'Intelligent discontent is the mainspring of civilization.' -- Eugene V. Debs

Monday, January 17, 2005

Where's Ari When You Need Him? 

This little performance is somewhat stale by blogging standards but is a wonderful example of Scottie breaking out his "A" material, and, I think, it didn't get the play it deserved.

The context is a discussion of the recent CIA report that concluded as a consequence of Bush's war Iraq has become a training ground for terrorists like Afghanistan in the 80's. The Independent summarized the report as follows:

According to David Low, a senior NIC official, Iraq has been transformed into "a training and recruitment ground, and an opportunity [for terrorists] to enhance their technical skills".

The likelihood now - even in the best case scenario where the upcoming Iraqi elections restore some stability to the country - is that foreign terrorists currently operating there will "go home, wherever home is", and disperse across the world as new threats to the US.

Scottie contends that the report actually supports the invasion of Iraq and that Iraq becoming a school for terrorists is a good thing because it's not like "terrorists would just be sitting around doing nothing if we weren't staying on the offensive":

Q But has the war -- did the war create a vacuum that has made it more conducive for terrorists to use Iraq as a base?

MR. McCLELLAN: The President talked about that during the campaign. I mean, that's just a misunderstanding of the war on terrorism.

Q -- the President to talk about this, as a central front of the war on terrorism, when essentially, what the report is suggesting is that it is a central front created by and essentially helping terrorism.

MR. McCLELLAN: Did the report say that?

Q -- insinuating that it's a place where it's a breeding ground for --

MR. McCLELLAN: I think the report, like I said, confirms that we have the right strategy for winning the war on terrorism, which is to stay on the offensive and go after the terrorists, and to work to spread freedom and hope to regions of the world that have only known tyranny and oppression. And the war on terrorism is won by staying on the offensive and spreading freedom.

We are staying on the offensive to defeat the terrorists, and to suggest otherwise is just a misunderstanding. We are fighting them abroad so that we don't have to fight them at home. The terrorists recognize how high the stakes are. The elections coming up in Iraq are a significant achievement for the Iraqi people, and it's another step forward on the path to democracy in Iraq. And when we achieve peace and democracy in Iraq, it will be a significant blow to the ambitions of the terrorists and their ideology of hatred and oppression that they espouse.

Q Does the President --

MR. McCLELLAN: That's the stakes that are involved. This is a struggle of ideologies. It is an epic struggle, and the stakes are high.

Q Does the President disagree with the report's conclusion that the war and the uncertainty on the ground has created a breeding ground for terrorism?

MR. McCLELLAN: I think we just answered this question. We just went through it, so I would go back to what I just said, and those are, I think, the points to make.

Q I mean, the reason that we keep asking the question again is that it's just confusing to me how you can say it confirms your strategy is the right approach when there is terrorism in Iraq now, a terrorist breeding ground in Iraq now and growing there, and wasn't there before. So how does that confirm your approach?

MR. McCLELLAN: That's assuming that terrorists would just be sitting around doing nothing if we weren't staying on the offensive in the war on terrorism.
I mean, by going on the offensive we've been able to liberate two countries, the people of two countries -- in Afghanistan and Iraq. And now we must continue to do everything we can to support efforts to build democratic futures for the people of the region. And that's exactly what we'll continue to do.

But I disagree with the characterization of the report, because I think the report confirms that we have the right strategy to win the war on terrorism, because of what I said a minute ago. So I would disagree with that. And this is -- the report looks at much more than just that. It's a speculative report that looks at a number of areas in the world, and we welcome the report. It's important to look at what the report has to say. And I don't think we've had time to look at the whole report, and I would encourage each of you to look at the whole report, as well, and maybe -- because I think some of the characterization is off the mark.

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