Charles Krauthammer tries to remind us that there are other things in the world than the Foley scandal. Not that there is much chance of him being heard at the moment. Yet he continues to try to point out the flaws in the leaked NIE (remember that?). A voice in the wilderness that petty partisan politics has become reminding us that there is a world outside of the slimy 2006 political campaigns.
Ah, but those seers in the U.S. "intelligence community," speaking through a leaked National Intelligence Estimate — the most famous previous NIE, mind you, concluded that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, slam-dunk — have peered deep into the hypothetical past and found the answer. As spun by Iraq war critics, the conclusion is that Iraq has made us less safe because it has become a "cause celebre" and a rallying cry for jihad.
Become? Everyone seems to have forgotten that Iraq was already an Islamist cause celebre and rallying cry long before 2003. When Osama bin Laden issued his declaration of war against America in 1998, his two principal justifications for the jihad that exploded upon us on Sept. 11, 2001, centered on Iraq: America's alleged killing of more than 1 million Iraqis through the post-Gulf War sanctions and, even worse, the desecration of Islam's holiest cities of Mecca and Medina by the garrisoning of infidel U.S. soldiers in Saudi Arabia (as post-Gulf War protection from the continuing threat of invasion by Hussein).
The irony is that the overthrow of Hussein eliminated these two rallying cries: Iraqi sanctions were lifted and U.S. troops were withdrawn from the no-longer-threatened Saudi Arabia. But grievances cured are easily replaced. The jihadists wasted no time in finding new justifications for fury and reviving old ones. The supply is endless: Danish cartoons, papal pronouncements, the liberation of women, the existence of Israel, the licentiousness of Western culture, the war in Afghanistan. And, of course, Iraq — again.
It is worth reading the entire article. Because there are other things in the world. And there are enemies watching the disintegrating American political scene who grow bold enough to issue thinly veiled declarations of war. It is worthwhile to remember we are already at war.