I wouldn't want to argue that point, except for the fact that I think that the President really doesn't believe at all his own assertions about Al Qaeda. It is as if the supposed debate over foreign policy doesn't even recognize what the real policy is, for in my view the assertions of the President as to why we need to continue the War in Iraq are and were lies from the beginning. Bush is asserting Al Qaeda to consciously misdirect the conversation onto an entirely bogus theme, in order to continue to hide the real reasoning behind the Administration policies.
Let me try to explain the real world to those who are only paying slight attention, and who like Bill Moyers seem to think that an argument with Bush's statements is a valid argument at all. In a very real way this is all a kind of three pods and a pea game. You try to follow where you think the pea is, when it was never under any of the pods in the first place.
Now some of you will say its all about oil, and not about democracy or even about a global war on terror (all of which are previous hiding the real pea moves of the administration). Yes, oil is a factor, but not in the way we think. The truth is much more nasty and scary.
Imagine you are one of the Lords of Finance, the obscenely rich in the world of the Western Democracies. You own some of the best minds in the world as your servants (they work for the Council on Foreign Relations, or the Trilateral Commission). Even so, only a very few of them know your real agenda, for the research these minds do for you is divided into pieces, and only a few of them ever see all the parts put together. This is what you know.
The world is headed for the garbage dump. The movie Children of Men is fairly accurate - the Western Democracies are on their way to essentially third world status. There will not be enough work, the middle classes will mostly disappear, and the very rich will run a world consisting essentially of billions of poor people. The very rich will be able to do this, because they are even now in the position to hire private armies, many of which have been being trained for years in wars in Africa and now are getting their final training in the Middle East.
These armies will have the very best weapons in the world, by and large supplied by American inventiveness and technological expertise. There is going to be a huge financial collapse, and probably a related infrastructure and agricultural collapse. All these are quite large interdependent complex systems, and the experts owned by the Lords of Finance know how fragile the whole system is. In a previous post, called "Economic Illusion - International Liquidity and play money in cyber-space", I pointed out the fake money bubble (no real value in any currencies created by Central Banks all over the world for the last 75 plus years). When the air goes out of this, money will mean nothing, and power (your own well equipped armies) will mean everything. The poor will live on the debris of a civilization that has collapsed, and consider themselves lucky if they get a job working in the sub-basement of a place that manufactures something the very rich want.
The world will consist of feudal-like corporate economic domains and nation states will have disappeared. Technological research will go forward, but raw power will be the main "currency" in use in the world. Servants of the rich will comb the poor for talent, and the talent will feel lucky to do whatever is needed for the little that is offered. The talent can be anything from someone who is a natural healer (the very rich want the best health), a good farmer, a psycho-path to be a killer-soldier, a good looking nine year old to be the pet of the week for a fat pervert. Make up your own worst nightmare, we are going to see it.
Knowing this is coming (its sooner than you think, because what is happening in the financial markets today are the first stirring winds of a very dark and dangerous worldwide economic storm), the Lord's of Finance wanted to have power in place in the Middle East in order to control the oil fields after the collapse. Not now in the present, the way most of us think, but for after the whole world goes in the toilet.
That's why the complex modern bases were built (under everyone's noses) in Iraq. It isn't our American soldiers that are going to live there, with all their nice amenities, but the paid mercenaries of the the very rich. These are essentially castles for these armies to live in while the collapse happens, and from which they will seek to control enough of the oil field production so as to keep the very rich in oil for a long long time (probably long enough to bring back nuclear powered electricity generating plants, only this time without all those costly and unnecessary safety rules). Since there will be no nation states, there will be no regulation of corporate excess. The Lords will live safe in their nice enclaves, in the best places, away from the worst pollution the world has ever imagined.
They don't even care about global warming, because with enough energy, technological innovation and raw military power, you can live anyway and anywhere you want, while the rest will just have to survive if they can. Having sucked the life out of the world economy, they believe they can survive any descent into barbarism.
Since nobody is looking in this direction (in terms of the real policies behind what the Western Democracies do, including the Bush administration), the players can make it appear that everything is as is to be expected and trick us into arguing about all kinds of things other than what is actually happening. And, since it will be a world-wide economic collapse, no reason to be concerned about China and India, for their very rich are making ready for the same world, which anyone really paying attention can see coming. Seem callus to you? Of course, but when in history did the powerful and the rich every do anything but be callus and self serving.
Anyway, that's the real reasoning behind what the Bush Administration is doing in Iraq, even if little George might not himself know it. Somehow he is getting his instructions, and is convinced its the righteous thing to do. Maybe he is the religious nut job people think, which makes him an even better fool-tool for those who are really really smart and can afford to own the best minds for sale.
Now what I haven't said, if you reread the above carefully, is that this idea of the Lords is actually going to work out the way they think. Its their PLAN, but it remains a guess even for their experts, and lets face it, these folks like to play with fire, think power and money makes them invincible and are willing to risk everyone else, as long as they BELIEVE they can keep themselves and theirs safe.
As for the rest of us? Well, we are smarter than the Lords think we are. We will survive, and if we understand what to do to make this seeming dark future work for us (by building a new civilization in the sense of a spiritual culture), things will be tough, but not impossible. You see, in civil society, in cultural creatives and in other related places, wisdom is being planted and grown and harvested. Wisdom ultimately beats power and might and wealth, because it doesn't even play that game. We will survive by cooperation, while they will believe they rule because they appear to dominate. We let them have their illusion of dominance. We understand they are moral children, incapable of understanding the riches of a truly spiritual culture based on love and brother and sisterhood. Perhaps we should even pity them.
At the same time, we can't stop them. We can't eliminate from the world the morally insane who never have enough. So, instead, we pity them, we move aside, we make our own spaces where daily life is rich in comradeship and stories, and where children are honored and educated so as to understand that owning and dominating are not what life is about. Life is about that spiritual spark - that bit of the divine in each individual. We nurture that spark in each other and in our progeny. That spark will exist beyond the limits we now imagine for any single biography. At the same time, that story is a longer tale and if you want to know more about it, you'll have to read my book: the Way of the Fool.