Iraq: A Safe Haven For Terrorists

Military supply truck on fire after attack by insurgents, Baghdad, Iraq, 2-15-06
This column was written by CBS News Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith.
As everyone is talking about the third anniversary of the war in Iraq, one of things I keep hearing is, "If we don't fight them there, we'll have to fight them here." "Them" being terrorists.

Yesterday, President Bush said in a speech aimed at bolstering support for the war, quote, "By helping Iraqis build a democracy, we will deny the terrorists a safe haven to plan attacks against America."

We'd all like to see democracy succeed in Iraq — but how about that business about a safe haven for terrorists?

Before the war, you'd have been hard-pressed to find any terrorists there. Now Iraq is thick with them, mostly because our military wasn't able to secure the country, let alone the borders, in the months after the war started.

I urge you to go to the CBS News Web site and read Pentagon correspondent David Martin's report on the late start and shorthanded attempts to develop an Iraqi security force.

Sobering stuff. Had we set out to create a haven for terrorists, I doubt we could have done a better job.

Harry's daily commentary can be heard on manyCBS Radio News affiliates across the country.