November 24, 2005


Jihadist Iraq just won't happen (Daniel Benjamin, November 24, 2005, LA Times)

In a speech this week at the American Enterprise Institute, Vice President Dick Cheney used this nightmare vision to lash those, such as Rep. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.), who have argued that it is time to begin withdrawing U.S. forces. "Iraq is part of a larger plan of imposing Islamic radicalism across the broader Middle East, making Iraq a terrorist haven and a staging ground for attacks against other nations," Cheney said. "In light of the commitments our country has made, and given the stated intentions of the enemy, those who advocate a sudden withdrawal from Iraq should answer a few simple questions: Would the United States and other free nations be better off or worse off with [Abu Musab] Zarqawi, [Osama] bin Laden and [Ayman] Zawahiri in control of Iraq? Would we be safer or less safe with Iraq ruled by men intent on the destruction of our country?"

The suggestion that a jihadist takeover in Iraq would follow a U.S. withdrawal verges on preposterous. It is the latest in a parade of straw men dispatched to scare up support for wrongheaded and failed policies.

There is no question that the jihadists would like to seize a country as a base for wider operations. But they have nowhere near the capacity to achieve this in Iraq. Zarqawi's Al Qaeda in Iraq and other radical Islamist groups have bloodied U.S. forces, the fledgling Iraqi government and the Shiite population. The jihadist organizations lack the heavy weapons and the manpower that would be required to seize control of Baghdad, to capture and hold large tracts of territory that are occupied by hostile Shiites and Kurds who outnumber Sunnis four to one, or to run the country.

Much of the essay is just vituperative tripe, but that basic pooint is obviously true. A jihadist takeover would require two things: that the Shi'a and Kurds willingly subject themselves to a Sunni Arab regime that wants to murder them all and that the United States agree not to utilize its air force and missiles to disrupt said regime. The single most important fact about the War on Terror remains the same today as it was on 9-11: we're the ones who want the jihadis to take over a state, because they'd be easy to find. They can't afford to ever "win."

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 24, 2005 8:34 PM

You're right, but the problem with the article vis a vis the VP is that what he's talking about could very well occur if we simply abandoned Iraq, as we did Vietnam, and did not even provide air and artillery support to any gvt we left behind.

It's certainly not inconceivable that the moonbat dems would do exactly that. After all, this is what they did post-Watergate in Vietnam.

This buffoon writes as if the Sunni fascists hadn't been in control of the nation for the last 50 years, and hadn't already forced the jackboot on the Shia/Kurd majority. I mean for chrissake, is he forgetting history or what?

Without our air support and artillery support, is it really inconceivable that the thugs could reconquer Baghdad?

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at November 24, 2005 11:58 PM

The real nightmare is that there could be a sunnistan in western Iraq, that would be a more centrally located version of Waziristan in western Pakistan.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at November 25, 2005 2:48 AM


Yes, it is. They couldn't withstand the assault from internal Shi'a aided by the US and Iran.

Posted by: oj at November 25, 2005 9:23 AM

Yes, but what if they weren't aided by the us at all?

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at November 25, 2005 4:26 PM