Democrats & Liberals Archives


Kevin Hayden has posted an excellent examination of why the conservatives claim that the Spanish people in their recent electoral choices were somehow appeasing Osama bin Laden..

If conservatives want to complain about what they perceive as the Spanish public’s appeasement of terrorism, they should also acknowledge our own appeasement efforts in giving Osama bin Laden two of the things he’s said he wanted - plus an excellent recruiting tool to boot.

Part of what got Osama bin Laden started on his campaign of terror was his anger at the US's decision to station troops in Saudi Arabia, and removal of those troops has been one of his primary goals ever since. In April 2003, not long after Saddam was removed from power, the US DID remove it's troops from Saudi Arabia - giving Osama a huge victory in the eyes of his followers. Worse, Paul Wolfowitz, speaking with Sam Tannenhaus of Vanity Fair magazine (as reported in the DOD's OWN transcription of the interview) acknowledged that being able to remove those troops was one of the reasons why we wanted to remove Saddam in the first place:

Q: Was that [Being able to remove the soldiers from Saudi Arabia] one of the arguments that was raised early on by you and others that Iraq actually does connect, not to connect the dots too much, but the relationship between Saudi Arabia, our troops being there, and bin Laden's rage about that, which he's built on so many years, also connects the World Trade Center attacks, that there's a logic of motive or something like that? Or does that read too much into --

Wolfowitz: No, I think it happens to be correct. The truth is that for reasons that have a lot to do with the U.S. government bureaucracy we settled on the one issue that everyone could agree on which was weapons of mass destruction as the core reason, but [...] there have always been three fundamental concerns. One is weapons of mass destruction, the second is support for terrorism, the third is the criminal treatment of the Iraqi people. Actually I guess you could say there's a fourth overriding one which is the connection between the first two. [...] The third one by itself, as I think I said earlier, is a reason to help the Iraqis but it's not a reason to put American kids' lives at risk, certainly not on the scale we did it. That second issue about links to terrorism is the one about which there's the most disagreement within the bureaucracy, even though I think everyone agrees that we killed 100 or so of an al Qaeda group in northern Iraq in this recent go-around, that we've arrested that al Qaeda guy in Baghdad who was connected to this guy Zarqawi whom Powell spoke about in his UN presentation.

In addition, Osama had said that he wanted to see Saddam removed from power (though he would have preferred that the Iraqi people do the removing). By invading Iraq, we have also given him that - and the hope that a democratic Iraq can be turned into another Islamic-fundamentalist nation. And while it may never have been a stated goal of his, I'm sure Osama doesn't mind that we've handed him an excellent recruiting tool through our invasion and occupation of Iraq.

Osama bin Laden wanted the American troops gone from Saudi Arabia. He wanted Saddam out of power. His al Qaeda organization launched an attack against America on September 11th, and as a direct result, we invaded Iraq, removed Saddam from power and pulled out troops from Saudi Arabia. Who says terrorism doesn't work?

Posted by at March 18, 2004 11:22 AM