Al Queda’s microscopic presence in Iraq is not a reason to keep our troops there

Ah, this is a very good article about the size and true presence of Al Queda in Iraq (AQI).  One of the reasons for our continued presence in Iraq is stated as being that if we leave, AQI will flourish in Iraq and Al Queda will have a safe haven. 

I am one who thinks that is a lot of hogwash.  I’ve always been under the perception that AQI’s presence in Iraq has been way overstated and used poliltically by the Neocons and their supporters as an excuse to keep our troops in Iraq indefinitely. 

This article is a very good analysis, showing that AQI’s presence in Iraq is probably microscopic and way overblown by 3 groups that tend to profit from this twisted perception.  Here are a few notable excerpts:

“How big, then, is AQI? The most persuasive estimate I’ve heard comes from Malcolm Nance, the author of The Terrorists of Iraq and a twenty-year intelligence veteran and Arabic speaker who has worked with military and intelligence units tracking al-Qaeda inside Iraq. He believes AQI includes about 850 full-time fighters, comprising 2 percent to 5 percent of the Sunni insurgency. “Al-Qaeda in Iraq,” according to Nance, “is a microscopic terrorist organization.”

“With disproportionate resources dedicated to tracking AQI, the search has become a self-reinforcing loop. The Army has a Special Operations task force solely dedicated to tracking al-Qaeda in Iraq. The Defense Intelligence Agency tracks AQI through its Iraq office and its counterterrorism office. The result is more information culled, more PowerPoint slides created, and, ultimately, more attention drawn to AQI, which amplifies its significance in the minds of military and intelligence officers. “Once people look at everything through that lens, al-Qaeda is all they see,” said Larry Johnson, a former CIA officer who also worked at the U.S. State Department’s Office of Counterterrorism. “It sort of becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.”

See the whole article here:

http://www2.washingtonmonthly.com/features/2007/0710.tilghman.html

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