Monday, February 26, 2007

New Adventures in Strategic Incoherence

Quick, why are we still in Iraq?

No, no WMDs, they've ostensibly established a sovereign government, and Saddam and his loathsome sons are dead. So why are we still there?

The latest excuse is that we're fighting them over there so we don't have to fight them over here - the implication being that if we declare victory, take our ball and go home millions of emboldend terrorists will immediately attack the United States.

The truth is much more complex, as the truth often is.

For the explanation, let's turn to Josh Marshall:

In the Hersh piece in The New Yorker we learn that the US has essentially decided to get out of the al Qaeda/Sunni-jihadist fighting business and redirect our efforts toward fighting the Iranian peril. The real war we're in the midst of now, it turns out, is the trans-Middle Eastern Sunni-Shi'a civil war. And we're going to side with the Saudis, who will in turn enlist a bunch of al Qaeda type groups to work on our behalf against Iran.

Now, you may be worried that this sounds rather like how we got into this mess in the first place. But don't worry. As Hersh writes, the Saudis are assuring the White House, that "they will keep a very close eye on the religious fundamentalists. Their message to us was 'We've created this movement, and we can control it.'"

Emphasis mine.

Okay, then. Just to get this straight - we were over there to fight al-Qaeda. Now we're fighting Iran alongside al-Qaeda - at the same time we're supposed to be fighting al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan. Let me know when this starts making sense to you.

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