Sunday, January 28, 2007

Bad Neighbour

There's probably not much point in picking through the wreckage of a Dick Cheney interview (alt. link here), but here's one point in his latest, with Newsweek, where the only issue is whether he's lying or actually doesn't have a clue what he's talking about --

Q You've made the case that a collapsed Iraq would become a terrorist haven. The President has also said that. Al Qaeda is essentially --

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Look at what happened to Afghanistan.

Q But al Qaeda is essentially a new organization in Iraq, a Sunni organization and it has this element of foreign fighters. Isn't there a reason to think that if there was full-blown civil war, the Shia would essentially beat them and neutralize that as being a hostile force as they take control of the country?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: What's the basis for that?

Q There are more Shia.

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, let's look at Afghanistan. In 1996, there were no al Qaeda in Afghanistan. That's when bin Laden moved in and found refuge there. A handful of Arabs, foreign fighters, if you will, subsequently opened up training camps, trained somewhere -- estimates range from 10,000 to 20,000 terrorists in the late '90s, developed a safe haven and a base of operations from which they blew up American embassies in East Africa, attacked the USS Cole, launched the planning and training for 9/11. That all took place in Afghanistan under circumstances that are similar to what you've just hypothesized about for Iraq.

Because missing in his answer is the fact that Osama set up shop in Afghanistan under the Taliban government, which was installed by then-and-now US ally on the War on Terror, Pakistan. In fact, hardly a day goes by without a reminder that the central front in the War on Terror always was, and is, Pakistan.

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