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http://www.dailystar.com/star/today/30828DOWD-jihad.html Thursday, 28 August 2003 U.S. policy in Iraq has set loose the 'Jihad All-Star Team' By Maureen Dowd Yep, we've got 'em right where we want 'em. We've brought the fight to their turf, they're swarming into Iraq and blowing up our troops and other Westerners every day, and that's just where we want to be. Our exhausted and frustrated soldiers are in a hideously difficult environment they're not familiar with, dealing with a culture America only dimly understands, where our desperation for any intelligence has reduced us to recruiting Saddam's old spies, whom we didn't trust in the first place, and where we are so strapped that soldiers may have to start serving back-to-back yearlong overseas tours. We don't know exactly which of our ghostly Arab enemies are which, how many there are, who's plotting with whom, what weapons they have, how they're getting into Iraq, where they're hiding or who's financing and organizing them. And we certainly don't understand the violent internecine religious battles we've set in motion: At first, the Shiites were with us, and the Sunnis in the center of the country were giving us all the trouble. Now a new generation of radical Shiites is rising up and assassinating other Shiites aligned with us. They view us as the enemy and our quest as a chance to establish an Islamist state, which Rummy says won't be tolerated. In Tuesday's macabre milestone, the number of U.S. soldiers who have died since the war now exceeds the number who died during the war. But Republicans suggest that Iraq's turning into a terrorist magnet could be convenient - one-stop shopping against terrorism. As Rush Limbaugh observed, "We don't have to go anywhere to find them! They've fielded a Jihad All-Star team." The strutting, omniscient Bush administration would never address the possibility that our seizure of Iraq has left us more vulnerable to terrorists. So it is doing what it did during the war, when Central Command briefings routinely began with the iteration: "Coalition forces are on plan," "We remain on plan," "Our plan is working." Even though the Middle East has become a phantasmagoria of evil spirits, and even though some Bush officials must be muttering to themselves that they should have listened to the weenies at State and the nags at the CIA, Team Bush is sticking to its mantra that everything is going according to plan. As Condoleezza Rice put it on Monday, the war to defend the homeland "must be fought on the offense." Speaking to the American Legion on Tuesday, Bush discreetly ignored his administration's chaotic occupation plan and declaimed, "No nation can be neutral in the struggle between civilization and chaos." Echoing remarks by other officials, implying that it's better to have one big moment of truth and fight our enemies on their turf rather than ours, Bush said: "Our military is confronting terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan and in other places so our people will not have to confront terrorist violence in New York or St. Louis or Los Angeles." So that's the latest rationale for going into Iraq? We wanted an Armageddon with our enemies, so we decided to conquer an Arab country and drive the Muslim fanatics so crazy with their jihad mentality that they'd flip out and storm in, and then we'd kill them all? Terrorism is not, as Bush seems to suggest, a finite thing. Asked at a recent Pentagon town hall meeting how he envisioned the end state for the war on terror, Rumsfeld replied, "I guess the end state in the shortest response would be to not be terrorized." By doing their high-risk, audacious sociological and political makeover in Iraq, Bush officials and neocons hoped they could drain the terrorist swamp in the long run. But in the short run, they have created new terrorist-breeding swamps full of angry young Arabs who see America the same way Muslims saw Westerners during the Crusades: as Christian expansionist imperialists motivated by piety and greed. Just because the unholy alliance of Saddam loyalists, foreign fighters and Islamic terrorists has turned Iraq into a scary shooting gallery for our troops doesn't mean Americans at home are any safer. Since when did terrorists see terror as an either-or proposition? "Bring 'em on" sounded like a tinny, reckless boast the first time Bush said it. It doesn't sound any better when he says it louder with a chorus. * Maureen Dowd is a columnist for The New York Times, 229 W. 43rd St., New York, NY 10036; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email email@example.com All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk