum says, "It makes a lot of sense … to highlight Afghanistan as where the real source of terrorism began and where it still has to be dealt with so that the Democrats come out of this not looking like they're weak-kneed when it comes to battling terrorism."

Not “weak-kneed?” But, Pelosi, Democrats and RINOs advocate abandoning the battle in Iraq, where the terrorists currently are? In a December 2006 Newsweek Article, bin Laden’s men broke some bad news to emissaries from Mullah Mohammed Omar, the leader of the Taliban in Afghanistan. The message? “Al Qaeda would be diverting a large number of fighters from the anti-U.S. insurgency in Afghanistan to Iraq. Al Qaeda also planned to reduce by half its $3 million monthly contribution to Afghan jihadi outfits.

Clearly, Al Qaeda sees where the fight is, even though Speakerette Pelosi and others do not.

So, why the push for Afghanistan over Iraq? Only the Speakerette knows for sure, but I suspect it has to do with the “A New Direction” pamphlet Pelosi hawked during the 2006 campaign where she stated and promised to, “Eliminate Osama Bin Laden, destroy terrorist networks like al Qaeda, finish the job in Afghanistan, and end the threat posed by the Taliban.

As previously stated in my post The Insignificance of Osama Bin Laden, he doesn’t dare stick his head out, provided he is still alive, which is doubtful. Therefore, it is sheer folly to dedicate our Military Forces to finding Bin Laden while the influx of terrorists in Iraq gets ignored.

This move of Pelosi’s also begs the question of why send defenses to Afghanistan at all? Like their claim for Iraq, isn’t Afghanistan just a “civil war” between the former government and the new government? Will sending more troops to Afghanistan just cause an increased insurgency there?

Should Iraq be abandoned, mostly to embarrass President Bush by causing failure there, will Al Qaeda just set up shop there, as they previously did in Afghanistan and start all new terrorist training camps? Don’t forget, the Taliban isn’t who attacked us. The Taliban isn’t who trained terrorists to attack us. It was Al Qaeda who has told the Taliban they aren’t opposed to their own “Troop Surge” into Iraq.

On another note, hasn’t Afghanistan been basically handed over to NATO forces, as Democrats demanded? Shouldn’t the call be for NATO to step up efforts in securing Afghanistan, since many declined to help in Iraq?

Of course, my questions are rhetorical as I fully support any effort in helping to secure both countries. Had the Democrats and RINOs not been opposing it every single step of the way and broadcasting to the enemy that all they need do is wait us out, who knows how much further along this fight would be?

Don’t forget, it was Pelosi and several others who, all along, have called for more troops for Iraq. Now that President Bush has committed more, they balk and now oppose it.

Had Bush committed the troops to Afghanistan instead of Iraq, would they be adamantly opposing reinforcements there as well?

War never goes as planned. Mistakes are made every day by all sides; it is just the nature. But, as in previous wars, back when Democrats liked America winning wars, they are overcome, tactics are modified as needed, strategies adapt as well and we learn our enemy’s tactics and use them to our advantage.

What we don’t do is retreat and surrender, under the guise of “responsible redeployment.” At least, we didn’t before Viet Nam.

Let’s get behind our Troops, wherever they may need to fight and watch as they give us VICTORY in all theaters of this War On Terror.



Anonymous said...

From The CATO Institute:

January 31, 2007

The Myth of an al Qaeda Takeover of Iraq
by Ted Galen Carpenter

Ted Galen Carpenter is vice president for defense and foreign policy studies and co-author of Exiting Iraq: Why the U.S. Must End the Military Occupation and Renew the War Against Al Qaeda (2004).

In his State of the Union Address last Tuesday, President Bush warned that if the U.S. fails in Iraq, al Qaeda will gain a safe haven from which to launch attacks against America. It is an argument that the President, other members of the administration, and neoconservative hawks have been using for years.

In late 2005, then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld warned that al Qaeda leaders "would turn Iraq into what Afghanistan was before 9/11 -- a haven for terrorist recruitment and training and a launching pad for attacks against U.S. interests and our fellow citizens."

Despite such scare mongering, it is highly improbable that al Qaeda could use Iraq as the kind of safe haven it enjoyed in Afghanistan. There, the organization had the protection of an entrenched, friendly government, which it will not have in Iraq. Al Qaeda also had a much larger force in Afghanistan -- an estimated 18,000 fighters. Even the U.S. government concedes that there are fewer than 2,000 al Qaeda fighters in Iraq, and the Iraq Study Group put the figure at only 1,300.

Indeed, foreign fighters make up a relatively small component of the Sunni insurgency against the U.S. and British occupation forces. It strains credulity to imagine 1,300 fighters (and foreigners at that) dominating a country of 26 million people.

The challenge for al Qaeda in Iraq would be even more daunting than those raw numbers suggest. While the organization has some support among Sunni Arabs there, opinion even among that segment of the population is surprisingly negative.

A September 2006 poll conducted by the University of Maryland's prestigious Program on International Policy Attitudes found that 94 percent of Iraqi Sunnis had a somewhat or highly unfavorable attitude toward al Qaeda.

As the violence of al Qaeda attacks has mounted, and the victims are increasingly Iraqis, not Americans, many Sunnis have turned against the terrorists. There have been a growing number of reports during the past year of armed conflicts between Iraqi Sunnis and foreign fighters.

And the anemic Sunni support for al Qaeda is overshadowed by the intense Shiite and Kurdish hostility to the group. Almost to a person, they loathe al Qaeda. The PIPA poll showed that 98 percent of Shiite respondents and 100 percent of Kurdish respondents had somewhat or very unfavorable views of the organization.

The notion that a Shiite-Kurdish-dominated government would tolerate Iraq becoming a safe haven for al Qaeda is improbable on its face. Even if U.S. troops left Iraq, the successor government would continue to be dominated by Kurds and Shiites, since they make up more than 80 percent of Iraq's population. And, in marked contrast to the situation under Saddam Hussein, they now control the military and police.

At best, al Qaeda could hope for a tenuous presence in predominantly Sunni areas of the country while being incessantly stalked and harassed by government forces -- and probably hostile Iraqi Sunnis as well. That doesn't exactly sound like a reliable base of operations for attacks on America.

Senator Chuck Hagel, a Republican of Nebraska, has it right. "I have never been persuaded to believe that whether we stay there six months, a year, or two years, that if we would leave, that somehow Iraq would turn into a haven for terrorists."

His skepticism is well placed.

The notion of al Qaeda using Iraq as a sanctuary is a specter -- a canard that the perpetrators of the current catastrophe use to frighten people into supporting a fatally flawed, and seemingly endless, nation-building debacle.

Cinnamon said...

I guess anonymous can't do anything but quote articles and polls (just like over at my blog). Maybe that's because he/she can't argue with facts.

Lew, on the other hand, does a great job here of demolishing the "anti-war" crowd's talking points on Iraq vs. Afghanistan. There's no consistency because it's all in the interest of advancing American defeat and thereby the big, bad bogeyman, Bush. Wonder what they'll do when he's out of office? We might need roving counselors...

As for the "myth of al Qaeda," the war on terrorism/Islamism goes far beyond Iraq, Afghanistan or even al-Qaeda. One of these days the peaceniks are going to have to deal with that reality.

Anonymous said...

Regardless of the progress & outcome of Iraq (surge, redeployment...) many Dems want impeachment. Maybe even more than redeployment

Anonymous said...

Afghan amnesty vote angers UN

Declan Walsh in Islamabad
Friday February 2, 2007
The Guardian

The Afghan parliament has approved an amnesty for warlords and others accused of war crimes, possibly including the Taliban leader Mullah Muhammad Omar.
The vote drew sharp criticism from human rights groups, the United Nations and some parliamentarians who insist that the perpetrators of rape, murder and other atrocities must be brought to justice. "This is not a law, this is about more power for the mujahideen. Millions of Afghans will be unhappy," said Shukria Barakzai, a parliamentarian who stormed out of the Wolesi Jirga, or lower house, in protest.

The resolution called for national reconciliation and criticised human rights reports that "name and shame" alleged war criminals. But analysts said it does not have the force of law, which would require the consent of the upper house and President Hamid Karzai.

Syed Mustafa Kazmi, who voted in favour, said the vote would foster unity. But the UN said: "No one has the right to forgive those responsible for human rights violations, other than the victims."

"Afghans will see this as a sign that their parliament is more concerned with protecting its own members than the people," said Sam Zarifi of Human Rights Watch.

Many of those facing serious accusations are influential members of parliament or the government. Faced with a Taliban insurgency in the south, President Karzai has appeared shy of taking them on.

u∃∃l!∃ said...

The "ette" is not needed at the end of "speaker". The term speaker, in the English language, can refer to a male or a female.

What is your vision of how Iraq will look when we have this "Victory".

Will the tribes be getting along per their own agreement to get along?
Will the US still be there?
Will the US be in charge of the forces which keep the tribes from fighting with each other?
Will the US have a base there?
Who will control who gets the profit from the Oil?

If there are al Qaeda troops being sent from Afghanistan, to Iraq, then there must be al Qaeda troops and facilities in Afghanistan.

u∃∃l!∃ said...

The article (The Myth of an al Qaeda Takeover of Iraq) was interesting.

How do any of us really know what the truth is. Both sides of the argument make sense if one doesn't read the other side.

There are actually very few verifiable facts, and a lot of speculation, on both sides of the argument.

LewWaters said...

Anonymous, I can appreciate what the CATO Institute believes, but did you miss the words straight from the horse’s mouth? Allow me to repost:

bin Laden’s men broke some bad news to emissaries from Mullah Mohammed Omar, the leader of the Taliban in Afghanistan. The message? “Al Qaeda would be diverting a large number of fighters from the anti-U.S. insurgency in Afghanistan to Iraq. Al Qaeda also planned to reduce by half its $3 million monthly contribution to Afghan jihadi outfits.

Maybe Mr. Carpenter talks to the wrong people? Perhaps you can enlighten us all as to why Al Qaeda desires "diverting a large number of insurgents from Afghanistan and send them to Iraq," but Iraq no longer matters?

Perhaps Bush ignored the CATO report and relied instead on Intelligence that Newsweek confirms and decided to reinforce our troops before Al Qaeda's own "troop surge" made it to Iraq?

Coboble, the term 'Speakerette' applies to Ms. Pelosi just as much as 'Shrub' and 'Chimp' apply to President Bush. Maybe even more so now that news of her "requests" for Military VIP Flights not only for her and her staff, but for family and friends as well, is coming to light, not to mention her admission that she went to Iraq pre-convinced the troops need to retreat.

As for the CATO article, does their thoughts somehow carry more weight than do Taliban informants? It isn't Bush or Rumsfeld or Cheney saying Al Qaeda is "surging" insurgents into Iraq, it is Bin Laden’s people.

The left has history of not believing those they supported, especially after the left helps America be defeated. Every single North Vietnamese Officer that has spoken out said the anti-war left was "ESSENTIAL" to their victory in Viet Nam and that their forces were decimated in 1968. Through their complicity, the left caused approximately 40,000 American deaths in Viet Nam currently engraved on the Wall in D.C.

For me, there are 13 names on that wall of men I served with and knew. Men whose names wouldn't be there had General Vo Nguyen Giap negotiated the surrender he planned on after his stinging defeat in the Tet of '68 Offensive he launched.

Al Qaeda (and several other smaller groups intent on the same thing) sees that same lack of resolve and backbone in the American public and are repeating the tactics used by the NVA, seeking the same outcome. My guess is Al Qaeda has also read the CATO article and appreciates the help and support they are receiving.

How many names will be on the next Memorial because our enemies received their support from within America, again? Provided, of course, that should they end up dominating America, a Memorial is permitted.

u∃∃l!∃ said...

I am not stating that the CATO article carries any more weight than any other media source (right now).
I am just stating it is an interesting point of view, and one I have read elsewhere, and from a source I have not found credibility issues with in the past.
The fact that al Qaeda is sending more troops to Iraq does not contradict the CATO article anyway.
In fact it strengthens the position that Afghanistan is still an area of significant concern. Maybe if we had been concentrating more effort there, there would not be al Qaeda forces there to send to Iraq (I don't know).

It really is possible that we need more troops in both areas, and just don't have them, so they have to decide which is in our best interest.
Maybe a draft, so we have enough troops for both, is the answer.
But since that was proposed by a D, you are very critical of that idea as well (I admit that Rangel's reasons put a negative twist on what may be a needed thing).

I am still curious, what state you see Iraq in, after "Victory".
Who is in control of what?
Because through all the stuff I keep reading, I have not yet figured out the difference in the goal of Bush and the goal of the D's (and many of the R's who disagree with Bush).

Beyond stabilizing Iraq (meaning they stop fighting among themselves), and insuring it is not a haven for terrorists (meaning a government that doesn't support terrorists using their country, and enough stability the government has some ability to control this); what is the goal of Bush and his supporters?
Besides that, what are you considering "Victory"?.

LewWaters said...

I see victory in Iraq when the Iraqi people can stand on their own and determine their future.

As the name suggests, terrorism operates by instilling fear in people that oppose their narrow view.

I am not opposed to a draft, just the way Rangel proposes it. He doesn't propose one to strengthen America, but under the misguided belief that only poor people and uneducated who can't find work elsewhere join the Military and get sent to fight. He proposes it, as he states, to draft rich kids so the Military won't be sent to fight anywhere.

Anonymous said...

"I see victory in Iraq when the Iraqi people can stand on their own and determine their future."

Would their opinion of how to do that matter to you? Are they capable of thinking for themselves or do you not trust them?

In 2004, more than 80% of Iraqis wanted foreign troops out. That's according to our own US Coalition Provisional Authority, not just Newsweek (which I'm guessing you disapprove of):

A U.S.-sponsored poll shows Iraqis have lost confidence in the occupying authorities—and that the majority of Iraqis want Coalition troops out of the country

June 16, 2004
By Michael Hirsh

June 15 - The first survey of Iraqis sponsored by the U.S. Coalition Provisional Authority after the Abu Ghraib prison scandal shows that most say they would feel safer if Coalition forces left immediately, without even waiting for elections scheduled for next year. An overwhelming majority, about 80 percent, also say they have “no confidence” in either the U.S. civilian authorities or Coalition forces.

Despite coboble's fair-sounding arguments, his claim that "There are actually very few verifiable facts, and a lot of speculation, on both sides of the argument," is not true. There are such things as FACTS. Not everything has two or more sides to it. Reasonable people (conservative and liberal) can agree on most of these facts - they are observable, quantifiable, and can be verified. Reasonable people can also disagree on how to interpret those facts, but only the lunatic fringe deny reality and ignore facts.

Some more facts for you to ignore, Lew:

Poll: Iraqis out of patience

By Cesar G. Soriano and Steven Komarow


BAGHDAD — Only a third of the Iraqi people now believe that the American-led occupation of their country is doing more good than harm, and a solid majority support an immediate military pullout even though they fear that could put them in greater danger, according to a new USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup Poll...
The nationwide survey, the most comprehensive look at Iraqi attitudes toward the occupation, was conducted in late March and early April. It reached nearly 3,500 Iraqis of every religious and ethnic group.

The poll shows that most continue to say the hardships suffered to depose Saddam Hussein were worth it. Half say they and their families are better off than they were under Saddam. And a strong majority say they are more free to worship and to speak. (Related item: Key findings)

But while they acknowledge benefits from dumping Saddam a year ago, Iraqis no longer see the presence of the American-led military as a plus. Asked whether they view the U.S.-led coalition as "liberators" or "occupiers," 71% of all respondents say "occupiers."

That figure reaches 81% if the separatist, pro-U.S. Kurdish minority in northern Iraq is not included. The negative characterization is just as high among the Shiite Muslims who were oppressed for decades by Saddam as it is among the Sunni Muslims who embraced him.

The growing negative attitude toward the Americans is also reflected in two related survey questions: 53% say they would feel less secure without the coalition in Iraq, but 57% say the foreign troops should leave anyway.

And more recently:

Poll: Iraqis support attacks on U.S. troops


WASHINGTON (AP) — About six in 10 Iraqis say they approve of attacks on U.S.-led forces, and slightly more than that want their government to ask U.S. troops to leave within a year, a poll finds.

The Iraqis also have negative views of Osama bin Laden, according to the early September poll of 1,150.

The poll, done for University of Maryland's Program on International Policy Attitudes, found:

• Almost four in five Iraqis say the U.S. military force in Iraq provokes more violence than it prevents.

• About 61% approved of the attacks — up from 47% in January. A solid majority of Shiite and Sunni Arabs approved of the attacks, according to the poll. The increase came mostly among Shiite Iraqis.

• An overwhelmingly negative opinion of terror chief bin Laden and more than half, 57%, disapproving of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

• Three-fourths say they think the U.S. plans to keep military bases in Iraq permanently.

• A majority of Iraqis, 72%, say they think Iraq will be one state five years from now. Shiite Iraqis were most likely to feel that way, though a majority of Sunnis and Kurds also believed that would be the case.

The PIPA poll, which included an oversample of 150 Sunni Iraqis, has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

The State Department, meanwhile, has conducted its own poll, something it does periodically, spokesman Sean McCormack said. The State Department poll found two-thirds of Iraqis in Baghdad favor an immediate withdrawal of U.S. forces, according to The Washington Post. McCormack declined to discuss details of the department's poll.

I wonder what possible answer you can come up with to dismiss the opinions of the Iraqis. Perhaps you think they don't know what's best for themselves? Perhaps thay don't understand the threat of Islamic terrorism as well as you do, Lew? I'm assuming you will either dismiss the sources of the polls, ignore the facts altogether, or say they don't know what's best for their country?


LewWaters said...

Anonymous, interesting that you would rely on polls, as liberals often do. More interesting in this poll you cite from 2004, Donald Hamilton, who conducted the poll, speaking before Congress “declined to provide the number of Iraqis surveyed or other methodological details but said in an e-mail that ‘polls here are generally reliable.’”

80% in Iraq Distrust Occupation Authority

Sort of hard to determine the veracity of a poll when the particulars aren’t supplied, unless the goal is to sway opinion towards one train of thought, one way or the other. More telling is that these ‘polls’ were of Shia.

Since you rely on polls, another was taken in 2006 with the results of “the number of Shias in Baghdad who fear an upsurge in violence if U.S. troops withdraw within too short a time span has risen a dramatic 52 points since the beginning of the year. Six out of ten Shias in Iraq’s capital city (59%) believe that sect-on-sect killings would rise in the event of a speedy U.S. withdrawal.” (from a nationwide sample of only 1,150 Iraqi adults).

Baghdad Shias Believe Killings May Increase Once U.S.-led Forces Depart

Back in 2004, Military Field Commanders, basing their estimates on personal observation, reported that 90 percent of the Iraqi people [they meet] support the efforts of U.S. forces.

Also of particular interest, in a mostly negative article from ABC News on the eve of the latest State of the Union Speech, are the concluding two paragraphs; “Although radical Sunnis are running the anti-U.S. insurgency, many more moderate Sunnis in Baghdad live in daily fear of the Shiite militias, and see U.S. soldiers as their only protection.
The reality of Iraq, however, is such that because these people live in daily fear, they are the last ones who can admit — certainly in public — that they support an increased U.S. presence.

Returning to your ‘polls of yore,’ Fact Check, which is usually reliable, reported in 2005 on the conflicting polls, “while nearly 65 percent of Iraqis oppose the US presence in Iraq, only 26 per cent want US troops to ‘leave now.’”

Visit some of the several blog sites by Iraqis and read their feelings. No, they don’t want the U.S. presence indefinite, who would want foreign troops patrolling their country endlessly? But, at the same time, they realize what is at stake if an immediate withdrawal were to happen, with radical insurgents prepared to enslave them under the radical and narrow views they hold.

Then again, had the left not openly supported the enemy, as they did during Viet Nam, the insurgency may not be as emboldened as they are today.