Sunday, September 11, 2005

September 11th

Today's the fourth anniversary of 9/11. Some people don't see the connection between what happened on 9/11 and where we are today with Iraq. For me, the connection couldn't be clearer. Before 9/11, we shrank from taking on our enemies on their soil. Before 9/11, Al-Qaeda blew up the US embassy in Kenya, attacked the USS Cole in Yemen. What did we do? We sent some cruise missiles their way, but not much more.
After 9/11, we took the battle to the enemy in Afghanistan, but that's like closing the barn door after all the horses have escaped. We'd already been attacked. Everyone was blasting Bush after 9/11 with questions like "Why didn't we know about this plot beforehand and move to stop it?" Well, when confronted with evidence of WMD in Iraq, Bush decided to move to stop the threat before it came to our shores.
Here's where the disconnect comes for most people. The cynical ones think that Bush manufactured evidence and skewed things in favor of invading Iraq in order to get revenge for Saddam trying to assassinate his father and/or to make a grab for Iraqi oil. I disagree. The intelligence presented to the president was flawed, yes, but the President has to rely on his people to feed him good info. I've been on exercises where the S2 (intelligence officer) predicted that the enemy would most certainly do X with equipment A and they ended up doing Y with equipment B.
What this all comes down to is that President Bush was presented with information of a credible threat from Iraq and he acted to eliminate that threat before it came to our shores again. I admire him for doing that. He took the hard right over the easy wrong choice.
The fact that we did not find WMDs in Iraq in any great quantity indicates a failure of actionable intelligence, not a failure of leadership from the top.
So here we are, four years later with over 2,000 servicemen and -women dead in the Global War on Terror. Make no mistake: the fight in Iraq is central to the War on Terror. No matter how we got there, we're there now and there are hundreds of wanna-be terrorists crossing into Iraq each day wanting to take a poke at Americans. Well these Americans in Iraq have body armor and weapons to fight the terrorists. That's more than the grandmothers on flight 93 had. So I say bring it on. If terrorists want a fight, there's 160,000 Americans in this theater (including me) and we all volunteered to serve.
Now if we bail out on this mission, there will be no free Iraq and things will go back to the isolationism of the late 90's.
Oh, and we will have lost another war because the public failed to understand that "supporting the troops" means supporting the mission that they are fighting and dying for.