Friday, June 25, 2004

The war in Iraq made al-Qaeda stronger

Why you're right:

1. The war in Iraq reenergized al-Qaeda. The International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) says, "the war in Iraq has focused the energies and resources of al-Qaeda and its followers." The group estimates al-Qaeda now "has 18,000 potential operatives and is present in more than 60 countries." (BBC)

2. The war in Iraq weakened the global counter-terrorism coalition. President Bush frames the war in Iraq as part of the broader, international effort to combat terrorism. But the war in Iraq was fought without an international consensus. IISS found that, as a result, the war had the effect of "diluting...the global counter-terrorism coalition."(BBC)

3. The war in Iraq unfocused counterterrorism efforts. According to an Army War College report, fighting the war in Iraq made the war on terror "dangerously indiscriminate and ambitious." As a result, America's counterterrorism campaign "is strategically unfocused, promises more than it can deliver, and threatens to dissipate U.S. military resources in an endless and hopeless search for absolute security." (Washington Post)

4. Since the war in Iraq, international terrorism is on the rise. According to a State Department report, "the number of significant international terrorism episodes rose slightly last year, and that the number of those injured in all international terrorism episodes went up by more than 50 percent." (New York Times)

Why they're wrong:

Supporters of the war in Iraq – including President Bush and Vice President Cheney – continue to say that it weakened al-Qaeda because Iraq had a relationship with al-Qaeda. But the independent bipartisan 9-11 commission reviewed the evidence and concluded there was no "collaborative relationship" between Iraq and al Qaeda. (Washington Post)