What Real War Looks Like

By Elan Journo, Ayn Rand Institute

What should we do to protect ourselves from the threat of Islamic totalitarianism? Depressingly, today’s prevailing answer is to urge some form of “diplomacy”–and rule out as inconceivable the one option our self-defense demands: a war to defeat the enemy. If, like many people, you believe we’ve already tried this option and failed, think again. Washington’s campaign in Iraq looks nothing like the war necessary for our self-defense.

What does such a war look like?

America’s security depends on identifying precisely the enemy that threatens our lives–and then crushing it, rendering it a non-threat. It depends on proudly defending our right to live free of foreign aggression–by unapologetically killing the killers who want us dead.

Those who say this is a “new kind of conflict” against a “faceless enemy” are wrong. The enemy Washington evasively calls “terrorism” is actually an ideologically inspired political movement: Islamic totalitarianism. It seeks to subjugate the West under a totalitarian Islamic regime, by means of terrorism, negotiation, war–anything that will win its jihad. The movement’s inspiration, first triumph and standard-bearer is the theocracy of Iran. Iran’s regime has, for decades, used terrorist proxies to attack America. It openly seeks nuclear weapons, and zealously sponsors and harbors jihadists. Without Iran’s support, legions of holy warriors would be untrained, unarmed, unmotivated, impotent.

Destroying Islamic totalitarianism requires a punishing military onslaught to end its primary state representative and demoralize its supporters. We need to deploy all necessary force to destroy Iran’s ability to fight, while minimizing our own casualties. We need a campaign that ruthlessly inflicts the pain of war so intensely, that the jihadists renounce their cause as hopeless and fear to take up arms against us. This is how America and its Allies defeated both Nazi Germany and Imperialist Japan.

Victory in World War II required flattening cities, firebombing factories, shops and homes, devastating vast tracts of Germany and Japan. The enemy and its supporters were exhausted materially and crushed in spirit. What our actions demonstrated to them is that any attempt to implement their vicious ideologies would bring them only destruction and death. Since their defeat, Nazism and Japanese imperialism have essentially withered as ideological forces. Victory today requires the same: smashing Iran’s totalitarian regime and thus demoralizing the Islamist movement and its many supporters, so that they, too, abandon their cause as futile.

We triumphed over both Japan and Germany in less than four years after Pearl Harbor. Yet more than five years after 9/11, against a far weaker enemy, our soldiers still die daily in Iraq. Why? Because this war is neither assertive, nor ruthless–it is a tragically meek pretense at war.

We went to battle not with theocratic Iran, but with the secular dictatorship of Iraq. Indeed, the Islamist regime in Iran remains untouched, fomenting terrorism. (Our leaders now hope to “engage” it diplomatically.)

And the campaign in Iraq was not even aimed at crushing whatever threat Hussein’s regime posed to us. “Shock and awe” bombing never materialized. Our brave and capable forces were hamstrung: ordered not to bomb key targets such as power plants, and to avoid firing into mosques (where insurgents hide) lest we offend Muslim sensibilities. Instead, we sent our troops to lift Iraq out of poverty, open new schools, fix up hospitals, feed the hungry, unclog sewers–a Peace Corps, not an army corps, mission.

U.S. troops were sent, not to crush an enemy threatening America, but (as Bush explained) to “sacrifice for the liberty of strangers,” putting the lives of Iraqis above their own. They were prevented from using all necessary force to win, or even to protect themselves. No wonder the insurgency has flourished, emboldened by Washington’s self-crippling policies. (Perversely, we are now tossing even more Americans into this quagmire.)

Bush did all this to bring Iraqis the vote. Any objective assessment of the Middle East would have told one who would win elections, given the widespread popular support for Islamic totalitarianism. Iraqis swept to power a pro-Islamist leadership intimately tied to Iran. The most influential figure in Iraqi politics is now Moktadr al-Sadr, an Islamist warlord lusting after theocratic rule and American blood. When asked whether he would accept just such an outcome from the elections, Bush said that of course he would, because “democracy is democracy.”

No war that ushers Islamists into political office has U.S. self-defense as its goal.

The war in Iraq has been worse than doing nothing, because it has galvanized our enemy to believe its success more likely than ever–even as it has drained Americans’ will to fight. Washington’s feeble campaign demonstrates the ruinous effects of refusing to assert our self-interest and defend our freedom. It is past time to consider our only moral and practical option: end the senseless sacrifice of our soldiers–and let them go to war to bring the Islamic totalitarians to their knees.

Elan Journo is a junior fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute in Irvine, Calif. The Institute promotes Objectivism, the philosophy of Ayn Rand–author of “Atlas Shrugged” and “The Fountainhead.” Contact the writer at media@aynrand.org.

April 11, 2007 | 5 Comments »

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5 Comments / 5 Comments

  1. Ed,

    I too want to extend my condolences for the loss of your son. I am glad you are back as you have contributed much to this blog in past and I hope you will continue to do so.

    In calling for America to deliver a punishing and devasting blow to Iran as was seen delivered to the Germans which brought WWII to a close, Journo in my view is very wrong to focus only on Iran. Journo is implying if not saying outright that such an attack on Iran will bring radical Islam to its knees or will frighten the surviving radical Islamists so that they will abandon their radical beliefs and vision for the world.

    To be sure, such a ruthless and devastating attack on Iran would send a chill down the spines of the radical Islamists which might keep them quiet for a time, but that time would likely be shortlived as they steel themselves with hatred and a thirst for revenge in preparation for the next stage of Islamic Jihad against the West and America and Israel in particular.

    For America to undergo a substantial change in attitude that would allow them to engage in a war that cared less about the loss of innocent Iranian lives and only about unequivocal victory against the Iranian enemy as was the case with Germany in WWII, leaving Iran defeated, demoralized and grovelling in the rubble left by the power of America is no simple matter.

    Assuming however that America was able to regain the courage, the values and the resolve it possessed in the 1940’s to destroy her enemies, America could not hope to do so by stopping such engagement with Iran’s defeat.

    Of the 1.4 billion Muslims in the world, 15% are Shi’ite Muslims and the rest, but for some relatively small Muslim sects are 85% Sunni. Iran with a population in excess of 60 million people is 90% Shi’te Muslims and neighboring Iraq with a population of over 25 million, is about 65% Shi’ite. The population of the Muslim Middle East however is over 300 million or about 255 million Sunni.

    Iran is not the only radical Islamic enemy of the West. Most of the radical Islamic enemies of the West are Sunni Muslims. While the Shia and the Sunni have their differences, they are united in their pathological suspicions that often rise to hatred of the West and all it stands for and especially since it stands in the way of Islam achieving its manifest destiny of world domination.

    Getting rid of Iran would leave the door open for the Saudis to solidify their position of influence and power in the Middle East.

    While the Saudis have sought to portray themselves as friends of the West and America in particular and indeed they have played some positive role in that regard, it is the darker role of the West’s enemy that they play all the more successfully.

    It is the Saudis who have taken the lead in spreading their Wahabbi version of Islam worldwide and spent fortunes of money to allay Western fears of Saudi bad intentions vis a vis the West. The Saudis have been eminently successful on both counts. It is the Wahabbi version of Islam however that creates potential for those moved to follow the dictates of that version of Islam to become radical in their thinking and the potential for those radicalized Muslims to go to the next step and join the radical Islamic holy war Jihad against the West. Further, the evidence is clear that the Saudis have also supported radical Islamic terrorism against the West with monies and in other ways.

    If America were to take out Iran, she may buy some quiet time but most of the radical Islamists, be they Shi or Sunni will be filled with feelings of hatred and needing revenge that the Islamic radicals likely will regroup and gather themselves again to launch yet another wave of Jihad against the West.

    America would have to therefore consider taking action against the Saudis and other Middle Eastern Muslim nations, perhaps not to devastate those countries as America might do to Iran, but hurt them enough to thereafter take real action to find, kill and imprison radical Islamists in their midst.

    America would also have to assume that a devastating attack on Iran and other nations harboring, supporting or nurturing radical Islamists would bring out the radical Islamist 5th columnists in America who would likley go on the attack with a vengeance.

    If America is to embark on a destructive war against Iran, America must therefore have a game plan to defend against the battle front from Muslim 5th columnists in America. That likely would mean legislating very tough measures for monitoring, investigation and apprehension of any Muslims in America upon whom the least amount of suspicion falls.

    If the Federal government began gearing up to attack Iran and other radical Islamic terror supporting nations and at the same time making preparations to defend Americans from the war front on American soil, the liberals and leftists including the ACLU would be raising a hue and cry at even a hint that the federal government was about to increase local, state and federal powers at the expense of civil liberties.

    America’s legislative agenda to enable America to carry on her war against the various targets of Islamic radicalism including those on the home front would have to be set into law in absolute secrecy by only those necessary to enact those laws and for the American government to proclaim those laws valid concurrent with America taking up arms against the radical Islamists.

    All of this would be exceedingly complicated, made all the moreso by various and sundry feckless American attitudes and policies that border on if not cross over into appeasement and accordingly exceedingly complicated for the American administration to put into effect.

    The bottom line is that as dangerous as Iran is, Iran is just one cog, albeit an important one in the wheel of radical Islamic Jihad against the West and America and Israel in particular. Radical Islam must be engaged and defeated on a number of fronts.

    In order for America to embark on this all out war to destroy radical Islam, she must first undergo a substantive change in attitude and perspective, necessary to have the courage, values and resolve to go into such war to do whatever it takes, no matter who and how many are killed or hurt to bring about the total destruction of radical Islamists of all kinds and degrees.

  2. Randy, Thanks. I have my memories. I recently went to Israel for a month and have seen many changes since I was last there. No one likes Olmert and his cabinet, but I see no rage of thousands marching on the Knesset. What I did see were far left Liberals who have the same mentality as those who voluntarily walked into the “showers” with no fight and it sickens me.

    If someone thinks that there will be no war in our near future, he/she will become ostriches
    sticking their collective heads in the sand. I really hope that the US and Israel unite and really take the coming war without worrying about civilans casualties because virtually every Moslem is as dangerous. Either wipe them out now or learn to speak Arabic or Farsi.


  3. I have refrained from any comments since the death of my son; however, Elan Journo has hit the nail on the head with his advise. I have advocated this type of action for years. During WWII, we bombed Dresden, in Germany, until it turned to dust with many, many civilians dead and we did the same in Japan. It broke the backs of their spirit, their armies and the Nazi hierarchy until they surrendered unconditionally. The same with Japan. I would rather ride a bicycle or a horse for traveling than to pamper these crazies for their oil. Turn loose the dogs of war and show these bastard what real war is.

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