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Iraq War Increases Terrorist Threat
Stephen Holmes disagrees with the argument of Robert Kagan about weak and strong powers and suggests Iraq is the wrong war if the goal is defeating terrorism.
By Ed Knudson
If the goal of the Bush administration is to defeat terrorism fighting a war in Iraq is the wrong way to achieve this goal. And it is not just the fact that there were no Iraqis among the September 11th terrorists, nor about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, it is that we are undercutting our abilities to identify and destroy terrorists where ever they may be in the world.
That’s why we need Europe, according to Stephen Holmes writing in The American Prospect magazine. The September 11th terrorists used European centers for planning their attack. Europe, not the Middle East, was the staging ground for these terrorists. And the intelligence agencies of European countries are critically important for identifying future terrorists. That is one reason Holmes cannot believe “the unfathomably cavalier attitude of the Bush administration toward our European allies.”
Holmes spends most of his time in this article attacking a book by Robert Kagan, “Of Paradise and Power: America and Europe in the New World Order.” Kagan claims that Europe is weak militarily and therefore will tend to underestimate threats from other nations such as Iraq, because it cannot do much about these threats. The United States is a powerful country and has the military strength to address threats and therefore is in a position to consider such threats realistically. And it can do so unilaterally, it doesn’t need Europe. Holmes does not believe that Kagan’s analysis is correct, but the book has been widely read in both Europe and this country and thus provides an argument in support the Bush administration policies.
If Iraq is not the source of terrorism we are certainly expending a great deal of time, resources, and lives fighting the wrong enemy, which means that we are that much less prepared to deal with the real enemy, the terrorist threat. That means further that George W. Bush is failing to do what he says is most important to him, preserving the security of the United States.
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