Bush's security plan now rests on nothing but hope: Clarity from Peter Galbraith. "the greatest flaw of the Bush doctrine is that it is poor strategy... Since no country can do everything, the most important task of a strategist is to set priorities, taking into account available resources, costs and risks. In his West Point speech, Bush rightly identified the most serious danger as coming "at the crossroads of radicalism and technology".
But Bush never prioritised. North Korea with nuclear weapons and Iran acquiring nuclear technology posed far greater threats in 2003 than an Iraq with some hidden chemical and biological weapons. The Clinton administration threatened war to get Pyongyang to freeze its nuclear programme in 1994. In 2002, the Bush administration noisily terminated the 1994 agreement because of North Korean cheating, and then did nothing when the country withdrew from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and began reprocessing previously safeguarded plutonium into nuclear weapons. All this took place before the start of the Iraq war, but the Bush administration never shifted its focus. ..
By not distinguishing between serious immediate threats and distant potential ones, Bush ducked the hard choice at the core of all sound national security strategy - how to ration scarce military and diplomatic assets. As a result, the US invaded Iraq to eliminate a threat posed by non-existent weapons. As for North Korea and Iran, the US is reduced to hoping that others - China in the case of Pyongyang and the Europeans in the case of Tehran - can solve the problem. Hope is not a strategy" 11:06:40 PM
Heart of Darkness: Who Is Abu Musab al-Zarqawi?: Another skeptical summary. "Many intelligence officials in Europe doubt that the man jailed 13 years ago for sexual assault in Jordan possesses the organizational skills or manpower muscle to launch even a small percentage of the nearly 100 insurgents' attacks that occur across Iraq daily.
"I do not think that anyone in Europe or the Middle East honestly believes that he is responsible for everything that the United States says he has done in Iraq," said a senior European intelligence official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. "The guy is on the run. He is hiding from the U.S. forces, and he is probably changing houses every night. It would be almost impossible for him to calmly plan and execute the operations all over Iraq that some people believe he has done." ..
After Sept. 11, Mr. Zarqawi was believed by senior American officials to be working closely with Ansar al-Islam, the Kurdish group based in northern Iraq that was formed to attempt to overthrow Saddam Hussein. This represents a fundamental contradiction about Mr. Zarqawi's apparent alliances, some terrorism experts say.
"I have always been quite puzzled by the story that Zarqawi was allegedly closely linked to Ansar al-Islam but also allegedly linked with Saddam Hussein's regime, the very regime that Ansar al-Islam aimed to destroy," said Jessica Stern, who lectures on terrorism at Harvard. "I have been genuinely confused by that." Some terrorism analysts and European-based intelligence officials say captured associates of Mr. Zarqawi have said he had forged stronger ties with Iran and Syria than Iraq. "Zarqawi spent more time in Iran than anywhere else after Sept. 11," said Peter Bergen, a fellow at the New America Foundation and an adjunct professor of international studies at Johns Hopkins University. "Zarqawi called Saddam a devil on one of his Web site postings this year." ..
Some say that his burgeoning network assisted [Madrid, UK and Jordon plots].. further investigation into all three plots has raised substantial doubts that Mr. Zarqawi played any role, several senior European officials said.
Shadi Abdullah, a Tawhid member apprehended in Germany in 2002, told investigators that Mr. Zarqawi's group saw itself to be "in rivalry" with Al Qaeda, according to several senior German officials." 11:01:42 PM