Of all the many tragic paradoxes of the Iraq war, the latest one is arguably the most worrying. Yes, we invaded a country to secure weapons of mass destruction that were not there. Yes, we deposed a man for killing thousands of his subjects, only to unleash murder of innocents on a wider, unstoppable scale. Yes, we invaded to create democracy, but have rendered the concept of democracy in the Middle East synonymous with mass death, chaos and anarchy. But the latest twist is a real zinger. A war to defeat terrorism has actually massively increased its prevalence in the last two years, and is now creating a terror-factory to murder more innocents across the globe, including here. That terror factory is Bush's Iraq. Money quote from a must-read in the NYT yesterday:
The Iraq war, which for years has drawn militants from around the world, is beginning to export fighters and the tactics they have honed in the insurgency to neighboring countries and beyond, according to American, European and Middle Eastern government officials and interviews with militant leaders in Lebanon, Jordan and London.
Some of the fighters appear to be leaving as part of the waves of Iraqi refugees crossing borders that government officials acknowledge they struggle to control. But others are dispatched from Iraq for specific missions. In the Jordanian airport plot, the authorities said they believed that the bomb maker flew from Baghdad to prepare the explosives for Mr. Darsi.
Estimating the number of fighters leaving Iraq is at least as difficult as it has been to count foreign militants joining the insurgency. But early signs of an exodus are clear, and officials in the United States and the Middle East say the potential for veterans of the insurgency to spread far beyond Iraq is significant.
Maj. Gen. Achraf Rifi, general director of the Internal Security Forces in Lebanon, said in a recent interview that "if any country says it is safe from this, they are putting their heads in the sand."
The president's trope has been that we're fighting them over there so we don't have to fight them over here. It's a notion dependent on the absurd idea that a disparate, lateral organization of religious fanatics is somehow unable to to both. The truth appears to be: we are training them over there so they can come and murder us over here. We are honing their guerrilla skills by night, have provided them training by day, have either given them arms ourselves, or allowed Iran and Syria to send munitions. The icing on the cake is that the chaotic occupation has allowed some terrorists to skim the oil export industry for the money to keep the killing going indefinitely, and that the maintenance of an occupation of the Muslim country provides an over-arching motive for a new wave of terror. And so all we're doing is waiting to see when this wave of Bush-created terror comes ashore.
I really don't think the Republicans get the terror threat, do you? They just don't take national security seriously as a party.