General Wes Clark nails all the points
by up2date [Subscribe]
Sun Aug 28th, 2005 at 16:57:58 PDT
Cross posted from It Affects You
As usual, General Wesley Clark gets it right. Today on Meet the Press: 
Mr. Russert: Was it a mistake to go into Iraq?
Gen. Clark: Well, I think it was a strategic blunder. First it wasn't connected to the war on terror, at least not to the people that struck us. Secondly, it has proved a huge recruitment tool for al-Qaeda. It's a feed lot for terrorists who want to learn how to fight Americans. We put our American soldiers at risk there. And we're producing terrorists out there. It's a training ground. And seeing American soldiers engaged there just raises the temperature and the blood pressure throughout the Islamic world. So I wish we hadn't done it. But having said that, I still believe there's an opportunity to make the best of a bad situation in Iraq. I don't want to see us come out of there if we can put a strategy together that will leave that region more peaceful and protect our interests and the interests of the other nations.
He answers direct and hits all the points. I've been writing several days now how the Bush administration and its supporters have transitioned completely away from discussing Iraq in any context outside the war on terror. Listening to the administration, one is led to believe we have been fighting against al Qaeda from day one. Those criticizing the war in Iraq come under ridiculous attacks from administration officials like Trent Duffy ("He can understand that people don't share his view that we must win the war on terror"  or "Well, first of all, the President has spoken continuously about the way he approaches this war, following September 11th, 2001." ) See how it works? If you are critical of the war in Iraq, you don't want to win the war on terror. And this war is and always has been about terror, and we have been fighting against terrorists since day one.
Given the president's low approval ratings in general and specifically on his handling of the war in Iraq, and factoring in the Conservative flair for sleight of hand tricks and attacks against anyone with a diverging point of view, this turn comes as no surprise. What is particularly disconcerting is the way the media has generally rolled over on this. When BushCo uses terror as justification for the war or frames the war solely in terms of terror, the press has lazily reprinted quotes without pointing out just how Iraq got that way. And Democratic leaders have not pressed forward on this. So it's great to see the General answer as he did.
He pointed out:
"First it wasn't connected to the war on terror"
"Secondly, it has proved a huge recruitment tool for al-Qaeda"
"It's a feed lot for terrorists who want to learn how to fight Americans... It's a training ground"
"But having said that, I still believe there's an opportunity to make the best of a bad situation in Iraq."
It sums up all the main points. Iraq was not originally part of the war on terror, but it has become terrorist recruiting and training grounds on a massive scale not despite Bush's policies but because of Bush's policies. And the last bit was particularly good. Bush is actually using terrorists in Iraq to help shore up support for the war in Iraq. But the reality is he should be apologizing for it. We must clean up his mess and recover the ground he surrendered in the real war against terror. As the General said, we have to make the best of a bad situation Bush created.
For some contrast, also on the panel was General Montgomery Meigs:
Mr. Russert: But those opposed to the war will say there's no comparison between World War II and Iraq; that one was a war of choice and one was a war of necessity. Those opposed to the war will say that we entered this war on the rationale of weapons of mass destruction that do not exist. Those who oppose the war will say that the number of troops that were necessary to conduct the war and the level of armament was woefully inadequate. And that it is--and that we would be greeted as liberators. None of those things have happened. And it's time to take the troops home because this was a tragic blunder.
Gen. Meigs: Tim, it doesn't matter. We're there. We lanced the boil. We're there.
That pretty well sums up the Conservative argument, doesn't it? We're there, so shut up.
LINK TO ORIGINAL