Iraq and Jihadist Terrorists

My article “Iraq and Jihadist Terrorists” is up at Strategic Insights.

The conclusion:

Whether toppling Saddam’s regime in Iraq was worth the opportunity cost of diverting forces from other targets-let alone the immense continuing cost in blood and treasure-is beyond the scope of this paper, and is surely a matter the reader is competent to judge in the course of time. Completely aside from those questions, however, the war unquestionably removed a significant state sponsor of jihadist terrorists[35]. In so doing, however, it attracted thousands of them to the region to do battle with U.S. forces, hoping to defeat a second superpower in as many generations.

It remains to be seen whether the latter is a positive development. Certainly, it is preferable to fight terrorists in an open battle, using highly skilled soldiers, than to have them operate on the American homeland. The U.S. and its allies have killed or captured dozens of key terrorist leaders and hundreds of jihadist footsoldiers. It is unclear, of course, how many the invasion created.

Click the link for the rest.

FILED UNDER: Intelligence, Iraq War, Published Elsewhere, Terrorism,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.