Why You Don’t Swing At Strawmen

As they say, be careful what you wish for, it may just come true. Bush actually managed to prove this during his run up to the war in Iraq. He had labored so hard in trying to establish a link between Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda terror network, and Saddam Hussein’s secular dictatorship; he had tried and hoped and wished that he could convince people that al Qaeda was in Iraq, despite all intelligence and common sense to the contrary, that it’s somewhat poetic that, where there was no al Qaeda in Iraq before, a few years following the US invasion of that country there now is an al Qaeda in Iraq.

Of course, this isn’t the real al Qaeda, merely an al Qaeda Lite, but hey, it works, right? At least they share a name, let’s forget that AQI operated in Iraq for a while without even really recognizing Osam bin Laden’s organization, and even now I wonder how many Americans actually know the difference between the two organizations.

But none of that matters, what matters is that Bush now has an al Qaeda, they are in Iraq, and therefore he can, without technically lying, say that the al Qaeda terrorists are in Iraq (so he may have lied in the past by magnifying their contribution to violence in the war torn nation, and any claims that OBL is big into Iraq are a little dubious, especially considering he has been relatively silent lately, deferring to his top ranked officers, and focusing more on North Africa and Pakistan).

So if he’s able to wish an al Qaeda presence in Iraq into existence, what can’t he do? Speaking today in Washington, the President has again reminded us that al Qaeda are in Iraq, closely connected to Osama bin Laden (why is he still free again?) and that if we pull out now, AQI will pose a great threat to the United States.

You know folks, I just wanna pause right now and make this point right here. I’m a lazy amateur, and if you get debunked by me, you should be pretty ashamed of yourselves.

Okay, continuing on. So, yes, there’s an al Qaeda presence in Iraq, and Bush is pretty much directly responsible for that, the only way he could be MORE responsible is if he actually did manage to wish them into existence as opposed to flub up virtually every aspect of the Iraq invasion and occupation to the point where people were willing to partake in such an organization.

AQI closely associated with the OBL led organization? That one’s a little trickier. We know that as of earlier this year AQI, though pledging allegience to OBL, was still not taking it’s marching orders from the AQ organization leader. In recent months has this changed?

Now has this changed? Maybe maybe not, but there’s a telling paragraph in the recently released NIE, that expresses that the OBL led organization would have to “leverage” the AQI group in order to attack the US.

Leverage? This may seem nitpicky of me, but that word just leapt out at me when I first read it. And then the second time, and even the third time. If AQI is so closely tied with AQ, why would the latter have to leverage the former into doing anything? Especially attacking the infidel US?

TPM’s Spencer Ackerman makes the case that AQI may be busy, um, fighting in Iraq, which was why those crazy kids got together in the first place. I submit that, this is also probably because, it’s an independent organization that follows in bin Laden’s overall teachings, but has its own agenda and that is primarily Iraq… as the name would imply.

Which brings us to Bush’s final, and easiest point; that AQI would come kill us if we were to leave Iraq without exterminating them. This is, however, kinda silly. For one, in order for AQI to be a serious threat to the US, we would have to discount the entire bit about leveraging, and all questions about bin Laden’s ability to influence the group, and the group’s willingness to focus on something outside of Iraq, and neither are looking particularly strong.

But also, the group itself would have to be strong and have wide support, but as we learned just recently, the opposite is true. While Bush likes to turn AQI into this ferocious and vast beast of a terrorist organization, it’s nothing like that, and in fact, the organization looks like it is losing support from both its foot soldiers and the Iraqi people in general.

In other words, it looks as though the wind is going out of the AQI sails, leaving only the smallest core group of people.

Oh wait, hold on, I think I’m trembling in fear.

Now, you may think to yourself, “Well, if AQI is crumbling, that means we’re winning, and we should stick it out,” and I swear I oughtta pop you one for that. This is the other great fallacy of Bush’s that he likes to try and sell to anyone who will listen like someone trying to sell Rolex rip offs out of the trunk of there car.

AQI is not even remotely close to the largest or even second largest cause of violence in Iraq. In fact, while Bush often times sites AQI as the leader in violence, intelligence reports and experts list them dead last.

Here’s the bottom line. Bush likes to go after AQI because it’s good for his efforts to sell the war. People don’t like al Qaeda, they are our enemy, so when Bush is able to chase down a group that shares the same name, it helps him out politically. But this also points out a much more severe problem.

He is so anxious to find a political solution to his troubles in keeping the war in Iraq going, it is blinding him to the realities on the ground, and where the real violence is coming from; Sunni insurgents, and Shi’a militias, along with other smaller factions, all of whom are fighting a sectarian, CIVIL war.

Of course, saying that his inability to actually see this is, at this point, the equivalent of beating a dead horse’s sickly cousin after you’ve already emptied a couple of clips into said dead horse’s already deceased relatives.

This, boys and girls, is why you don’t swing and strawmen… they fall down, and when all is said and done, you look like a jackass.

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