Quoting John Ringo
John does not have a blog per se, but he does have Ringo's Tavern at http://bar.baen.com/
. Like many a doofus, me for instance, much of his best blogging stuff is wasted on a rapidly disintegrating forum. I am quoting a post of his completely and verbatim less the thread because he made a great point that I wish I had articulated.
The premise of the question is false. There was not a "war" in Iraq, there
was a _campaign_ in Iraq. It was one campaign (during which others were
ongoing) in what some people are now calling the Fourth World War. (The cold
war being the third.)
Prior to the Iraq campaign, the Arabs still saw us as soft. Even after
Afghanistan they could hold Saddam up as someone who had "beaten" the US.
(Yes, _beaten_. We didn't take him out of power, therefore he won and all
the news about how badly we trounced him was, clearly, propaganda. Nobody
could have won that handily and then walked away. The Arabs that oppose us
do NOT HAVE THE CONCEPT of mercy to a defeated foe.)
After the Iraq campaign, there were some wonderful stories about the
reaction among the Arab street. They ranged from utter disbelief ("Saddam
has not been defeated, he could not be defeated therefore he is not
defeated.") to total pathos. My favorite quote is "I am ashamed to be an
Arab." It was very popular in the post fall of Baghdad period.
Frankly, there is a limited slice of the total population that is willing to
die for their faith. From that limited slice you extract those who are
actually _capable_ of doing a mission. Then from that limited slice you
extract those capable of performing a mission against the US, passing
through the layers of security that now exist. (The "reporter" arrested in
Spain and the CIA agents all over Djibouti are examples of the layers.)
You end up with a relatively small group.
Many of that group are now focussing on attacking Americans in Iraq.
I think that it is working and not only that it's working well.
Furthermore, what is occurring in Iraq is the development of a casus belli
against the next targets, which to my mind are Iran and Syria.
The plan is now, and always has been, to slowly strangle the memes that
support terrorism by removing them and to strangle the terrorists by
removing their "safe areas."
Iraq did both and when we move on it will make it harder and harder for the
I think it made us safer and we'll get safer still.
OTOH, we _will_ have a major attack again, someday.