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Al Qaeda and Osama are back, and they're not in Iraq

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From Josh Marshall:

You've probably seen today's report in the Times about the al Qaida resurgence along Pakistan's lawless frontier with Afghanistan. This should hardly be a surprise not only because of the Taliban's comeback in Afghanistan but much more importantly because of the de facto ceasefire with al Qaida militants and their backers that the Pakistani government recently agreed to.

But it gives the current debate over Iraq a renewed clarity. The whole endeavor in Iraq is no more and no less than a grand national joke we are playing on ourselves. We're having a clownish debate over Iraq as the center of a war on terror while the actual people -- in many cases, it would seem, literally the same people -- who plotted the 9/11 attack are on the rebound. How can anyone credibly deny that if most of our ground forces and budget weren't tied down in Iraq we would be far better able to react to this genuine threat?

And we are unwilling to shift course because we can't come to grips with what has already happened.

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