Thursday, September 28, 2006

Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory

Josh Marshall has an excellent point about what was in the NIE (pdf) that was actually released...

The upshot of the report, as I read it, is that over the last five years we've actually done a pretty good job at disrupting and dismantling al Qaida. (That includes everything from eliminating their safe haven in Afghanistan, to making it harder for them to move money and communicate electronically, and killing or capturing a great number of the key leaders.)

That is to say, if we had concentrated our counterterrorism efforts to just terrorists, we'd have won by now. The fight would be more or less over. Not quite, but close. It would be, as John Kerry put it back in 2004, a nuisance, as opposed to something that causes panic.

Then Josh goes on...

The problem is that in Iraq we've managed to create a whole new rallying cry for a new generation of terrorists. And because they're more dispersed, both organizationally and geographically, we're really not prepared to handle the threat they pose.

So what changed? The war by choice in Iraq changed it.

This only leads me to one conclusion. The conservatives, rather than settling for victory in the war on terror, wanted a much larger war. As a result of the pursuit of this conservative ideology, the conservatives have transformed a victory into a loss.

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