Friday, July 13, 2007


There is war fatigue in America. It is affecting our psychology.
George W. Bush





is like a movie that keeps being played day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year---OVER AND OVER AND OVER.

And soon decade after decade.

The Iraq war was wrong.

It is still wrong.

The president was wrong then and he is wrong now.

These are not mere opinions.

It made me wonder whether this president is wired to a machine or has been given implants.

He just won't change his tune.


It's my war.

Leave me and my war alone.

Kill them there so we don't have to kill them here.

I know what I'm doing.

It made me also think of Napoleon and Hitler.

Their hubris and miscalculations finally undid them.

I fear, however, that George W. Bush is doing more than undoing himself.


The broader issue is whether Iraq is a central front in the war against Al Qaeda, as Mr. Bush maintains, or a distraction that has diverted the United States from focusing on the Qaeda sanctuaries in Pakistan while providing Qaeda leaders with a cause for rallying support.

Military intelligence officials said that Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia’s leaders wanted to expand their attacks to other countries. They noted that Mr. Zarqawi claimed a role in a 2005 terrorist attack in Jordan. But Bruce Hoffman, a terrorism expert at Georgetown University, said that if American forces were to withdraw from Iraq, the vast majority of the group’s members would likely be more focused on battling Shiite militias in the struggle for dominance in Iraq than on trying to follow the Americans home.

From The New York Times
July 13, 2007

Bush Distorts Qaeda Links, Critics Assert


Few Foreign Fighters in Iraq;

Many are Saudi

Al-Maliki Says Iraqi Troops ready

Ned Parker of the LA Times reports that of 19,000 "insurgents" held by the US military in Iraq, only 135 are foreigners.

Think about that when you hear Bush say that the US is fighting "al-Qaeda" in Iraq or that "al-Qaeda" would take over Iraq if the US left. The foreigners just are not that important to the guerrilla war. Only .7% of detainees are foreigners, and unless they run faster than Iraqis, that is likely their percentage share in the "insurgency," too.

The US is fighting Iraqis in Iraq, who are nationalists of various stripes, whether religious or secular. Theya re Sunni. They haven't given fealty to Bin Laden and are not "al-Qaeda."

So you'd think after all the ink spilled on Iranian and Hizbullah contributions to the troubles in Iraq, that they'd be prominent among the foreign fighters, right? Wrong. It is not clear that the US has any Iranians at all in custody. There was a big deal made at the NYT about one Lebanese Hizbullah guy who may have been a freelancer.

So if they aren't from Iran, where are they from? Saudi Arabia--- 45%! Only 15% are from "Syria and Lebanon," and I'll bet you that all but one of those are Sunni. 10% are from North Africa, which is only about 14 guys. North Africa is Sunni.

That is, the numbers Parker pulled out of a US officer in Iraq demolish the entire image that the Bush administration and the Washington press corps has been presenting of the war.

Foreign "al-Qaeda" is almost irrelevant to it. Iran is entirely trivial to it. The Baathist, Allawi-dominated Syrian government is trivial to it. The Lebanese Hizbullah may not be involved at all, as an organization. Certainly it is not involved in any significant way.

Which country is providing a lot of foreign suicide bombers? US ally Saudi Arabia. Has any general or Bush administration official called a press conference to denounce Saudi Arabia? No. Has Joe Lieberman threatened it with a war? No. Everything is being blamed on Iran because powerful American special interests want to get Iran, regardless of the facts.

There isn't any significant cadre of foreign "al-Qaeda" fighters in Iraq if this is all we could capture. They can't take over the country because they are such a tiny group. Everything Bush and Cheney have said about the nature of the war and the supposed dangers of a US withdrawal is transparent falsehood.

By Juan Cole
Informed Comment/
July 15, 2007

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