2008 February 09 Saturday
Iraq War Reduces European Support In Afghanistan

A helpful reminder: The 9/11 attackers were trained in Afghanistan. The Pakistani government contained (and still does to a lesser extent) supporters of the Taliban and fans of Al Qaeda. If the United States government was not fighting a war in Iraq then the US would have plenty of troops for Afghanistan. That much is already obvious. But the US Defense Secretary admits that winning European support and troops for Afghanistan is made harder by the US military effort in Iraq.

MUNICH — Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said Friday that many Europeans were confused about NATO’s security mission in Afghanistan, and that they did not support the alliance effort because they opposed the American-led invasion of Iraq.

“I worry that for many Europeans the missions in Iraq and Afghanistan are confused,” Mr. Gates said as he flew here to deliver an address at an international security conference.

“I think that they combine the two,” he added. “Many of them, I think, have a problem with our involvement in Iraq and project that to Afghanistan, and do not understand the very different — for them — the very different kind of threat.”

So the war in Iraq undermines the war against the Taliban and Al Qaeda along the Afghanistan-Iraq border.

Why does this matter? The frontier area between Afghanistan and Pakistan is still a terrorist training ground and Western Muslims are streaming into Pakistan for Jihad training.

"Al Qaeda has had difficulty in raising funds and sustaining itself," perhaps due to disaffection among Saudi Arabian contributors, said Director of National Intelligence Michael McConnell at a House hearing Thursday.

The bad news is that a new influx of Western recruits – including American citizens – are being trained in Al Qaeda camps in Pakistan. These recruits would be able to more easily enter and move about the US than foreign operatives.

"Al Qaeda is improving the last key aspect of its ability to attack the US: the identification, training, and positioning of operatives for an attack on the homeland," wrote Mr. McConnell in prepared Congressional testimony.

The Iraq war is hobbling our ability to fight the war against the targets that matter: Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan and Jihadist Muslims living in the West. The Jihadists aren't just helped by policies put in place by George W. Bush and the neocons. The support of useful fools in the West help to strengthen Islam in the West as well.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2008 February 09 08:32 PM  Mideast Iraq Exit Debate

Stephen said at February 9, 2008 11:30 PM:

Why are we occupying Afghanistan at all? Why are we patrolling and holding sectors? Why have we once again become occupiers?

Our military posture should be that of the hunter, not the occupier. You know, hunting that Osama guy. Remember him?

Bob Badour said at February 10, 2008 4:52 AM:

Yeah, I remember him. That Osama guy hiding in a nuclear armed unstable powder keg. Yeah, let's just send troops into the border regions so that entire nation of angry retards throws its support behind some lunatic islamist eager to bring down the wrath of Allah upon the Unbelievers.

Yeah, that plan sounds like a work of pure genius.

Stephen said at February 10, 2008 6:28 PM:

Bob's way:

  • Letting Osama continue to walk the earth.
  • Treating Osama like a national military threat rather than as a mere criminal.
  • Needlessly occupying a muslim country, thereby providing yet another rallying call to the lunatic islamists.
  • Demonstrating to the islamists that the emperor has no clothes.
  • Betraying the global goodwill the US received following 9/11.

Randall Parker said at February 10, 2008 6:47 PM:

Stephen's way?

Let me propose: We send US troops into Pakistan as hunters without permission. If a war breaks out, hey, not our fault. We were just hunting.

Betraying global goodwill: We did that by invading Iraq, not by stationing troops in Afghanistan. Pretty cool how destructive an American President can be, huh?

Stephen said at February 10, 2008 10:05 PM:

My guess is that Pakistan/US relations could bear a *very quick* incursion into some remote border valley. I certainly don't think a war would break out between the US and Pakistan because (a) there's nothing in it for either country; (b) the incursion will be over before it undermines Musharref's authority; (c) its limited to a specific tribal area that doesn't really see itself as part of Pakistan anyway.

A scenario like this might work:

  • US gets v.good intel that Osama is hold-up in some remote border valley and airlifts in a large number of troops (who knows, they might plan to include some people who can speak the language!). The valley is sealed and the hunt begins;
  • US diplomats privately tell Pakistan that the operation will be over inside 24-hours, but otherwise no public comment is made by the US;
  • Musharref, playing for time, does a Sihanouk and publicly claims that the situation on the ground is confused while condemning any foreign incursion;
  • Word starts filtering out from the tribal areas that something is happening and Musharref publicly demands that *all* foreigners leave the tribal homelands and begins to (slowly) mobilise the army;
  • US finds Osama (well, maybe);
  • Irrespective of whether it finds Osama the US packs up and goes home the following day;
  • Pakistan lodges a diplomatic protest and recalls its ambassador for consultations;
  • After an appropriate amount of time diplomatic relations resume.

Bob Badour said at February 11, 2008 8:48 AM:

That's interesting. Notice that the whole thing is predicated on getting good intel from an area hostile to both the US and to the 'official' governing body in the area.

Stephen said at February 11, 2008 6:13 PM:

You're right Bob, that is a fundamental flaw. I should have seen the warning signs when I typed "intelligence" in the same sentence as "US".

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