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Meanwhile, there's this Iraq thing

Maureen Dowd went to yesterday's US Senate hearing:

It’s hard to follow the narrative of our misadventure in Iraq. We went in to help the Shiites that we betrayed in the first Gulf War shake off their Sunni tormentors. But then, predictably for everyone except the chuckleheaded W. and Cheney, the Shiites began tormenting the Sunnis. So we put 90,000 Sunni Sons of Iraq — some of the same ones who were exploding American soldiers — on our payroll so they’d stop shooting at Americans and helping Al Qaeda. Our troops have gone from policing a Sunni-Shiite civil war to policing a Shiite-Shiite power struggle, while Osama bin Laden plots in peace as Al Qaeda in Iraq distracts us and drains our military resources.

Even some senators got confused.

John McCain seemed to repeat his recent confusion over tribes, mistakenly referring to Al Qaeda again as a “sect of Shiites” before correcting himself and saying: “or Sunnis or anybody else.”

And Joe Biden theorized that “The Awakening,” made up of Sunnis, might decide to get into a civil war with Sunnis, presumably meaning Shiites.

But Senator Biden asked a trenchant, if attenuated, question of Mr. Crocker about Al Qaeda: “If you could take it out, you had a choice, the Lord Almighty came down and sat in the middle of the table there and said, ‘Mr. Ambassador, you can eliminate every Al Qaeda source in Afghanistan and Pakistan, or every Al Qaeda personnel in Iraq,’ which would you pick?”

Given the progress beating back Al Qaeda in Iraq, the ambassador replied, he would pick the hiding place of bin Laden.

“That would be a smart choice,” Mr. Biden noted.

Senator John Warner asked the essential question — the one that makes it clear that W. and Cheney hurt the national interest: Is the war making us safer here at home?

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