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Tuesday, July 24, 2007


Safe haven

One brief "fact check" of the Bush speech discussed in the post below this one, a fact check which is more than a simple fact check but which, like the dissection of the "we're fighting them over there etc." meme, has a very serious side. Bush three times said this: "If we were to cede Iraq to men like this, we would leave them free to operate from a safe haven which they could use to launch new attacks on our country."

But the attacks of 9/11 weren't planned from a safe haven in Afghanistan - they were planned from totally unprotected (except by anonymity) locations in Germany and South Florida. A "safe haven" is relevant to, say, a guerrilla movement which is amassing an army in such a safe haven, hoping ultimately to overthrow a central government. But al Qaida isn't amassing troops for an armed insurrection against the U.S. government, and putting together teams of 10 or 20 people for a terrorist action doesn't require a "safe haven," just good cover.

The "safe haven" theory might apply if, say, al Qaida was intent on amassing a force in Iraq to invade and overthrow the government of Saudi Arabia, although there's no evidence that's remotely in the cards (or that it would have the slightest chance of success). As it applies to threats to the United States, the "safe haven" theory is complete nonsense.

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