I guess I thought the answer to this question would be obvious, but it isn’t terribly clear to everyone.
2a) If the US leaves, Iraq will become a terrorist haven
2b) If the US leaves, the terrorist will follow us back to the US
(Of course these can’t both be true…
The ignorance of this is staggering. 2a appears to be almost certainly true. 2b isn’t nearly as sure, but it seems likely and certainly possible.
But what’s amazing is the assertion that they can’t both be true.
That’s astoundingly dumb. Even if you argue that the best way to combat terrorism is to hole up behind a protective isolationist wall, even if you believe that only goal in a Global War on Terror should be to prevent future 9/11 attacks, you must recognize that terrorists in the safe haven of Afghanistan planned and coordinated those very 9/11 attacks on America.
We can argue all day about how much damage scattering al Qaeda to the winds has caused their organization. Their loose network of affiliated groups and decentralized leadership makes them very difficult to destroy, and obviously they’re harder to track down when hiding than when they’re relaxing in the relatively open Taliban haven of Afghanistan. But that doesn’t mean that destroying the havens was the wrong thing to do, particularly if you subscribe to the theory that all we should be doing is making sure that 9/11 never happens again.
The truth is that many who say they supported the invasion of Afghanistan but are against the invasion of Iraq were not actually supportive of the invasion of Afghanistan at the time. I know several folks who claim to understand that invading Afghanistan was justified but don’t see what the invasion of Iraq has to do with the war against terrorism. They seem to have conveniently forgotten the arguments they had with me about the invasion of Afghanistan in September and October of 2001.
My guess is that, when it comes time for military action in Iran or Syria or Somalia, many of these same folks will be claiming that though they could understand why Afghanistan and Iraq had to be dealt with, they just don’t see why the latest campaign is necessary.
So many of the folks who say that they support certain methods of fighting terrorism but not the methods currently being employed, don’t really seem to support any methods at all.