Derb, you remind me of the economist stranded in the dessert with only a sealed bottle of water. His solution? “Assume a bottle opener.”
Bush’s decision to go into Iraq obviously was not based on a desire to whack Zarqawi. It was, obviously, based on inadequate intelligence.
He asked CIA director George Tenet whether Saddam had a stockpile of WMDs. Tenet said it was a “slam dunk.” On that basis, Bush told his generals to topple the dictator.
Perhaps Bush would have made a different decision if Tenet had replied: “Nah, Saddam deep-sixed that stuff years ago, “ or “Our sources say he shipped the load of it to Syria” or even “Uh, well … geez … search me, boss!”
We can’t go back and change any of that. The reality is that for the last few years the most lethal al-Qaeda force has been in Iraq, attempting to thwart U.S. goals and take over the country or at least establish a new base there.
I repeat: We have to fight al-Qaeda where we find al-Qaeda. General Zarqawi is toast. That’s great. Now we have to get his colonels, lieutenants and privates. We can’t outsource the job – at least not yet. We can’t run from al-Qaeda or retreat from any battlefield where al-Qaeda has assembled. That much should be clear.