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One of the popular topics of confrontation among this year’s crop of presidential hopefuls is what to “do” about the war in Iraq, as if “war” was merely one option among many.

It’s when pressed for alternative options that the candidates start stammering and seeking inventive ways to answer a different question instead.

There are two “options” being presented for consideration by the American electorate this year.

The first option is to remain on the battlefield until the other side is either killed, captured or has surrendered. That is generally the working plan on both sides when the war breaks out. (Neither side goes to war planning to lose.)

The second option, after the war has begun, is for one side to surrender and the other side to declare victory. It doesn’t much matter what euphemisms are used to describe it. When you get into a fight and the other side didn’t lose, it means that you did. Half a victory is equally half a defeat.

But for the sake of argument, let’s pretend there is a way to withdraw from Iraq that doesn’t involve decisively defeating the enemy. Call it “peace with honor” or “strategic redeployment” or whatever substitute for “surrender” suits you.

The problem with Option No. 3 is that it only counts if both sides agree to surrender at the same time. If the enemy isn’t defeated, he remains the enemy. Many of those we’ve released from Gitmo to go home to their families have turned up later either being killed or captured after they returned to the battlefield.

It isn’t like we should be surprised when the enemy doesn’t quit and go home. What will he do without the infidel enemy to fight? Go back home and resume civilian life?

Maybe go to school on the Jihadi Bill? Get a good-paying factory job? Start a small IED manufacturing business? Vocational rehab?

Or just seek out a new battlefield?

The Jerusalem Post reported this week that a Palestinian Authority security official said thousands of jihadis poured into Gaza after Hamas blew up the border wall between Gaza and Egypt.

Most of the foreign fighters who entered Gaza, the paper reported, were fighters who had previously fled the fighting in Iraq.

This is something the advocates of Option 3 should note carefully. The jihadis fled Iraq in defeat. But not in terror. They didn’t go back home to return to herding goats and chasing camels. They “fled” to the Gaza Strip, where they offered to join Hamas and Jihad Islami in the war against Israel.

“Hamas has turned the Gaza Strip into an international center for global jihad,” said one official quoted by the Post. “Most of the men who entered the Gaza Strip through the breached border are now being trained in Hamas’ camps and schools.”

Another official quoted by the Post said, “They brought with them tons of explosives and various types of weapons, including anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles. … What’s happening in the Gaza Strip is very dangerous not only for Israel, but for many Palestinians as well.”

If the jihadis that America’s finest have defeated in Iraq simply packed up in search of a new, less defended battlefield, then where is the logic in assuming that they will go home and “tend goats” if we withdraw, albeit “honorably”?

If they run away from defeat simply to fight another day, why would they run away from victory, whether real or perceived?

If the jihadis think that we are on the run, both logic and the historic lessons about jihadist fighters teach that, rather than running “the other way,” he will take off in hot pursuit of the one who “withdraws with honor.”

And once we withdraw, the thousands of jihadist fighters, “with tons of explosives and various types of advanced missiles,” that didn’t “run” from Iraq to take advantage of the breach in Gaza’s border will run to America’s porous borders to fight us.

It is absolutely impossible to successfully protect ourselves from an enemy we don’t understand. Americans have never misunderstood an enemy as much as the one who is now determined to destroy us.

Our common enemy is unlike any enemy ever faced by the modern Western world. We don’t understand them because in the West our goals are primarily no longer religiously based.

Our goal is to die peacefully in our beds of old age with the least amount of personal sacrifice. Anything less than that is considered a tragedy. If one of our prominent congressmen stood up and said, “I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death,” we would send him out for psychological evaluation. We just don’t have any Patrick Henry’s around any more.

However, our enemy’s life-long goal, indeed his crowning achievement in this life, is to die in battle against the infidel. According to his religion, it is his only guarantee of Paradise. If we withdraw from Iraq and Afghanistan, he will rush to our soil “to guarantee his Paradise” by dying in battle here.

To us, war is an evil that many Americans today do not believe is ever necessary. Virtually nothing is worth dying for to most Americans today.

To our enemy, jihad is a rare opportunity and death by jihad is a rare blessing to be sought after. And don’t forget: His ultimate hope is spending eternity in Paradise with his own harem of 72 virgins. That’s a powerful motivator for sex-starved young men.

So there aren’t three options for the war in Iraq, no matter how hard the candidates try to convince the American public that there are.

The actual options are these: We can fight the enemy on his turf, or we can fight him on ours.

The perceived option of not fighting is an illusion. The jihadis aren’t going to go away. Even if we do – especially if we do!


Related special offer:

“Everlasting Hatred: The Roots of Jihad”

“Islam Rising: The Never Ending Jihad Against Christianity”

“Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West”

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