The recent decline in violence in Iraq has seems to have given conservatives cover to not only defend the “surge,” but even to attempt to rehabilitate the decision to go to war in the first place.
Preparing the ground, Tony Blankley writes that “in September 2007, more than 19,000 insurgents had been killed by coalition forces since 2003″ :
Of course, most of those 19,000 killed insurgents were not foreign terrorists, but local Iraqis moved to action by our occupation. However, according to studies by the Center for Strategic and International Studies and by the Defense Intelligence Agency, foreign-born jihadists in Iraq are believed to number between 4 and 10 percent of the total insurgent strength. So it is reasonable to assume that we have killed — as of nine months ago — between 800 and 1,900 non-Iraqi terrorists who otherwise would have been plying their trade elsewhere. It only took a couple of dozen to commit the atrocities of Sept. 11.
But no, it’s not reasonable to assume that at all. While it’s probably true that some of the extremists drawn to Iraq would have attacked elsewhere, the evidence is overwhelming that, for the majority of foreign fighters in Iraq, the U.S. occupation itself was the decisive factor in their radicalization and mobilization. It only becomes “reasonable” to assume that all of the foreign terrorists killed in Iraq would have become terrorists absent the American invasion of Iraq if one is desperate to justify a disastrous war, as Blankley is. Read more