From Yahoo News –Iraq a “terrorist Disneyland” if U.S. goes: expert (excerpted, emphasis added):
A U.S. troop pullout from Iraq would leave the country as a potent launchpad for international terrorism and Washington would be forced to go back in within a couple of years, a leading al Qaeda expert said on Tuesday.
Rohan Gunaratna told a security conference at Lloyd’s of London insurance market that Iraq, like Afghanistan in the 1990s, would become a “terrorist Disneyland” where al Qaeda could build up its strength unchallenged.
If U.S., British and other coalition troops withdrew from Iraq in the next year, he said, “certainly the scale of attacks that would be mounted inside Iraq, and using Iraq as a launching pad to strike other Western countries — countries in Europe, North America – would become such that after two or three years, the U.S. forces will have to go back to Iraq.”
Democrats are pushing for a time frame for withdrawal, something the White House opposes as sending the wrong message to U.S. forces, allies and enemies alike. Some Republicans are also questioning the war more publicly.
A former head of Britain’s foreign intelligence service MI6 described Gunaratna’s analysis as convincing.
“Clearly al Qaeda are focusing on Iraq now, and focusing on some sort of propaganda victory over the United States,” Sir Richard Dearlove told reporters.
“Whether that’s an actual victory or not, if they can claim in the Muslim world that they’ve done well, then that puts us in a very difficult position. This is really an aspect of withdrawal that hasn’t been properly considered. That’s why I think we can’t just let Iraq go its own way.”
The timeline politicians (on both sides of the aisle) might want to consider something many have been trying to point out, especially given their timelines have been falling “in the next year”.
While they continue to squabble over a bad idea, specialized vehicles capable of withstanding IEDs are being held up (I’m not sure if these offer protection against the lesss frequently used EFPs). More on the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) can also be found at BlackFive.
In any case, if the defeatists win, the mascot for the ‘theme park’ is a shoo-in.