Cal Thomas and Douglas Feith's Fantasyland Version of Iraq
Reported by Ellen - March 28, 2005
Saturday night's After Hour with Cal Thomas featured an interview with Douglas Feith, Under Secretary of Defense, at the Pentagon. Feith and Thomas discussed the war in Iraq, yet ignored so many realities that they may as well have been talking about a made-up country. It certainly wasn't the real Iraq.
Asked for an assessment of the state of Iraq two years after the fall of Saddam Hussein, Douglas Feith made this less than trenchant observation: The overall trends seem to be that there's a greater sense on the part of the Iraqi people that the future is not with the Baathists. It's not gonna be a return of Saddam and his people. The future is with the new political arrangements..."
Comment: Well, duh. But actually, it may have been his most astute comment on the subject.
Thomas: Billions and billions of dollars spent, over a thousand lives lost (Correction: that's over a thousand American lives lost. Tens of thousands of Iraqis have died), many others wounded. Has it been worth it so far? Will it be worth it in the end in terms of money and blood?
Feith: After 9/11 it became clear that the principal danger that we faced in the war on terrorism was the possibility that one of the state sponsors of terrorism could provide weapons of mass destruction to a terrorist group and use it in the United States. If that happened, the casualties would not be 3,000 as we suffered on 9/11 (video of World Trade Center rubble shown) but it could be ten or a hundred times that number and even though Saddam Hussein's stockpiles have not been found (no mention of the stockpiles that were looted, right out from under the US forces' noses, the same US forces that serve under Feith), he clearly had weapons of mass destruction programs(video of Saddam Hussein handling long saber), he clearly had a history of hostility to us, of aggression, of support for terrorist organizations. He was a major danger and I think the American people, and the world in general are much better off, much safer now that he has been removed.
Comment: What happened to the wonderful liberation we supposedly provided the Iraqis and the spreading of Democracy around the Middle East, thanks to Bush? It's odd that Feith didn't mention it. Maybe it's because Iraqis are not better off now? An ominous article in yesterday's New York Times says,
Seen in one way, kidnapping is just another facet of the security vacuum created by the American-led invasion of Iraq and never really filled despite the hiring and training of tens of thousands of Iraqi police officers. But because of the harrowing effect the kidnapping industry has on Iraqi families, especially the prosperous and educated families whose children are special targets, investigators see kidnapping as a thing unto itself.
Scattered anecdotal evidence suggests that the epidemic of kidnapping, especially of children, is a force like no other in driving from Iraq the educated professionals who are critically needed for the rebuilding of the country.
Finally, Thomas asked, "Are we safer now by any standard than we were September 10, 2001?" (Comment: He had to ask the question twice to get a straight answer from Feith)
Feith: Homeland Security actually begins abroad and our interest is in confronting threats as close as possible to the source of the threat... We are not safe enough, let's put it that way. I think we are doing a sensible, energetic policy of confronting the terrorists and forcing them onto defense.
Comment: Oh, really? Apparently neither Feith nor Thomas are aware of the alarming information provided in an article by Christopher Dickey in the March 21, 2005 issue of Newsweek titled, Jihad Express, subtitled, "For Islamic militants in Europe, Iraq far outshines Afghanistan as an urban-terrorism training ground." Some excerpts:
All over Europe, in fact, investigators now face the threat of terrorists who are virtually self-taught, organized in groups with little or no central command and united by their obsession with the jihad against Americans in Iraq. "It has become a battle cry for Islamists around the world," says Michael Taarnby, author of a report on terrorist recruiting for the Danish Justice Ministry. Their most devastating blow to date was not inside Iraq but in Madrid last year, when a gruesome bombing spree killed 191 people in retaliation for Spain's presence in Iraq...
... (They) had little impact on the Iraq war. But they represent a growing threat to Europe - and, some studies suggest, to the United States...
...As early as 2002, Zarqawi understood the potential for recruiting "Euro-jihadists," and the attraction the impending Iraq war would have for them. In February of that year, according to recently unsealed Spanish court documents, Zarqawi set up a meeting in Istanbul with prospective North African allies. He proceeded to build a new network of existing cells spanning Western Europe, effectively creating a second Qaeda...
...Recent arrests suggest how Europe's jihadi movement has grown. In Germany, for example, officials rounded up 22 people in the city of Ulm and charged them with forging passports and other travel documents that could be used for travel to Iraq. A few weeks ago, near Mainz, the Germans arrested an Iraqi identified only as Ibrahim Mohamed K., who was charged with trying to enlist a Palestinian immigrant in Germany for a suicide mission in Iraq. More ominously, Ibrahim Mohamed K. was also accused of trying to obtain 48 grams of enriched uranium through a middleman in Luxembourg so he could make a radiological "dirty bomb."