Sunday, December 25, 2005

Cato Institute De-bunks Bush Worst Case Scenario

In making the case for an open-ended American military presence in Iraq, the Bush administration and its supporters have deployed various worst-case scenarios of what will occur in the event of a military withdrawal. The most important of these is the assertion that Iraq will become a terrorist haven if the United States leaves.

There is ample reason to doubt these claims. In a recent essay in The Boston Review, MIT's Barry Posen explained that the U.S. could not even be certain that a civil war, if one were to occur, would be a strategic boon for Al-Qaeda. More to the point, the U.S. does not need 150,000 troops in Iraq to pursue Al-Qaeda. The Zarqawi network is not going to be defeated by civil policing and neighborhood patrols.

The vast majority of Iraqis do not support Al-Qaeda's methods or objectives, and they would be even less likely to do so after the U.S. military left Iraq. As the president explained in his Naval Academy speech, Al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorists comprise the smallest of the three groups that make up the current insurgency. There is strong evidence that the other larger insurgent groups - Sunni Arab rejectionists, and pro-Saddam loyalists - would turn against the small number of foreign fighters currently waging the most deadly terrorist attacks. An Iraqi insurgent leader, Abu Qaqa al-Tamimi, recently told Time magazine: "One day, when the Americans have gone, we will need to fight another war, against these jihadis."

See Cato article.

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