The Iraq War Protects America — How?

1931883-A U.S. soldier stands guard at the site of a car bomb explosion, in Baghdad, Iraq, Thursday Aug. 24, 2006. At least 14 Iraqis and two U.S. soldiers were killed Thursday in separate bombings and shootings, the latest casualties in the country's ongoing sectarian and political violence, officials said.(AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)
AP Photo/Hadi Mizban
This column was written by CBS News Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith.
President Bush has kicked off a series of speeches on why America needs to stay the course in Iraq by declaring that if the United States withdraws from Iraq now, we risk terrorist attacks in our own cities.

Is that true? Should we believe him? If U.S. military involvement ended in Iraq today, would the Sunnis and Shiites — who are so busy killing each other right now — suddenly refocus their hatred on America?

Most of the 9-11 terrorists were from Saudi Arabia. There are throngs of America-haters in Pakistan, and Indonesia, and London — and presumably here in the United States.

Is Iraq really the hinge on which the War on Terror swings? How does the war in Iraq make people who are ideologically driven to want to destroy us not want to do that anymore?

I want to support the president. Especially in wartime. But the success of the Iraq war really only means one thing: Our people won't have to die there anymore.

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

By Harry Smith