Indeed, if anything, it would do the opposite. Now, leaks from government sources appear to bear this out — at least officially. The classified National Intelligence Estimate, contained in a report titled “Trends in Global Terrorism: Implications for the United States,” asserts, in the words of a story in Sunday’s New York Times, “that Islamic radicalism, rather than being in retreat, has metastasized and spread across the globe.”
The Bush administration linked Saddam and al-Qaeda in the public mind by talking in most banal generalities about the evil we faced. The president was at it again yesterday when he said: “I think it’s a mistake for people to believe that going on the offense against people that want to do harm against the American people makes us less safe.”
In fact, more than 2,500 American troops and countless thousands of others have died in what was an ambitious and radical geopolitical maneuver, one that appears not to have worked. But Bush and his team are sticking to the Iraq policy like the pre-World War II French political and military establishment stuck with the so-called Maginot Line. Critics, among them an upstart general named Charles de Gaulle, said concrete fortifications, tank obstacles and machine-gun posts ultimately would be no defense against the Germans. In the end, the Maginot Line wasn’t breached; it was bypassed. There was nothing wrong with it, in the abstract. The problem was the emphasis placed on it, and the resources poured into to it. And that’s the same problem with the war in Iraq.