Ambassador L. Paul Bremer on Iraq and the War on Terrorism

 Q: For the last year, some people have cited the old proverb, "If you chase two rabbits, you'll catch neither", meaning that preparing for action against Iraq will distract from the war against Al-Qaeda.

 Q: For the last year, some people have cited the old proverb, "If you chase two rabbits, you'll catch neither", meaning that preparing for action against Iraq will distract from the war against Al-Qaeda.

A: I thought that the president handled that issue rather well on Monday. The "two rabbits" approach strikes me as confusing tactics with strategy. The strategic interest in the war on terrorism is to find a way to reduce state support for terrorism, because, in the end, terrorists need territory from which to operate--whether that is Afghanistan or Iraq or Sudan or Somalia. They have to have some place where they can put their feet on the ground. From a strategic point of view, therefore, dealing with the regime in Iraq in fact is a major step in the fight against terrorism. Now, we have the biggest military force in the world--and we certainly can find a way to continue pursuing the terrorists while dealing with Iraq. Moreover, the war against Al-Qaeda, at this point, is no longer a military war--it is now a war of intelligence and law enforcement. It is not as if we are going to have to have five divisions deployed somewhere in the world to fight Al-Qaeda; that part of the war is over. So I just don't see the contradiction here.

The President has to keep his eye on the strategic vision behind the war on terror--that is his job. I agree with him that dealing with Iraq is a good step in the long-term strategy of defeating terrorism as a force in international affairs.

 ("Bush, Iraq and the War on Terror," at http://www.inthenationalinterest.com/Articles/Vol1issue5/Vol1issue5Bremer.html)