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Fighting Them Over There

Iraq is not a breeding ground for terrorists, it's a dumping ground.

12:00 AM, Sep 28, 2006 • By LEE SMITH
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The next best thing to using Muslim fanatics as a policy-making tool is just to get rid of them. Yes, Arab regimes also describe Iraq as a "breeding ground" for jihadist groups, but, unlike some of the authors of the NIE, there is reason to be skeptical of the sincerity of such statements. They may be worried that there will be blowback from the war in Iraq, but this is a gamble they have made in the past--in Afghanistan, Sudan, and Somalia, for instance. Arab rulers dispatch their fanatics to such places in the hope that they never return. Thus, Iraq is not a jihadist incubator, but rather a jihadist dumping ground.

The NIE argues that, "Should jihadists leaving Iraq perceive themselves and be perceived to have failed, we judge fewer fighters will be inspired to carry on the fight." But the point is that jihadists should never leave Iraq--except to reap their heavenly reward. We should start to see Iraq the way Arab regimes see such jihad-zones, as a far away place for Muslim fanatics to go and die. But unlike those Arab regimes, we can't rely on someone else to do this dirty job for us.

Lee Smith, a Hudson Institute visiting fellow based in Beirut, is writing a book on Arab culture.