President Bush declassifies what we already knew as justification for letting more Americans die in Iraq

I suppose realizing that Americans are generally tired of his bad presidency and bad Iraq war handling, President Bush has declassified intelligence stating that terrorists still want to attack America (an unsurprising bit of Intel for us) and that they plan to use Iraq as a haven to plan the attacks.

President Bush, outlining repeated foiled plots by al Qaeda to attack the United States since the terrorism of Sept. 11, 2001, today described a select piece of once-classified information to support his argument that terrorists hope to make Iraq a “safe haven” for planning new attacks on the U.S.

“Al Qaeda leaders have repeatedly made it clear that they intend to strike our country again,” Bush said in a commencement address at the Coast Guard Academy. “There is a reason that these and other plots have thus far not exceeded. Since Sept. 11, we have taken bold action at home and abroad to keep our people safe.

“Now, in 2007, we are in a pivotal moment in this battle,” the president said. “Our security depends on helping the Iraqis succeed in defeating al Qaeda in Iraq.”

Continue reading on for my rant.

First, I’ll just state that everyone in the country should have already figured this out on their own. It doesn’t take much intellect (thankfully for President Bush’s sake, I’ll add) to realize the terrorists still want to attack us. Going on, however, I don’t buy what I feel is implied by President Bush that by fighting in Iraq we keep the terrorists away from America. I do believe that more terrorists are in Iraq attacking our troops, but that doesn’t mean that they cannot come to and operate in America. That is a claim President Bush has made in the past, and I feel he is trying to make that point here without saying it, so we will think staying in Iraq means no attacks in America while leaving him the option of saying he didn’t actually say that.

The problem with this idea should be pretty obvious – fighting in one location will not stop a decentralized organization like Al-Queda from fighting in another location at the same time. I especially like how this New York Daily News opinion piece dismantles this idea, referring to such thinking as ‘puppy dog’ terror. A small portion of the piece:

Does the President think terrorists are puppy dogs? He keeps saying that terrorists will “follow us home” like lost dogs. This will only happen, however, he says, if we “lose” in Iraq.

The puppy dog theory is the corollary to earlier sloganeering that proved the President had never studied logic: “We are fighting terrorists in Iraq so that we will not have to face them and fight them in the streets of our own cities.”

Remarkably, in his attempt to embrace the failed Iraqi adventure even more than the President, Sen. John McCain is now parroting the line. “We lose this war and come home, they’ll follow us home,” he says.

How is this odd terrorist puppy dog behavior supposed to work? The President must believe that terrorists are playing by some odd rules of chivalry. Would this be the “only one slaughter ground at a time” rule of terrorism?

Of course, nothing about our being “over there” in any way prevents terrorists from coming here. Quite the opposite, the evidence is overwhelming that our presence provides motivation for people throughout the Arab world to become anti-American terrorists.

Yes, we are being given a story that basically boils down to a claim that the terrorists will just follow wherever we plant our military and only attack the military. Sort of a gentlemen’s war agreement. But I think the September 11th attacks which didn’t involve military personnel at all should dissuade anyone from thinking the terrorists will only attack armed personnel who are capable of fighting back. Yet this is ultimately the lie we keep getting fed to keep us believing we need to stay in Iraq. I’ve agreed with a number of people I know that we have probably been less likely to be attacked in recent years because of our military’s presence overseas. Yes, it is easier for the terrorists to attack Americans already in the part of the world where the terrorists are most centralized. But I don’t believe this has stopped attacks on America.

I think there haven’t been more attacks because of the people who have noticed potential attackers (granted, there have been many false positives at this, as well). The shoe bomber was stopped by observant passengers on the same flight. The New Year’s 2000 bomber was stopped by an observant border crossing guard based on experience with how people act accumulated from years of experience. These and other attempted attacks should be enough to prove that the terrorists are still targetting, planning, and attempting attacks on America. But that they were stopped was due to normal people paying attention, and not due to our military personnel overseas nor our government’s spending on security theater. Attempted attacks will continue whether or not we stay in Iraq for an extended time. And success or failure will still be in part due to intelligence work stopping attackers before they get to America and in part due to normal people being observant.

We need to plan for bringing our troops back home. If this results in another bad regime in Iraq, we can go in again and bring regime change, and hopefully if we have to do this, we’ll actually have a President who plans for past-assault operations as well. It’s not that we need our military home next month, but until we actually start planning to leave, we’ll not see the improvement necessary to make leaving seem acceptable. Expect the new Iraqi government to fix their problems and they will begin the needed work to make that happen.

[tags]Puppy dog terror theory disected, It’s time to plan for leaving Iraq[/tags]