On Fox News’s The O’Reilly Factor last night, former Bush adviser Karl Rove defended the invasion of Iraq five years ago, saying that “if we win,” it “will send a powerful message throughout the Islamic world.” Claiming that “the Muslim world is waiting to see who is going to win the conflict” between “al Qaeda” and “the West,” Rove argued that a continued U.S. presence could create “energy for reform throughout the Middle East.”
“By winning, we will send a powerful message that the momentum is on our side,” said Rove. “And it will rally the Muslim world to us.”
Too bad we’re not winning, then. Hell, not only are we not winning the War On Terror, we aren’t even competing. Sure, the Bushies have spouted a lot of tough pro wrestler talk about Confronting and Keeping Us Safe, and they’ve used it to justify illegal spying and torture, but what have they actually done?
- Pre-9/11, sneered at warnings and did not want to talk about terrorism at all.
- Made no serious effort to capture bin Laden at Tora Bora.
- Blew up Iraq without a plan (or the troops) to put it back together, disbanded the Iraqi military and civil service, and turned a blind eye toward torture, rape and murder. Iraq is now the world’s largest terrorist recruiting poster.
- Gave Musharraf a free pass on giving al Qaeda a free pass, allowing them to regroup and rebuild (see above). They also shrugged it off when Musharraf let A.Q. Khan off the hook for selling plans for nuclear weapons. Not to mention the whole being-a-dictator thing, when Dubya is supposed to be the Heroic Champion Of Democracy.
- Resisted efforts to improve port and plant security, or to allocate DHS anti-terror funding based on risk.
For an epic Most Important Struggle Evar with so much at stake, they really aren’t trying very hard. And the companion effort to turn Iraq into a shining beacon of Democracy isn’t going much better – "Overextend the military while we try to jawbone the Iraqis into sorting themselves out" isn’t much of a strategy.
"The Muslim world" isn’t watching to see if we win, they’re watching to see how spectacularly we lose, and hoping that we don’t take too many more of their brethren with us.