John McCain demonstrated a Bush level of stupidity when he chastised Obama about supposedly not knowing there is "al Qaeda in Iraq."
There is such a thing, but McCain (and a lot of Democrats for that matter) forget to include some important details.
- The military admits they inflated al Qaeda and Zarqawi's role in the insurgency for propaganda purposes in both Iraq and the US.
- Israelis and Saudis separately studied our interrogations of foreign fighters captured in Iraq and found that most had no prior connection to al Qaeda and were motivated by our invasion, not religious fundamentalism.
- Our friends the Saudis send more foreign fighters to Iraq than any other country,and half of those guys are suicide bombers. You know, the guys who blow up markets, cars, and mosques?
- The Iraqis don't like al Qaeda. The Bushies use this to make the leap to say that they don't like all the insurgency. The reality is Iraqis recognize al Qaeda is responsible for attacks on civilians and are trying to inflame sectarian violence, and sectarian violence is one of our excuses for staying.
To the extent Iraqis themselves are fighting us, it's for a couple of reasons:
- We broke stuff when we invaded and didn't fix it.
- Unemployment is as high or higher in Iraq than it was in the US during the Great Depression. That was considered such a crisis here in the 1930s, that people wondered whether we would lurch toward communism or a fascist dictatorship.
- We ruled by decree initially and still exercise veto power over who the Iraqis pick as leaders and the actions they take. Some leaders from the Iraqi oil workers union were touring the US last year, and they were still mad about all the decrees of Bush-appointed colonial governor Paul Bremer, especially the ones forcing privatization of public assets.
When the Iraqi government shows signs of independence, Bush pulls on their choke chain HARD. Bush told them to fire their first elected prime minister Jafari, the guy who wanted to meet Noam Chomsky, and they did.
The current prime minister, Maliki has said Bush will FIRE him if he doesn't get the Hydrocarbon Law passed.
- One of the biggest reasons Iraqis aren't happy we are there is the least discussed: that Hydrocarbon Law Bush is trying to force down the throats of Iraqis gives 88% of the income from Iraqis oil to big oil companies, a deal countries like Saudi, Kuwait, or Iran would never take without a gun to their head. If we wanted to make friends there, we'd let them pass a law that no Iraqi could possibly disapprove of. The Iraqis would be happy, we'd have access to that oil, but the oil companies would have slightly lower profits. That tells you how important the Iraqis or even we are to the folks in DC.
The bottom line is as little as 1% of Iraqis feel safer because we are there and overwhelming majorities want us to leave.
How are we teaching them democracy by ignoring that?