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Wednesday, February 13, 2008


Al-Qaeda in Iraq is not the issue

posted by Aziz P. at Wednesday, February 13, 2008 permalink View blog reactions
At RedState, Pejman takes Andrew Sullivan to task for an assertion that McCain would withdraw troops from Iraq. I am not defending Andrew's assertion (if anything, the opposite seems more likely, that Obama will not withdaw from Iraq, nor would any Democratic president). However, Pejman makes the following statement in the course of his argument:

al Qaeda will consolidate itself in an anarchic Iraq and use it as a staging ground for the next terrifying attack on the United States and on American interests--think Afghanistan in the run-up to 9/11

is simply misinformed. No one who reads Michael Yon or Michael Totten on a regular basis will believe that Al Qaeda will ever be able to reconstitute itself in Iraq, not with the infrastructure (weak and fledgling though it remains at present) of the Iraqi forces and the tribes. Whatever leverage AQ-Iraq had in the past has been squandered and they are hated fiercely.

Afghanistan is another matter, and there is where the true danger of a reconstituted AQ indeed lies, which is why our losing the war there in slow motion (as Yon has powerfully argued) is now our more pressing concern. The mainstream media has been dutifully reporting the truth about how dangerous and unstable Afghanistan is as well. On that score, I think Obama does indeed outperform McCain (who is too Iraq-centric).

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About Nation-Building

Nation-Building was founded by Aziz Poonawalla in August 2002 under the name Dean Nation. Dean Nation was the very first weblog devoted to a presidential candidate, Howard Dean, and became the vanguard of the Dean netroot phenomenon, raising over $40,000 for the Dean campaign, pioneering the use of Meetup, and enjoying the attention of the campaign itself, with Joe Trippi a regular reader (and sometime commentor). Howard Dean himself even left a comment once. Dean Nation was a group weblog effort and counts among its alumni many of the progressive blogsphere's leading talent including Jerome Armstrong, Matthew Yglesias, and Ezra Klein. After the election in 2004, the blog refocused onto the theme of "purple politics", formally changing its name to Nation-Building in June 2006. The primary focus of the blog is on articulating purple-state policy at home and pragmatic liberal interventionism abroad.