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December 06, 2005

If we leave Iraq, the terrorists will win.

Speaking at Johns Hopkins University's Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld warned that al-Qaida leaders such as Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and Osama bin Laden would seize power in the wake of an American withdrawal and turn Iraq into the kind of terrorist safe haven that Afghanistan was before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

Something that could never have happened before we invaded Iraq and turned the country into a terrorist breeding ground. (I accept that admitting to the USofA's contribution to Afghanistan becoming a safe haven for terrorists would have given Rumsfeld an aneurism.)

"The message that retreat would send to the free people of Iraq and to moderate Muslim reformers throughout the region and the world would be that they cannot count on America," Rumsfeld said.

They already know that.

The Bush administration has been warning of the dangers of a new caliphate - an Islamic superstate based on Islamic laws with religious and political authority over much of the Muslim world - to bolster waning support for its policy in Iraq.

The message is similar to the domino theory that U.S. officials used 40 years ago to muster support for the Vietnam War by arguing that abandoning South Vietnam would allow the communists to conquer neighboring countries such as Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia.

The disaster that we've created in Iraq is no one's fault but our own. As distasteful and undemocratic as Saddam "The Americans Put Me In Office, You Know" Hussein was, and as much as I would have wanted him removed and a better government installed by the Iraqi people, the danger of Iraq becoming a terrorist haven for violent Islamic fundamentalists was pretty much nil under his regime.

And as much as my heart and head scream for us to get out of their country, I fear what will happen when we do. But I also suspect that the sooner we leave, the better off Iraq will be in the long run.

And...the one thing I've learned in the last four or five years is that whatever the Bush Administration is doing, it's almost guaranteed to be exactly the opposite of the right thing to do.

Rumsfeld say we have to stay.

That makes our path clear. Bring 'em home.

Posted by AnneZook at 10:45 AM