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The thoughts and theories of a guy who basically should have gone to bed hours ago.

I know, I know - what's the point? But look at it this way - I stayed up late writing it, but you're reading it...

Let's call ourselves even & move on, OK?

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Saturday, August 18, 2007

Al Qaeda and Iraq - Interesting Tidbits

Just a couple of quick things I read on the train home today:

First, remember Jose Padilla? He's the Brooklyn born man who was held without trial in a military court for three and a half years, until finally being transferred to a Miami civilian court, where he was convicted of all charges against him. Apparently, one of the pieces of evidence that convinced the jury was an application he filled out to attend an Al Qaeda training in Afghanistan in 2000. For those who don't believe that Al Qaeda was a well-organized operation before we went after them, here's a PDF of the application, along with an English translation.

Second, this from Captain's Quarters about U.S. Representative Brian Baird, a five-term Democrat who voted against the war in 2002:

U.S. Rep. Brian Baird said Thursday that his recent trip to Iraq convinced him the military needs more time in the region, and that a hasty pullout would cause chaos that helps Iran and harms U.S. security.

"I believe that the decision to invade Iraq and the post-invasion management of that country were among the largest foreign-policy mistakes in the history of our nation. I voted against them, and I still think they were the right votes," Baird said in a telephone interview from Washington, D.C.

"But we're on the ground now. We have a responsibility to the Iraqi people and a strategic interest in making this work."

Baird, a five-term Democrat, voted against President Bush ordering the Iraq invasion — at a time when he was in a minority in Congress and at risk of alienating voters. He returned late Tuesday from a trip that included stops in Israel, Jordan and Iraq, where he met troops, U.S. advisers and Iraqis, whose stories have convinced him that U.S. troops must stay longer.

Rep. Baird cites two reasons for his change of heart - first, his conclusion that a quick withdrawal would mean chaos for the Iraqis and go against our national interests, and second, his belief that General Petraeus had made real progress and should not have to withdrawal while success can still be achieved.

I've been reading a few, small encouraging items about Iraq lately - the rate of major insurgency attacks are down, the Iraqi people are turning in the insurgents to US and Iraqi troops more often now, etc. I tend to read news like this with a high degree of skepticism, since it's typically someone with a political agenda trying to prove his/her point. But Rep. Baird's views are a little more interesting. If he reached these (politically unpopular) conclusions after spending time over there, then perhaps the progress is for real?

One can only hope...

posted by Brian at 2:32 AM


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