Iraq the center of the War on Terrorism does not make it so
The Bush regime never hesitates to compare the War on Terrorism
to other great struggles in our lifetimes, such as World War
II and the Cold War. It is important that the War on Terrorism
be seen as something huge in our lives. It is a struggle for
our very liberty and freedom. They want to kill all Americans,
we are told.
There is no doubt that we were attacked on September 11th,
2001. It would have been terrible, even if the WTC had not
collapsed. There were many casualties in the planes and the
Pentagon also. There was little doubt that there had to be
retribution for the acts. The question is, how much retribution
should we seek for the dastardly act of 9/11?
We were told that it was perpetrated by Osama bin Laden and
the al Qaeda terrorists. So, in cooperation with Pakistan
to permit flyover of their territory, we hit Osama and the
Taliban hard in Afghanistan. At one time, we were told that
we had Osama encircled within a 12 mile circle. Somehow he
managed to escape. We thought he was in the caves near Tora
Bora and we made gravel out of most of that area with our
We were making progress on the War on Terrorism. But, in
the middle of the War on Terrorism, we invaded Iraq. Why?
It seems that there were individuals within the Administration,
and Bush himself, that had planned on getting Saddam Hussein
before they ever came into office.
In a matter of days, we had marched into Baghdad and turned
over the statues of Saddam and met slight resistance in the
process. Many in the Iraqi Army simply disappeared into the
night. Bush flew on board an aircraft carrier and pronounced
"Mission Accomplished". However, the War in Iraq had just
The political strategists around Bush, Karl Rove and others,
recommended that this "War" should be the primary issue in
the campaign of 2002. And the Republicans were quite successful
with that strategy. They were talking about getting a veto-proof
majority in the Senate and increasing their numbers in the
However, matters started to deteriorate with the War in Iraq.
Casualties mounted and the resistance grew more intense. Bush
and the Republicans began saying that the War in Iraq was
the center of the War on Terrorism. It was beat into the conscience
of America. The worse things got in Iraq, the bigger the War
on Terrorism became as a political issue.
But, the sad truth is that, the War in Iraq never really
had anything to do with the War on Terrorism. We were making
great progress with the war on terrorism - even if we had
not yet captured Osama bin Laden. We kept a small contingent
in Afghanistan but they were mostly forgotten as we carried
on the new War in Iraq.
The bottom line is that if Bush and the Repubs are not permitted
to tie the invasion of Iraq with the War on Terrorism, they
will have a difficult political row to hoe. But, if they are
successful in tying Saddam Hussein to terrorism and the American
people accept their premise, then they believe they will win
the next election and keep power in this country. Democrats
must continue to point out that simply calling Iraq the center
of the War on Terrorism does not make it so.