Over at LAT, I discuss this Daniel Drezner post
in the context of debate over whether the key to fighting terrorism lies in rogue states or failed ones
. I really think Democrats have an opportunity here to stake out some national security territory with an eye toward upcoming elections, a territory in which they will also be right on the substance. The American public is now ready to hear the message that President Bush turned a rogue that might have meaningfully sponsored terrorism at some point in the future to a highly unstable one that is exporting terrorism now. One cannot imagine Zarqawi becoming such a high-profile figure without Iraq, abd the Bush administration blundered catastrophically by choosing to use his presence in the Kurdish region of Iraq to attack that nation rather than go after him personally.
The problem with our foreign policy debate right now is that it is driven more by the concerns of the Iraq conflict specifically rather than our broader strategic interests. Regardless of whether Iraq was initially a front in the "War on Terror," it clearly is today, and we need to approach it in that light. What that says about what we should actually do
in Iraq I don't know, but simply saying it was a mistake to go in and we should therefore leave as quickly as possible isn't going to cut it. I'd rather not leave a new version of Afghanistan in the early 1990's in the heart of the Arab world, which is still a possibility. "Bush's War" is now our country's war, whether we like it or not.