Andrew C. McCarthy (I assume the "C." is to distinguish himself from one of the stars of "Weekend at Bernie's") makes one of the very common neoconservative claims:
Our being in Iraq has nothing to help jihadist recruiting, because they would hate us anyway.
This is stupid on so many levels. Does he honestly think that there is no one in the Muslim world whose willingness to do harm to Americans has been increased by our presence in Iraq?
Grievances are just rhetoric. If the bin Ladens did not have Iraq, or the Palestinians, or Lebanon, or Pope Benedict, or cartoons, or flushed Korans, or Dutch movies, or the Crusades, they’d figure out something else to beat the drums over. Or they’d make something up — there being lots of license to improvise when one purports to be executing Allah’s will.
Uh - but nothing gets people in quite such a tizzy as when it can be actually demonstrated that we have actually invaded their land. The idea that some made-up grievance would be as effective at recruiting as our actually being over there is ludicrous.
But of course, the real goal behind this propaganda is to convince us that the only variable we can affect in terms of Muslim terrorism is the number of terrorists we kill; the conclusion then being that massive responses to any perceived disobedience to American desires has no downside. Which makes sense if the ultimate goal is to justify nuclear genocide.
He also tries to make fun of the claim that the War in Iraq has provided Al Qaeda with a recruiting tool by asking whether or not Clinton's policy of sanctions (to be fair to Clinton, this was in essence a continuation of Bush pere's policy) also provided a recruiting tool. The point is apparently to chasten Democrats by pointing out that many of the criticism of Dubya can be applied to Clinton as well, but why the idea that Clinton exacerbated problems in the Middle East by his policy of sanctions should shock anyone mystifies me. Granted, pointing this out will embarrass those who are not anti-war so much as anti-Bush, but amongst the true antiwar crowd, abhorrence of Clinton, his Balkan policy, his Middle East policy, etc., was a staple of the debate long before 9/11.
This statement is also bizarre:
If we’re to be honest, however, it would be preposterous to claim that anything President Clinton did — in Iraq or anyplace else — “caused” jihadist terrorism. Just as it is inane to argue now that our current Iraq policy is the “cause.”
The point is not that our policies cause jihadism so much as whether or not our current policies exacerbate it. But for dullards like McCarthy, the idea of nuance or degrees is apparently too hard to grasp.
This concept is well explained by Matt Yglesias.
That is all.