Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The Big Lie

Frank Rich, in Sunday's New York Times, makes an important point about the cost of the Iraq war. Aside from its ruinous effect on our military, and on our prestige in the world, and on our democracy, the failed war in Iraq and its dishonest presentation by our president have worked to reduce American will to fight the real war -- the war against Islamic jihadism.

Although the Times has put its columnists behind a $50/year subscription, you can read the article here.

Here's an excerpt:

One hideous consequence of the White House's Big Lie - fusing the war of choice in Iraq with the war of necessity that began on 9/11 - is that the public, having rejected one, automatically rejects the other. That's already happening. The percentage of Americans who now regard fighting terrorism as a top national priority is either in the single or low double digits in every poll. Thus the tragic bottom line of the Bush catastrophe: the administration has at once increased the ranks of jihadists by turning Iraq into a new training ground and recruitment magnet while at the same time exhausting America's will and resources to confront that expanded threat.

We have arrived at "the worst of all possible worlds," in the words of Daniel Benjamin, Richard Clarke's former counterterrorism colleague, with whom I talked last week. No one speaks more eloquently to this point than Mr. Benjamin and Steven Simon, his fellow National Security Council alum. They saw the Qaeda threat coming before most others did in the 1990's, and their riveting new book, "The Next Attack," is the best argued and most thoroughly reported account of why, in their opening words, "we are losing" the war against the bin Laden progeny now.

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