Thursday, July 21, 2005

In response

Visitor JPE left a comment to the John Howard post in which he stated:

They predate Iraq, but not Afghanistan. The notion that there's no causal link between military support and terrorist operations is preposterous, and disingenuous to boot.

In response, I would point to this post at The Anchoress which details, photographically, Islamic terror that predates both Iraq and Afghanistan:

Khobar Towers-1996
East Timor-1999
USS Cole-2000

Post-Afghanistan of course we have Bali in 2002 and now London twice in two weeks. But the real point is everything dated 2001 and before. Also mentioned is the Achille Lauro hijacking in '85 and the first example of anti-American extremism, the Iranian hostage situation in '79-'80.

Jump ahead to 1998 when OBL issued his declaration of war against the United States. What was one of the main points? The presence of US Forces in Saudi Arabia following the first Gulf War.

Now jump from there to April, 2003 when Donald Rumsfeld announces a withdrawal of 7,000 American troops, a termination of "a significant military presence there that lasted more than a decade...." At the time, Stephen Hedges writing for Global Security discusses part of the Pentagon's reasoning:

Increasingly, the U.S. presence had become a central irritant for those pressing to reform the royal family's strong-armed rule and the fundamentalists who want to replace that government with a religious regime.

Even if you can't agree that such a move is an express recognition that US troop deployments have hurt us in the PR war, surely this represents at the very least a tacit admission of such. So what did we get out of it?

As best I recall, OBL's silence on this point was deafening. He'd moved on; everytime it suits them there is another 'reason' for what they do. It only illustrates what Sim added:

...if it weren't Iraq it would be something else.


jpe said...

That's solid evidence that a-q's attacks on america aren't causally related to Iraq or Afghanistan. However, a-q's attacks on america aren't at issue - their attacks on Britain, Spain, and Australia (the bombing in Indonesia) are.

Basically, Anchoress's timeline provides an answer to a question that no one has asked.

I do agree that the causality question is a messy, if not non-sensical, one vis-a-vis attacks on America. Also, I think there's a good argument that a-q's attacks on America are part of a larger war with the West, of which Britain, Spain, and Australia are part. It's just that timelines won't help that argument. An additional step of folding America, UK, etal, into one undifferentiated "West" is necessary to make the timeline relevant.

Simian Logician said...

oooooo! A deleted post! I'm intrigued, what did I miss? Was someone called a name?

Back to the issue: Yes, Australia, Britain and Spain have been targets since the onset of the coalition's invasion of Iraq. Denmark has also been threatened with such an attack should it fail to remove its troops from Iraq.

But at the same time, plots have been disrupted in France and Germany, which are not in Iraq.

And, there have also been attacks in Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Morroco. None of them are in Iraq.

What's unclear in all of this is who is responsible for all of this. Is it "proper al Qaeda?" "Loosley al Qaeda-affiliated?" Or is it "Islamist copycats?" What's the linkage, if any, between them all?

While Iraq may fan some flames over the short run, there are plenty of other rationalizations....

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