Bush made another campaign speech in which he came up with yet another post-hoc rationale for the war:

If Zarqawi and his associates
were not busy fighting Iraqi and American forces in Iraq, what does Senator
Kerry think they would be doing? Peaceful, small business owners?
(Laughter.) Running a benevolent society? (Laughter.)

Let’s get this straight: Bush is suggesting here that we’re using Iraq as a decoy, to fight terrorists there so we don’t have to fight them on U.S. soil. So what are we supposed to say to the people we were supposedly liberating from a tyrannical dictator? “Sorry about all these explosions, but better you all than us?”

Say “quack,” Iraq.

I actually think Bush is partly right here: Iraq is clearly a magnet for terrorists now, and it is quite possible that it has attracted some terrorists who might otherwise be plotting attacks against the USA, ironically having created after the fact another one of the justifications he used for the war (the supposed link between Iraq and al Qaeda). Of course, it’s also a breeding-ground for new terrorists, and we learn today, a handy munitions depot for terrorists, who have apparently scooped up extremely dangerous explosives, previously under UN seal, that our troops (perhaps directed by Rumsfeld to attend a rose-petal-throwing ceremony) were not guarding.

In any case, to the extent that the war on terror can be clearly won, it will ultimately be won by getting as much of the world on the same side as possible–and being on that side with them. Extremists will always exist in isolated pockets, but their ability to rally large groups against Americans would be limited. Invading a country and then using it as a terrorist decoy is not an effective way to get the world on your side.