A test for the members of Congress. Quick: who wrote the following?
"If, for example, Iraq becomes a failed state, it will go to the top of the list of places that are breeding grounds for attacks against Americans at home"?
The 9/11 Commission did. Congress approved that Commission, applauded its finding: and ignored its guts.
"9/11 has taught us that terrorism against American interests ‘over there' should be regarded just as we regard terrorism against America ‘over here.' In this same sense, the American homeland is the planet."
Congress - again and again - is deaf to the Commission:
"Bin Ladin and Islamist terrorists mean exactly what they say: to them America is the font of all evil, the ‘head of the snake,' and it must be converted or destroyed.
"It is not a position with which Americans can bargain or negotiate. With it there is no common ground-not even respect for life-on which to begin a dialogue. It can only be destroyed or utterly isolated."
It's impossible to quit in Iraq and isolate - much less destroy - Islamic terrorism.
If America went to Darfur, Al Qaeda would go to Darfur, just as it did to Yemen and Somalia. Anywhere America goes - and even if it just stays at home - Al Qaeda goes.
America is no more responsible for Al Qaeda being in Iraq than Janet Reno is for Timothy McVeigh heading to Oklahoma City. Both went where they thought they could do the most damage and make the biggest splash.
CNN on McVeigh:
"After years of growing outrage, McVeigh told his biographers that he began meticulously planning the bombing of a federal facility, deciding on the Murrah Building because its location would provide excellent camera angles for media coverage of the event."
"Media coverage" - also Al Qaeda's specialty. As is blaming America for every Muslim woe, no matter where, no matter who.
According to the Commission, for Bin Laden and Al Qaeda
"America is responsible for all conflicts involving Muslims. Thus Americans are blamed when Israelis fight with Palestinians, when Russians fight with Chechens, when Indians fight with Kashmiri Muslims, and when the Philippine government fights ethnic Muslims in its southern islands. America is also held responsible for the governments of Muslim countries, derided by al Qaeda as ‘your agents.' Bin Ladin has stated flatly, ‘Our fight against these governments is not separate from our fight against you.'"
America may abandon Iraq, but Al Qaeda will not. It will conquer Iraq. And then go on to nation after nation in the Middle East until all are under its rule. Bin Laden has given his word.
But aborting in Iraq wouldn't be enough for America. Bin Laden demands that the US must also
"convert to Islam, and end the immorality and godlessness of its society and culture: ‘It is saddening to tell you that you are the worst civilization witnessed by the history of mankind.' If the United States did not comply, it would be at war with the Islamic nation, a nation that al Qaeda's leaders said ‘desires death more than you desire life.'"
Which is why the Commission stated - but Congress shunned - this conviction:
"What is needed is a broad political-military strategy that rests on a firm tripod of policies to
- attack terrorists and their organizations;
- prevent the continued growth of Islamist terrorism; and
- protect against and prepare for terrorist attacks."
How is any of that advanced by aborting in Baghdad?
"Terrorists should no longer find safe haven where their organizations can grow and flourish. America's strategy should be a coalition strategy, that includes Muslim nations as partners in its development and implementation."
How can we include Muslims as partners if we abandon our only Arab ally fighting side-by-side to rout terrorists?
"Our effort should be accompanied by a preventive strategy that is as much, or more, political as it is military. The strategy must focus clearly on the Arab and Muslim world, in all its variety."
Without the US, that world may be helpless:
"Opponents of today's rulers have few, if any, ways to participate in the existing political system. They are thus a ready audience for calls to Muslims to purify their society, reject unwelcome modernization, and adhere strictly to the Sharia."
Defeating Al Qaeda in Iraq is defeating Al Qaeda - period. Its leaders have proclaimed Iraq the mother of all battlefields where America - not it - will be destroyed.
Yet some in Congress scoff at Al Qaeda's threat in Iraq, saying it represents a mere 10% of Iraq's terrorists: 10%? What percent of a body's cells have to be cancerous to kill that body? What percent of a country's population has to have AIDS for that country to die or wish it would?
Yet Congress wants to leave Iraq so it can chase Al Qaeda elsewhere - when Al Qaeda rushes to Iraq to fight the US there? No attacks on American soil because Al Qaeda chooses to fight the US on Iraqi soil - and Congress wants to bail?
Al Qaeda will not going away on its own. Terrorism will not die on its own. The Middle East will not become less dangerous on its own. Only the US leading can kill the beast.
"...the enemy is not just ‘terrorism,' some generic evil. This vagueness blurs the strategy. The catastrophic threat at this moment in history is more specific. It is the threat posed by Islamist terrorism-especially the al Qaeda network, its affiliates, and its ideology."
The Commission wanted all the world to see that "catastrophic threat." But Congress lacks nerve - optic nerve - to see what's at stake
"If, for example, Iraq becomes a failed state, it will go to the top of the list of places that are breeding grounds for attacks against Americans at home"