IRAQ AND TERRORISM
OpinionJournal has an interesting lead editorial on the subject. The money ‘graph is this:
As a “soft-target” the U.N. was of course more vulnerable to a truck bomb. But the U.N. was no doubt also chosen to intimidate countries that are now contemplating the dispatch of either troops or civilian experts to help rebuild Iraq. The persistent attacks on water mains, oil pipelines and other essential infrastructure are also designed to prevent stability from returning to Baghdad.
In an important sense, of course, this is merely validating what some of us have said all along about the war in Iraq. The link between Saddam and al Qaeda might not have been provable beyond a reasonable doubt, but they shared the common purpose of ousting the U.S. from the Middle East. Now the foreign jihadis flooding the country are proving the point by joining up with Baath Party remnants that want to restore Saddam’s terrorist rule.
We don’t know yet who was responsible for yesterday’s attack, but one possibility is Ansar al Islam. This is the al Qaeda-linked group that was rooted out of northern Iraq last March and is now making a comeback. Ansar’s signature is truck bombs of the ilk that exploded yesterday and on August 7 at the Jordanian embassy in Baghdad.
The obvious retort is that the war engendered this act of terrorism. But the general point is correct. Clearly, there is a large network of anti-Western, especially anti-US terrorist groups in the region. Clearly, Saddam was hospitable to several of them.
Frankly, I have no idea the degree to which the groups are coordinated with al Qaeda. Frankly, I don’t think it matters. Some (including such otherwise rational individuals as Sen. Bob Graham) operate under the impression that the war on terrorism is actually just a war on al Qaeda, since they were directly responsible for the 9/11 attacks. But that has never been the case. Unfortunately, as with the WMD evidence, the administration overemphasized the al Qaeda connection because it was the easiest angle to sell the war.