The recent assassination of Pierre Gemayel, a leading pro-Western Christian politician in Lebanon, has all the earmarks of a Hezbollah-Iranian operation carried out with or without Syrian help. Iran is now pouring millions of dollars into Lebanon to rebuild Hezbollah’s military strength and is also financing Hamas in Gaza.
Iran considers the pro-Western Christians of Lebanon as much an enemy as Israel, and she may very well ignite another civil war to finally bring the Christians under Muslim domination. In other words, what happens there is going to have a serious impact on American security one way or another. All of which brings us to the war in Iraq.
Much of the criticism of that war has been emotional and irrational. Why? Because it is a war difficult to understand. Also, we have never fought a war of this kind before. But be that as it may, the war can only be characterized as a noble struggle against tyranny. It is part of the American plan to bring democracy to the Middle East, to free its people from cruel dictators and radical Islam. That it has turned out to be a very difficult war is no reason to throw in the towel and go home. It is all the more reason for us to hang tough.
The war has already won us several dividends. It persuaded Libya to give up its nuclear ambitions. It has produced a democratically elected government in Iraq, and it provides us with a base of military operations close to our deadliest enemy: Iran.
We have been in a state of belligerency with Iran ever since its student hotheads invaded the American embassy in Tehran in November 1979 and held 52 staff members hostage for more than a year. Its new president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a latter-day Hitler, who was a 23-year-old student when the U.S. embassy was seized, has threatened to wipe Israel off the map and wants Americans to get out of Iraq. A retreat from Iraq would convince the Iranians that we are weak and unwilling to defend our interests.
The war by radical Islam against the West is a World War being fought on many fronts, from New York to Bali to Madrid to London. While we have zeroed in on al-Qaida as the focus of our attention because of the attacks on New York and the Pentagon on 9-11, we must not forget that those attacks were merely part of the larger war.
Without 9-11, we never would have invaded Afghanistan or Iraq. Whatever you may think of how we got into Iraq, the simple fact is that the Iraqi front is where the war is presently being fought at its greatest intensity, because that’s where the terrorists have concentrated their efforts to defeat the United States and the democratic government it helped create. And because of all the defeatist rhetoric coming out of Washington, the terrorists are now confident they can win.
Why did we ever believe that the Islamic terrorist movement that produced the killers of 9-11 would be easy to defeat in their own home territory? Probably because we were able to rid Afghanistan of the Taliban in a short war with few casualties, and we were able to remove Saddam Hussein in a short and brilliant invasion of Iraq. That gave us the false impression that the jihadists were a pushover. Nor could we anticipate that Muslims would wind up killing each other in such cruel, inhuman ways.
So, how do we win such a war? By simply hunkering down in Iraq and protecting its new-born democracy from destruction by the insurgency. Yes, it means suffering casualties, but we tend to forget that the enemy was able to kill 3,000 innocent individuals on American soil in just a few hours.
The war is winnable provided we understand what winning means. Winning means preventing the enemy from taking power in Iraq. It’s that simple.
An American retreat from Iraq would produce catastrophic consequences. It would enable Iran to establish its political hegemony over Iraq, force the Kurds to leave the Baghdad government and create an independent Kurdistan giving Turkey the pretext to invade Kurdistan, turn Iraq once more into an enemy of the U.S., destabilize Pakistan, encourage the Taliban in Afghanistan to increase their efforts to regain power in Kabul, and serve notice to both Israel and the Lebanese Christians that America does not have the stomach to defend them.
Another serious consequence is that the worldwide jihad would go after American interests all over the world and do its utmost to create terror in the United States itself.
An even more serious consequence is what a defeat in Iraq would do to the American psyche and the morale of our military forces. Our soldiers in Iraq are true American heroes who believe in victory. If their government in Washington goes belly-up, there is no telling what members of that force might do when they got home.
In addition, all respect for the United States as a great military power would evaporate. The Russians, Chinese, North Koreans and Islamists would rejoice at the debasing and humbling of the United States and laugh at our moral pretenses.
Would an America defeated in Iraq come to the aid of Taiwan if invaded by the Communist Chinese? Would we be capable of preventing the Iranians from producing a full-fledged nuclear weapon? Would we have to leave it up to little Israel to destroy Iran’s nuclear capability? Would we be capable of preventing the North Korean thug from producing his own nuclear arsenal? Would our retreat make the world safer for our children?
As Mark Steyn states in his book “America Alone,” “The central issue is America’s credibility and will to prevail.” In short, we cannot afford defeat.
Too many Americans seem to believe that peace can come cheap. This nation has been fighting wars ever since it was born out of the Revolutionary War. We fought the Barbary War in Jefferson’s time, the Mexican War in 1848, our own Civil War in 1861-65, the Spanish-American War in 1898, then World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Invasion of Grenada, the Bosnian war, the Afghanistan war and now the Iraq war. And who is stupid enough to believe that Iraq will be our last war?
In short, the war in Iraq is both noble and moral, it is a necessary part of our struggle against world jihadism, and it is quite winnable as long as we understand what winning means preventing the enemy from destroying the first democratically elected government in Iraq’s history.
In the stern and prophetic words of President Andrew Jackson: “No one need think that the world can be ruled without blood. The civil sword shall and must be red and bloody. … Take time to deliberate; but when the time for action arrives, stop thinking and go in.”
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