Jeff Emanuel

Is success in Iraq "vital to America’s national security," as President Bush so often says? Fewer and fewer Americans think so, as the declining support for our activities there clearly shows. A major reason for this is the fact that the ongoing struggle in Iraq has become divorced from the larger War on Terror in the minds of many Americans.

However, the problem is larger than just Iraq. As time goes by, the terrorist attacks of 9/11 become but an ever more distant, unfortunate memory to too many Americans; and that, combined with the fact that the country has not been struck by terrorists since that day (regardless of the Council on American-Islamic Relations' apparent mistaking of the Fox television show "24" for reality), has resulted in the issue of national security as a whole – and the corresponding War on Terror – no longer resonating with the American people in the way that it did only a few short years ago.

Add to that the fact that the only "news" coming in from Iraq consists of doom-and-gloom reports of more attacks on civilians and of more dead US troops, reiteration of the meme that "there were no WMD or terrorists" there, and more use of the words "quagmire" and "Vietnam," and the result is a conflict which has been completely divorced, in the American mind, from the War on Terror – and, thus, has become overwhelmingly unpopular amongst the general population.

However, information has recently come to light regarding plans established by Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) which, if fully and properly presented to the American people, could go a long way toward helping reverse the disconnect among the populace between Iraq, the War on Terror, and our nation’s security.

In a recent appearance before Congress, Defense Intelligence Agency chief Lt. Gen. Michael Maples confirmed that documents confiscated in a raid on an AQI safe house “revealed that Al Qaeda in Iraq was planning terrorist operations in the U.S.” Given the timing – roughly six months ago – and the relative secrecy regarding the capture of these documents, it is not a stretch to suppose that they were among the computer files and other intelligence items recovered from the remnants of the building which had been used as a hideout and meeting place by terrorist leader Abu-Musab al Zarqawi until his death there at the hands of US forces on June 8.

Jeff Emanuel

Jeff Emanuel, a Special Operations military veteran, is a Leadership fellow with the Center for International Trade and Security at the University of Georgia, where he also studies Classics. In addition, he is a contributing editor for conservative web log, and is a columnist for the Athens, GA Banner-Herald newspaper.

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