Americans deserve an answer

By Ted Belman (revised)

Hillary Clinton recently said

    “If I had been president in 2002, I would not have started this war.”

    “If we in Congress don’t end this war before January 2009, as president, I will.”

Both of these certitudes ignore the context and the realities. This may be because the Democrats by and large are in denial or believe that America is to blame for terrorism. If only America would stop oppressing the Arabs or stop favouring Israel, terrorism would greatly diminish.

Even if they are prepared to accept that we are in World War IV with Islamists, staying engaged in Iraq is counter-productive, they argue. It produces more terrorists than it kills. It is also costly to American lives and treasure.

Finally they argue that the war in Iraq was not prosecuted properly and that more troops should have been sent. While in hindsight, there is generally consensus on the errors but now the Democrats are against the surge and any attempt to correct the errors or the tactics or the strategy. Just bring the boys home and all will be well.

But what about World War IV? What are the causes of this war and how should it be prosecuted?

This war is a product of Islamic Jihad. Andy Bostom, author of the Legacy of Jihad, writes,

“The noted 19th century Arabic lexicographer E.W. Lane, who studied the etymology of the term, observed,

    “Jihad came to be used by the Muslims to signify wag[ing] war, against unbelievers”. The origins of the Muslim institution of jihad are found in the Qur’an. Sura (chapter) 9 is devoted in its entirety to war proclamations. There we read that the Muslim faithful are to “slay the idolaters wherever you find them. . . . Fight against such as those who have been given the scripture as believe not in Allah. . . . Go forth, light-armed and heavy armed, and strive with your wealth and your lives in the way of Allah. That is best for you, if ye but knew.”

From such verses in the Qur’an and in the hadith, Muslim jurists and theologians formulated the Islamic institution of permanent jihad war against non-Muslims to bring the world under Islamic rule (Sharia law).

The consensus on the nature of jihad from major schools of Islamic jurisprudence is clear.

Summarizing this consensus of centuries of Islamic thought, the seminal Muslim scholar Ibn Khaldun, who died in 1406, wrote:

    In the Muslim community, the holy war is a religious duty because of the universalism of the mission and (the obligation to) convert everybody to Islam either by persuasion or by force.

Clearly the actions of the west are not the cause of the war as claimed by the Left. It is not who we are or what we do. Its all who they are and what they believe.

After the fall of the Ottoman Empire, Arabs turned to socialism under the Baath Party and pan-Arabism under Nasser. Their massive defeat in ’67 at the hands of the Israelis gave rise to the resurgence of Islam lead by Khomeini. With it came the call to Jihad, fueled by the new found oil wealth.

On Feb 1, 1993, one month before the World Trade Centre bombing, A Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare, reported,

    Since the Fall of 1992, there has been a significant increase in Islamist terrorism, subversion and violence in such diverse countries as India, Pakistan, Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Algeria, Nigeria, Somalia, and many others. Despite the different circumstances of these incidents, they do not appear to be isolated events. Rather, they are the first incidents in the escalation of an Islamic Jihad against the “Judeo-Christian world order”. Thus, the climax of this struggle could well be an increase in terrorism throughout the West.

Muslims went on the attack all over the world giving rise to the expression “the margins of Islam are bloody”. Americans were often the victim of these attacks, the most egregious of which occurred on 9/11.

This was not a singular occurrence but it was a dramatic escalation in the war against the west promising more of the same.

What was America to do? In the past it “lobbed a few missiles” as it did in Afghanistan and Iraq or retreated as it did from Iran and Lebanon. 9/11 required more than tokenism. It required America to fight the war it had been avoiding for over twenty years.

Even the Democrats supported the war in Afghanistan and perhaps still do. But they question why Bush invaded Iraq. They argue it had nothing to do with the war on terror as if it was enough to invade Afghanistan only. They argue that terror must be treated as a matter of criminality and fought as such.

Given this history of the rise and growth of Jihad with its incumbent terrorism, how can Democrats suggest that it has anything to do with the invasion of Iraq.

When President Bush spoke to the Joint Session of Congress and the American People on Sept 20, 2001 he described al Qaeda thusly,

    This group and its leader — a person named Osama bin Laden — are linked to many other organizations in different countries, including the Egyptian Islamic Jihad and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan. There are thousands of these terrorists in more than 60 countries. They are recruited from their own nations and neighborhoods and brought to camps in places like Afghanistan, where they are trained in the tactics of terror. They are sent back to their homes or sent to hide in countries around the world to plot evil and destruction.

And continued,

    Our response involves far more than instant retaliation and isolated strikes. Americans should not expect one battle, but a lengthy campaign, unlike any other we have ever seen. It may include dramatic strikes, visible on TV, and covert operations, secret even in success. We will starve terrorists of funding, turn them one against another, drive them from place to place, until there is no refuge or no rest. And we will pursue nations that provide aid or safe haven to terrorism. Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists. (Applause.) From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime.

Bush was speaking not only to the American people but for them. Yet Hillary Clinton said if she were the president in 2002, she would “not have started this war”. Was she referring to the Iraq war which started in ’03 or the Afghanistan war which was started in ’02. In any event, what would she have done to protect America or American interests? Americans deserve an answer.

And now she says, if elected, she will end the war in 2009. What does she mean? Does she intend to pull out of Iraq entirely and allow Iraq to fall to Iran which certainly will happen. If so, Lebanon and Jordan will also fall to Iran and its proxies shortly thereafter. And so will the entire Persian Gulf, Saudi Arabia included.

Or is she prepared to drawn the line of retreat somewhere in order to maintain American presence in the Middle East and to protect its allies and interests. If so, where? Would it not be easier by remaining in Iraq rather then to retreating from Iraq? Americans deserve an answer.

If Americans withdraw from Iraq then what purpose was served by invading Afghanistan in the first place? Certainly the Taliban were punished for harbouring al Qaeda and the training grounds for terrorists were eliminated. But what is the point of the latter if they are allowed to regroup in Pakistan or Iraq or anywhere else for that matter?

Either America wants to prevail or it will be defeated.

Michael Gaynor in his article, Churchill, Lincoln, and Bush: Win! wrote,

PM Winston Churchill First Statement in House of Commons, May 13, 1940 put it this way,

    “Victory, at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory however long and hard the road may be; for without victory there is no survival.”

    “We will have no truce or parley with you [Hitler], or the grisly gang who work your wicked will. You do your worst — and we will do our best.”

He did not pretend that war would proceed according to plan:

    “No one can guarantee success in war, but only deserve it.”.

He was realistic and resolved:

    “Death and sorrow will be the companions of our journey; hardship our garment; constancy and valor our only shield; we must be undaunted, we must be inflexible.”

He had faith in the ability of the British people, once awakened, to persevere:

    “We have not journeyed all this way across the centuries, across the oceans, across the mountains, across the prairies, because we are made of sugar candy.”

The same must be said of the American People

One must keep in mind that Great Britain declared war on Germany before she was attacked. Still Churchill understood what was at stake.

Many have compared the threat posed by Hitler and Nazism in the thirties with the threat posed by the Islamists of today and concluded that the later is a more formidable enemy.

Even so and notwithstanding his words, Bush is not yet prepared to see the Iraq War as a regional war and certainly not as a global war. His “surge” strategy speech included

    Succeeding in Iraq also requires defending its territorial integrity and stabilizing the region in the face of extremist challenges. This begins with addressing Iran and Syria. These two regimes are allowing terrorists and insurgents to use their territory to move in and out of Iraq. Iran is providing material support for attacks on American troops. We will disrupt the attacks on our forces. We’ll interrupt the flow of support from Iran and Syria. And we will seek out and destroy the networks providing advanced weaponry and training to our enemies in Iraq.

To my mind this was not a very aggressive stance. Yet he has done little in this regard. USA Today reviewed the US policy with respect to Iran and reported

    National security adviser Stephen Hadley said the administration plans to release a report detailing its evidence of Iranian involvement in Iraqi fighting but is withholding it “to try and put out the facts as accurately as we can.”

    Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said administration officials “want to make sure that the briefing … is dominated by facts: serial numbers, technology and so on. And so we just want to make sure that the briefing that is provided is completely reliable.”

This suggests to me that the US policy with respect to Iran remains as it has been; not to take them on. Too bad.

Will Bush commit to preventing Iran from getting the bomb or expanding its influence and hegemony? Americans deserve an answer.

How will the global War on terror be fought? How will the spread of Islamism be stopped” Americans deserve an answer.

February 5, 2007 | 10 Comments »

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10 Comments / 10 Comments

  1. As an American Jew who fought in Korea and in Israel, I would have spilled my blood rather than to surrender; however, I will attest to the fact that Bush and his advisors have not prosecuted this war correctly. As I have said on numerous occasions, the west have forgotten how to win a war. In the case of Iraq, all is not lost if a major change is made.

    The President must notify the Sunni Arabs and the Shia Arabs that if fighting continues after one week, then a Sunni city and a Shia city will dissappear in a horrendous fire ball. After one week, if the fighting has continued, two more will dissappear and even after that. I know that many innocent civilians will die, but we did destroy Dresden and Hiroshima during WWII in which many thousands died. It broke the back of resistance and it would do the same in Iraq.

  2. From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime.

    Unfortunately, the president has not been consistent here.

  3. The problem is that more than half of Americans don’t realize that we are in an existential battle of civilizations. That this is just the next chapter of the original Crusades fought by European Christians in response to the Moslem conquest of what was once controlled by Christians, namely places such as Palestine, Syria, Lebanon, and Spain to name only a few. It was as recently as the late 17th century that the last Moslem army was defeated outside the gates of Vienna.

    Had we in this country had a loyal opposition as opposed to the disloyal one aided and abetted by an American hating press the war in Iraq may have taken a much different turn. How could someone like Harry Reid proclaim to the world that the democrats “killed the Patriot Act?” Or Dick Durbin compares American soldiers with Nazis, Stalin, and Pol Pot. Ted Kennedy saying that Abu Grieb was “now under new management” implying that our soldiers were as bad or worse than Saddam’s killers. The NYT, The LA Times, and the Washington Post publishing top secret security information that impedes the war effort. Recall that Gen. Giap of the NVA has clearly stated in his memoirs that the Vietnam War was won on the battlefield by the USA but lost back home because of defeatist propaganda disseminated by the likes of Jane Fonda, Walter Kronkite, and John Kerry. Hillary is just taking advantage of the politics of it all to cynically chastise GWB for not being clairvoyant.

    The only thing that can be questioned about the Global War on Terrorism is not the wisdom of the strategy of defeating the sponsors of global Jihad but the tactics employed and the will of the American People to fight a war that may last as long or longer than the Cold War did. I’m afraid that we have already lost this round and it will take more mass casualties of Americans on our own soil to once again unite us for the long struggle ahead.

  4. Democratic thinking argues against America’s intervention in Iraq at first instance and bemoans America’s painful cost of that intervervention, laying the blame squarely on the Bush administration’s failed policy of regime change and mismanagement of the Iraq war. The Democrats are now clamouring for an end to American presence in Iraq as soon as possible. With growing support amongst Americans for their views in this regard, it is not surprising that Hillary Clinton has suggested a fixed end date. Other Democrats likely will follow that lead.

    The Republicans disagree in substance only with Bush’s decision to go into Iraq and take out Saddam Hussein.

    Bush has admitted many tactical and strategic mistakes were made by his administration as regards Iraq (without admitting all the sins democrats accuse him of regarding Iraq) and he too speaks of getting out of Iraq as soon as possible. Unlike the Democrats, Bush and his administration do not put a time frame or limit as to when an American pullout or more pejoratively an American retreat from Iraq will come about. Like the Democrats he too is seeking to shift responsibility control and security of Iraq onto the shoulders of Iraq’s new PM al-Maliki and his government. Bush has proposed what essentially is a last gasp effort of putting more troops into Iraq to enable the new Iraqi government to take responsibility for their own country, which if successful will allow Americans to withdraw or retreat if you will from Iraq and be able to say “mission accomplished”, not that there will be much joy if the American’s get to say those words.

    In the result, with support for the American presence in Iraq rapidly waning, even within his own Republican ranks, Bush is really backed into a corner with no way out except to win. His last chance gambit of putting in more troops into Iraq is probably far too little, far too late.

    The Democrats have already begun to ride the wave of anti-Bush resentment in America and unless Bush gets the miracle he hopes for, that wave is going to carry the Democrats right into the White House.

  5. Iraq did have WMD…they used up their stockpiles of WMD on their own people, especially the Kurds who suffered the loss of thousands due to Saddams rule by terror. Iraq also had one of the biggest stockpiles of conventional arms in the region and those arms plus new supplies from Iran and Syria are now killing American troops and Iraqis by the tens of thousands.

    I said before the war began that Saddam could have been handled with tactical bombing and without putting troops on the ground. We have the technology, let’s use it. Send more bombs instead of more troops and don’t put troops in harms way unless it is just a mop-up operation. Also, control over Iran is the key to preventing another Holocaust and Iran, along with Saudi financiers who are funding the Sunnis, are the major supporters of this present conflict which has spiraled out of control. Maybe Saudi will step up to the plate and send their own troops in instead of hiding in the shadows.

    Like in Gaza and the West Bank, these internal conflicts in Iraq might be a good thing. When Iran was fighting Iraq they did not have a lot of time to set their sights on other objectives. The US should take the opportunity to get out of the way and let them all go at it. The only thing that the US must do is protect its vital interests, as Ted points out, and quickly take action to prevent Iran from its nuclear goals. If Bush would let the Democrats have their way and he takes back his increase in troops, there is a better chance that he can get support for a real plan to change Iran’s direction.

  6. “It produces more terrorists than it kills.”

    It’s as if these guys were all sitting in their offices wondering about how to put the next IPO in place, when suddenly they headed for the door, donned masks and took up arms, despite the fact that they had never even touched a gun before and had never ever considered the infidels as an enemy, except in the case of hostile takeovers (from a stock market standpoint of course).

    Suddenly this – whatever it was – magically produced a huge number of terrorists.

    How can people say that Guff, let alone expect others to swallow it?

  7. Even with all of the turmoil and death it can not be honestly said that the war in Iraq has not been worth it.
    Saddam had moved production of WMD to Libya which was also where he out sourced some of his nuclear development activities. This is a verified fact and when we went into Iraq Libya revealed the programs and abandoned them.

    If Saddam had remained in power there is no telling what the future would hold, none of us can be certain it would not be worse than the situation with Iran now – All one can offer is speculation.

    What is certain and not speculation is that Saddam’s ambitions abroad were to destroy Israel and attack western interest. Anyone who disputes that has an agenda or is ignorant and has not delved into captured Iraqi pre-war documents to any great degree.

  8. I believe that Iraq will split up and keeping it as one country is a lost cause. But the debate should not be about when to cut and run but how to protect American interests and friends in the ME. What is the Plan B?

    I also believe that the sooner America cuts Iran down to size and gives the Islamists a bloody nose the sooner it will start to win the “war on terror”.

  9. You do your readers a diservice by asking which war Mrs Clinton meant. She has never said that fighting the Taliban (they had housed Bein Ladin) was wrong; she has said, like others, that Iraq was a diversion from this goal. In fact today some govt information for the first time admitted that a civil war was taking place in Iraq. And so I offer this piece that will prove helpful in understanding what may be taking place in and among the Palestinians:

    The American people no longer seem to9 want their kids killed for a civil war. They are not fighting Al Qaeda in Iraq. They are in the middle of a struggle between Shia and Sunnis, with support pouring in from Syria and Iran

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