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Born at the Crest of the Empire

Thursday, September 07, 2006

The Iraq connection to the war on terror

In an interview with Katie Couric, Bush makes what I think is his most explicit explanation of why he thinks that Iraq is a part of the "war on terror."
"You know, one of the hardest parts of my job is to connect Iraq to the war on terror. I believe it. As I told you, Osama bin Laden believes it. But the American people — have gotta understand that a defeat in Iraq — in other words, if this government there fails, the terrorists will be emboldened, the radicals will topple moderate governments. I truly believe this is the ideological struggle of the 21st century. And the consequences for not achieving success are — are dire."

Looking past the obvious convolution of "terrorists" with indigineous anti-government forces in Arab countries, what is Bush telling us here?

Bush is saying we are still in Iraq because we are fighting to maintain the Saudi monarchy. US soldiers are dying in Iraq because we are trying to maintain the anti-democratic regimes in Kuwait and Pakistan. This is what Bush sees as the ideological struggle of the 21st century.

I'm willing to debate the relative value of stability in Saudi or Pakistan, but that's a long reach from 9-11. Staying in Iraq to prop up repressive monarchs and dictators is a long way from a "Freedom Agenda."

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