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Thursday, July 29, 2004

Double Dicking

Juan Cole goes after Fearmaster Cheney again.
"Cheney said terrorists are as determined to destroy America as the 'Axis powers' of Germany, Italy and Japan during World War II."
Although it may be true that al-Qaeda is as determined to destroy the US as the Axis Powers were in World War II, this observation is a Himalayan exaggeration if it is meant to suggest a parallel. Al-Qaeda is a few thousand fanatics mainly distributed in a handful of countries. If Zacharias Moussaoui and Richard Reid are any indication, a lot of them are one step away from from collecting old soda cans on the street in their grocery carts while mumbling about the radios the government implanted in their asses.

So while their determination may be impressive (or just creepy), they are not comparable to the might of three industrialized dictatorships with populations in the tens of millions. Some 13 million men served in the German army (Heer) alone between 1935 and 1945. (And WW II killed 55 million persons, not 3 thousand).
Juan goes on to point out how Cheney and Bush have been uniters, not dividers--Muslims in the Middle East now almost uniformly hate us. (Of course John Edwards' "We will destroy you" will be sure to calm their feelings.)

Juan goes on to clearly explain what is going on:
Cheney is lying again. Iraq is obviously a much greater priority for him than is fighting al-Qaeda. All the country's military resources are being sunk into Iraq. Silly decisions are made on macho grounds like deciding to besiege Fallujah or arrest Muqtada al-Sadr (from both endeavors Cheney had to slink away with his tail between his legs, because political considerations got in the way of mere application of massive force).

Why is Iraq a bigger priority for Cheney than is fighting al-Qaeda? Because there are corporate profits to be made in Iraq. There are virtually none in Afghanistan or the Pakistani tribal regions. Cheney wants to crucify the Bill of Rights on the cross of "national security," but has avoided doing the one thing that would make us both free and safe. That is developing a serious counter-insurgency plan for the Middle East that wins hearts and minds and deals effectively with asymmetrical threats. All his emphasis has been on dealing with governments, like that of Iraq, which can be defeated militarily, and the defeat of which unlocks national resources for American companies to exploit. The problem is that those governments do not pose a threat to the US mainland. To the extent that there is a threat, it comes from a shadowy network of radical Islamist guerrillas. Cheney is doing virtually nothing about them.