A couple of weeks ago, late night on the BBC, I heard President Carter say something telling about Iraq and the war on terror, something that more people than those of us who listen to late night BBC radio hear. Sadly, I can't remember any Googleable details like where and when he was giving the speech that was quoted, or enough exact words to find it assuming a transcript is searchable out there, but I will at least mention it here on my own blog.* Carter described the invasion of Iraq as the Bush administration abandoning the war on terror to pursue their adventure in Iraq.
Every time that BushCo tells us how we're fighting a war on terrorism, remember that Osama bin Laden, the guy behind it all, is still out there. Shortly after 9/11, because the Taliban were harboring bin Laden and wouldn't hand him over, we invaded Afghanistan. But we didn't find Osama right away, and somehow instead of continuing the real war on terror -- that is, actually fighting the terrorists who attacked us -- instead of mobilizing a bigger and more effective American force to clean out the lawless tribal areas on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, Bush pulled most of the US troops out of Afghanistan and devoted the main attention of the American military to a country that had nothing to do with either 9/11 or terrorism against us.
Carter's right. Bush abandoned the real war on terror so he could mess around with Iraq. I'm willing to hear arguments that Saddam needed to be taken out, but even if it was worth doing, it was nowhere near as important at the time as actually getting the people who really attacked us on 9/11.
Since the Republicans are campaigning on the importance of the war on terror and how they are better able to pursue it that the Democrats, I think it's time we remember how the war on terror started, and ask them why, when they're the party that abandoned it, they're the better party to pursue it.
*(My Google-fu is very weak; if anyone reading this can find Carter's remarks out there in Internet-land, let me know how you did it so maybe I can learn something...)