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Born at the Crest of the Empire

Friday, March 02, 2007

Why US soldiers are still dying in Iraq

Wesley Clark was on Democracy Now this morning and during his extended interview, he made an argument as to why he felt the US has to stay in Iraq.

If the US were to withdraw, Saudi Arabia would be forced to fill some of the vacuum for their own interests in offsetting Shia power in Iraq and the region. The most likely way the Saudis would accomplish this is by arming Sunni groups in the Iraq civil war. (No surprises yet.)

But then Clark pointed out that the Saudis would likely fund the best trained, most committed Sunni fighters, Al Qaeda.

So, the argument is that US soldiers are dying because "our ally" is threatening to fund, arm, and train the next generation of Al Qaeda who, after fighting US marines for four years, has more than enough hatred and recruits to terrorize the US for a generation.

Not exactly the clean, "fight them over there so we don't have to fight them over here" argument, eh?

(I am struck by the parallel that we are also confronting Iran over its nuclear program to prevent the Israelis from "confronting" Iran.)

Note: This post is not an endorsement of Clark's argument, just a presentation of a Democratic rationale for staying in Iraq.

Also, as Matteo pointed out in the comments, there's already ample evidence that "private citizens" in Saudi Arabia are funneling tens of millions to Iraqi Sunni groups, money that funds attacks on US Marines.


  • I thought Saudi Arabia was already arming Sunni insurgent groups. Well I guess technically it's private Saudi citizens, but the government has done nothing to stop this transfer of funds, going so far as to deny that it even takes place.

    So what, when the US leaves, they are going to start "officially" funding the insurgents?

    By Blogger Matteo Tomasini, at 12:39 PM  

  • Very true.

    You hit on a basic flaw in this argument. That the Saudis are already sending money that is being used for weapons against US Marines in Anbar.

    The Saudis have used "private citizens" as their black money for decades, and there's lots of evidence they are currently pouring money into Sunni groups.

    I think you make a good point questioning whether the Saudis going over the table would make any real difference.

    I would draw a minor distintction between sending money through the Iraqi Sunni "political" organizations and direct to Al Qaeda only because it would give some control to the political Iraqi groups, but in the end a certain percentage of that is flowing to Al Qaeda in Iraq.

    (And, I wasn't really endorsing this Wes Clark argument, but I thought within the broader politics of the region it was interesting.)


    By Blogger mikevotes, at 2:00 PM  

  • And, Matteo, I changed the wording in the post just a little to reflect my comments above.

    Thanks for the feedback.

    Sometimes on a slow news day, I get a little loose while trying to fill between pictures.


    By Blogger mikevotes, at 2:37 PM  

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