Victor Davis Hanson - Has Iraq Weakened US ?

He was on Fox tonight and he thinks Iraq is where Afghanistan was at the same 20 month point. He see's alot of similarities. We wont have long to see how it turn's out.
Excellent Article.

Whilst I agree to a point there are flaws in the assessment and significantly he goes off with his own prejudices.

Pundits speak of poverty as the catalyst for terrorism in the Islamic world; in fact, far more often it is not the dearth but the spectacular abundance of wealth in Middle Eastern societies that has incited and then fueled the killers. In theocratic Iran, oil money is recycled both to Hizballah and the nuclear-weapons program. In Saudi Arabia, Western dollars translate into Wahhabi mosques and madrassas all over the world. Saddam Hussein not only corrupted much of the industrialized Western world via the UN’s Oil-for-Food program but had earlier attacked four countries with his petrodollar-acquired arsenal. Al-Jazeera, the propaganda successor to Pravda, and critical to the insurrectionists’ efforts in the Sunni triangle, is an indirect dividend from Qatar’s oil revenues.
It is too simple to say that poverty is not one of the causes of terrorism. It is both the wealth imbalance and poverty. In countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh, Egypt etc where the families of children pay for education because it is not funded by the government, this is one the roots of the problem. Poor families are faced with either paying for an education or going to where money is given philanthropically, where the education is tied to a particular political tilt. To break this cycle, these countries need to publicly fund state education that is secular or at least not based upon Shariah Law.

Further, whether you like Al Jazeera or not, they are not a front for Islamic Terrorism anymore than the Guardian is a front for the communist party or the Daily Mail is a front for the BNP. Al Jazeera formed when the BBC cut back it Arab Service, most journalist are BBC trained and have western educations. It is purely that Al Jazeera takes an editorial line that reflects the Arab world. The funny thing is the one country that Al Jazeera is banned from reporting from is Iraq!

I found on the web an excellent account of the early years of the US/Pakistani involvement in Afghanistan.

The analysis of the Secular and Fundamentalist warlords capabilities, is eye opening. If you compare the afghan campaign with the Iraq, it is clear that the insurgency will reduce as weapons are expended and even with Syrian/Iranian support the insurgency they will not be able to exploit US/Iraqi weaknesses as effectively as the Mujahdeen were able to.

The true test comes after the election. It is worth noting that the insurgents are becoming more and more Islamic and less nationalistic; which I believe will further undermine them and alienate them from the Iraqi population. However, if an Iraqi government asks that the US to leave or to significantly reduce its presence, and US refuse, it will hand the insurgents the nationalist calling card which will register from Safwan to Mosul. The US and interim government is getting there but they must avoid the own goal of re-awakening the nationalist cause within Iraq.

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