All is illusion in GWB's Phony War on Terror. Like a great fabulist, or rumored alchemist of yore, GWB & Co. take the facts on the ground in Iraq and weave them in such a way as to sustain a favorable spin in the minds of U.S. taxpayers, against all indications to the contrary. How much longer will Americans be willing to suspend their disbelief?
A recent New York Times opinion piece addresses the illusion of a cohesive adversarial entity called "al Qaeda" [hereafter, "A.Q."] (Seeing Al Queda Around Every Corner.)
“'Nobody knows how many different Islamist extremist groups make up the insurgency' in Iraq, said Anthony H. Cordesman of the bipartisan Center for Strategic and International Studies. 'Even when you talk about A.Q in Mesopotamia, the idea of somehow it is the center of the insurgency is almost absurd.'”
Ranger goes a step further, denying this action is in fact an insurgency. It is a guerrilla war, a war of resistance, being fought by freedom fighters, perhaps nationalists--but it cannot be an insurgency, for there is no legitimate authority against which to insurge. It is tribal and internecine in nature, with features of occupation repulsion (i.e., against the U.S. and its tattered band of coalition forces.)
"Shibley Telhami, the Anwar Sadat Professor of Peace and Development at the University of Maryland, said, 'I have been noticing — not just your paper — all papers have fallen into this reporting.' The administration, he added, 'made a strategic decision' to play up A.Q.’s role in Iraq, “and the press went along with it."
As example of the conflation and confusion of terms,
"Remember, when I mention A.Q., they’re the ones who attacked the United States of America and killed nearly 3,000 people on September the 11th, 2001,” Bush said in the Naval War College speech." (You mean, it wasn't the Red Sox?)
"Actually, A.Q. in Mesopotamia, which came into being in 2003, pledged its loyalty to Osama bin Laden’s A.Q. the next year but is not believed to be under his operational control."
Ranger has always espoused proper threat analysis prior to proper national policy formation. A.Q. in Mesopotamia is a military threat that is theatre-specific and is not aimed at the American homeland. I'd use the term "heartland," but then I'd be put in mind of Toby Kieth and Ford commercials. There are some things this Ranger just won't do.
A.Q. international is the threat, and it can be contained through police and military cooperation on a meaningful level. Phony wars and elective invasions aren't the answer. We've used the mercury ball visual before: squash one, you've created ten more.
As for the Times, in an attempt to stop the conflation of terms, last week they "circulated a memo with guidelines on how to distinguish A.Q. in Mesopotamia from bin Laden’s A.Q."
"Military experts will tell you that failing to understand your enemy is a prescription for broader failure."
Ranger challenges GWB to explain why his administration has elided all combatants in Iraq into one entity called A.Q. If he would keep it simple, it would be best for both of us.