But Iraq and the Beslan separatists had NOTHING to do with 9/11!

Computer discs found in Iraq had data on California schools

I’ve been hearing about this story for a while now, but it has finally gone mainstream.

I’m more than a little surprised about that, to be perfectly honest.

The downloaded data the U.S. military found in July – all publicly available on the Internet – included an Education Department report guiding schools on how to prepare and respond to a crisis, one official said Thursday, speaking on condition of anonymity.

They were probably just researching a change in school districts for their kids.

In addition to California, the districts mentioned were in Florida, Georgia, Michigan, New Jersey and Oregon, officials said, adding that the FBI alerted local education and law enforcement authorities of the finding about three weeks ago.

Officials did not provide the names of the districts. But Kay Baker, superintendent of Oregon’s Salem-Keizer district, confirmed hers was among them.

If you don’t have kids, this should send chills down your spine. If you do have kids, this should scare the living shit out of you.

Yes, friends, just call me your friendly neighborhood Conservative Fear Monger if you like. I won’t even tell you to STFU. Because I won’t bother to acknowledge your presence.

Those folks out there claiming Iraq distracted us from the War on Terror are simply deluding themselves. This recent find is just another example of why they’re wrong wrong wrong.

If we’d found a computer disk with plans for the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and the White House in 2000, everyone would want to know why George Bush didn’t personally prevent 9/11. But now when something DOES turn up and warnings are issued, it’s treated like some big joke by those opposed to Bush’s policies.

At least I’m not bitter.

UPDATE: Chuck points out in comments that the info found is more recent than the invasion and that it doesn’t really prove anything about pre-invasion Iraq. He’s totally correct, and I wrote a lengthy response clarifying what I meant. Here’s the nutshell:

I didn’t mean for this latest find to justify the invasion. I meant for it to show how not everything in Iraq works against our longer-term goals. Maybe the guy that owned this disk would have turned up in Afghanistan if we hadn’t gone into Iraq. Maybe not.

Our activity in Iraq is bringing a lot of the sewer rats to street level. That sure makes a mess, but it also makes it easier to squash them.

The info on this disk is more recent than 9/11. But I don’t think that means that some terrorists weren’t looking into doing bad things to our children until we invaded Iraq.

What I’m getting at about Iraq’s relationship to the GWOT (or World War 4) is that there are both big short-term and long-term benefits to our operations in Iraq when looking at the overall big picture. Neither the long or short terms are sure things, of course, but I strongly beleive that both are worth the risk and the cost. Uncovering this disk is an example of some of the short-term returns we’re seeing.

UPDATE 2: Sheesh. In the comments Johno (of Ministry of Minor Perfidy fame) points out a CNN article that indicates that the owner of the disks

did have a connection to civic groups doing planning for schools in Iraq

Umm. Well. That might change things a bit. (In fact, a statement along these lines was a common sarcastic response on FR and other places.)

But it DOESN’T change my arguments about Iraq and the War on Terror. This incident may turn out to be something totally different than my kneejerk reaction instinct, and if this was a lone incident or if all similar incidents were so easily explained away I might think differently. But they aren’t and I don’t.

UPDATE 3: By the way, both of these updates are examples of why I think the blogosphere actually has MORE credibility than Big Media at this point.

Comments

  1. All this proves is that there are terrorists in Iraq in 2004. The stuff on those disks is all new since the war started. We already know there are lots of terrorists in Iraq. Most of them moved there during the war. What this does NOT show is that there were terrorists there before the war.

  2. Chuck: You’re right that this doesn’t prove the presence of terrorists in Iraq before the invasion. There’s a lot of conflicting info on that, but there’s no doubt that there are are a lot more there now than before. That doesn’t really change the fact that Iraq is a big part on the ‘War on Terror’ or whatever you want to call it. First off, the presence of terrorists in Iraq means those same guys aren’t somewhere else where they can do a lot more harm. Second off, we’re killing a fair number of them. Thirdly, Iraq serves the War on Terror (or World War 4, as I prefer to call it) by bing a base for operations against some of the big players (Syria, Iran, Saudi Arabia, etc.) should we pursue military action or even just threaten military action against any of them. This is the short-term reason Iraq makes sense. Fourth, Iraq serves the Fourth World War in the long-term IF we can get a democratic system set up there. As you well know (if you’re the Chuck I think you are) we’ve made a lot of progress but we’ve got a long, long ways to go. We won’t really know about this one until the people that are little kids in Iraq right now are running the country. If this long-term plan fails, though, the short-term plan still has benefits. I didn’t mean for this latest find to justify the invasion. I meant for it to show how not everything in Iraq works against our longer-term goals. Maybe the guy that owned this disk would have turned up in Afghanistan if we hadn’t gone into Iraq. Maybe not. Our activity in Iraq is bringing a lot of the sewer rats to street level. That sure makes a mess, but it also makes it easier to squash them. The info on this disk is more recent than 9/11. But I don’t think that means that some terrorists weren’t looking into doing bad things to our children until we invaded Iraq. I’m not disagreeing with your point at all. I just don’t think your point and mine really cancel each other out. Thanks for commenting.

  3. Ah, OK, I see what you’re saying. I do think your original post has a different slant than your response here.