Friday, May 14, 2004

So, if Zarqawi is now more of a menace than bin Laden, as Arlen Specter suggests, how did we get to this point?

After all, Zarqawi was in Iraq while Saddam was in power. Yes, he was in the essentially autonomous Kurdish region, but still: if Saddam was the most dangerous sponsor of terror, and Zarqawi was in his country, and now Saddam is gone, why is Zarqawi evidently more dangerous now?

Why wasn't Zarqawi a bigger threat than bin Laden before the Afghan war? After all, it's an article of faith for Cheney and Wolfowitz and Perle and their ilk that terrorism on a large scale requires a state sponsor -- a state like Saddam's Iraq.

But instead we now seem to have Zarqawi's rise -- here he is, apparently beheading Nick Berg and masterminding suicide bombings in Iraq -- despite the fact that he's not occupying comfortable digs in a state run with pitiless efficiency by an evil dictator.

In fact, if Zarqawi is more dangerous now, it's because he's headquartered in a failed state -- Iraq, the Iraq we made. Iraq is now, for Zarqawi, what Afghanistan (and the Sudan before it) were for al-Qaeda (and what, presumably, the no-man's-land on the Afghan-Pakistani border is for al-Qaeda now) -- a lawless place where it's possible to operate a lawless enterprise.

So we went to Iraq to stop terrorism, and we made Iraq a nice little failed state where Zarqawi can thrive.

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