I post comments in many different fora, and sometimes I will re-post here things I have posted elsewhere. This particular post is a response to criticism of the War on Terror and, specifically, a response to someone else's contention that Iraq had nothing to do with the War on Terror. I apologize if it is somewhat rambling -- I'm responding to several contentions at once -- but I believe it is reasonably comprehensive, which is a good way to lead into what I'm sure will be further discussion of Iraq and the War on Terror on this blog.
The evidence supports increasing connections between terrorists and state governments.
Implicated by the evidence include: Sudan, Iran, Iraq, Syria, N.Korea, Pakistan, Libya and Saudi Arabia to one degree or another.
Someone earlier mentioned the ISI -- that's the Pakistani intelligence service which basically set up the Taliban puppet government in Afghanistan which was later suborned and more or less taken over by Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaeda operatives. The ISI had a life of its own to the extent which Pres. Musharraf allowed up until the point sometime in September 2001 when US diplomats approached him and said either you can be our enemy and we will dismantle your government or you can desist in all support of terrorists, collar and manage the ISI, and become an ally in the US-led War on Terror. Given this choice, Musharraf "chose wisely."
We have seen terrorist groups exist for decades, without much accomplishing anything but a few dead soldiers and/or civilians. But with the advent of state supported terrorism, the terrorists have vastly increased their capabilities. Part of it is the funding. But more importantly, is bases. The terrorists get protected havens from which to plan and train for attacks, and then to retreat to when the deeds were done.
For this, Sudan, Somalia (whose government didn't really exist for a decade-or-two until last week), and Afghanistan were particularly useful, and northern Iraq also played a part. Osama bin Laden basically moved into anarchic situations with little or no operating governments, and took over the existing infrastructure -- trading chaos for order on his terms. He used these shell-governments like the Taliban to mask and support his buildup of terrorist schemes, several of which succeeded in being more successful than any previous terrorist attacks, a few of which were defeated, but which culminated in 9/11.
While bin Laden used these geographic locations as his base, the "state support" for his operations came from a loosely defined cabal which included several of the aforementioned governments. Proving which ones is difficult. Of these governments supporting anti-US terrorism, one of the most active was Iran. There is also some evidence that Iraq either directly or tacitly supported and or tolerated the terrorists who were working to undermine Saddam's declared enemy the United States.
We know from the UN that Iraq had WMDs at some point. There was never ay evidence that they were destroyed en masse. Inspectors believed that they still existed as late as 2003, but their efforts to prove this were foiled by constant interference by the Iraqi government (in direct violation of several UN resolutions).
There was also an attempted attack, in 2004 or 2005, made by terrorists coming out of Syria launched against Amman, Jordan, which was comprised of WMDs which the Syrians have never been known to have in their possession. The Iraqis DID have these WMDs (as catalogued and quantified by the UN inspectors before they were kicked out and/or played with by Saddam's government), which leads one to an obvious assumption that they were originally Iraqi WMDs which were transferred to Syria, and from there to terrorists.
This scenario -- the transfer of WMDs from Iraq to Syria -- is admitted as a possibility by the Duelfer Report, with some evidence cited, and is seemingly borne out by the Amman attack (which was intercepted and defeated en-route, before they could kill an estimated 1,000-10,000 Jordanians).
The whole list of connections between and with terrorist groups, as well as the presumed transfer of WMDs mentioned above all provide a framework for believing there is/was a fairly sophisticated cabalist network of anti-US and/or rogue governments supporting anti-US terrorism.
The Bush Doctrine is basically to treat these governments which support terrorism against the US as if they were responsible for the actions of the terrorists, which -- let's be real -- they are!
Therefore, Iraq, if it had any connections with terrorists (and I and many others believe they had plenty), then they were a valid target in the War on Terror. So, too, are other governments listed here. If we went into Iran tomorrow I'd be all for it. Or Syria.
Afghanistan was the obvious first target in this war against states who support terrorism, and Iraq was the second, primarily because they were the weakest of these states. If internal support had existed to continue the War on Terror, perhaps further steps would have been taken. However, support for the War on Terror today is questionable.
I believe the primary reason the American Public is not behind the War is that these things have not been adequately explained to them. One could blame the Bush Administration for this, and it would be valid to do so, but as responsible is the fact that the American news media drowns out the President's voice with its incessant antiwar drumbeat which crows over and over again about the deaths and risks and despair, and allows no room for hope that something could be accomplished through this war (which, of course, would be much easier without the active participation of the American media in the anti-war effort).