Sunday, August 26, 2007

The Battle For Iraq: Every Drop of Blood

Fondly do we hope—fervently do we pray—that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue, until all the wealth piled by the bond-men’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash, shall be paid by another drawn by the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said “the judgments of the Lord, are true and righteous altogether.”
-Abraham Lincoln, Inaugural Address 1965

As the war continues to wind down and the new election cycle in the United States begins to play out, the narrative of the Iraq war is, once again, being taken out, brushed off and reshaped to fit the current political climate. Even among certain pundits in the old media and the new, the same accepted wisdoms make their way into every commentary.

On the right, noted pundits and even well versed military or political strategists, who supported the invasion of Iraq and the war to its upcoming conclusion, have taken to stating that there were "mistakes made" in the conduct of the war, but, now, the "right man and the right strategy is in the right place" to finish it. Obviously, referring to Petraeus.

On the left, while some politicians and even journalists are now having to distance themselves from the mourning ashes and breast beating "the war is lost" meme, they continue to insist that Iraq should never have been an issue because we never should have been there. We should have, as they state, been fighting the "real war" against terrorism in Afghanistan. Or, in some minds, not at war at all, but through some sort of police actions supported by international law.

In both cases, I disagree. Oh, the "right" may be correct to state that the "right man and right strategy" is in place, but it is not necessarily that it is out of time or sync with what had to happen to make it "the right man and the right strategy". For our over all strategy, which was to defeat the ideology of Islamic Fascism, the long war in Iraq may have been a blessing and a curse. Its truth is yet to be written and its benefits yet unseen, but can be fathomed if we take a few moments to look past the immediate history into the originating concept: to drain the swamp.

The left totally dismissed the strategic necessities and benefits of taking the war to Iraq; a nation that supported terrorists, that defied international law, was clearly an enemy in our rear that could threaten our necessary resources (ie, oil and trade routes) while we were otherwise engaged in Afghanistan, that was taking many military resources to maintain no-fly zones and sanctions and, finally, that was strategically placed right in the middle of all known terrorist supporting states as well as held an ideological value for being the once center of the hoped for return of the caliphate. Two of the states, Iran and Saudi Arabia, by dent of their religiously based law, rule and adherence to religious ideology that creates such enemies, are in need of an adjustment, but are states whom invading creates a whole other conundrum both in the international political world as well as economically for the United States and many others.

Recalling the original strategy as stated by the now infamous and much maligned Rumsfeld, it called for "draining the swamp". Most people tended to disregard or misinterpret what or how that was going to be accomplished. Maybe because they did not have the fore sight or because it was politically expedient to ignore it because it was general enough to be shaped into many possible policies. "Draining the swamp" was not simply about killing al Qaeda in Afghanistan, killing bin Laden or Zawahiri, nor simply implementing democracy in Afghanistan. The only way that "draining the swamp" was going to happen was by placing the battle dead center of the battle space at the deepest part of the pool.

Historically, Iraq has always been a crossroads for many different ethnicities and religions. Baghdad was once chosen by the Caliphs as the seat of their empire because it was the center. It remained the capitol for millenia throughout multiple dynasties before the Ottoman's determined that Istanbul was more appropriate with its control of the Bosporus and a gateway for trade and economic strength. During the time that Baghdad was the capitol, it saw many struggles between these multiple groups to control it. It was once said that, "he who controls Baghdad, controls the caliphate."

In today's struggle, not only did Iraq, thus Baghdad, represent an enemy in the rear of US combat with the potential to strike at or interfere with resources necessary to conduct the battle in Afghanistan, it represented a geographic and historic center of the Islamic world. A center that had the potential to influence the region just by its location. But, it also represented a historical center whose importance could not be ignored by an Islamist enemy whose stated goal was the establishment of a New Caliphate. The loss of this center to the United States and Democracy would be more than losing a potential ally, a place to recruit and a place to refit and reorganize. It would be a dagger in the heart of their stated goals and the loss of a historically significant place in the narrative they wished to build.

It may even have been a strategic goal of the Islamists long before the battle began in 2003. In his 1998 Fatwa calling for jihad against Jews and Christian Crusaders, bin laden mentioned Iraq and its people more times than he mentioned any other nation or even the struggle of the Palestinians. Most likely in an attempt to be seen as defenders of all of the Arab Muslim people, but also as an attempt to energize the people of Iraq to adopt his position and join his movement; whether as individuals or as a nation. Bin Laden and Zawahiri are many things, but they are not stupid. They also recognized the potential for Iraq to be the spoiler in the Middle East and its already proven ability to take on and scare the regional players. In fact, having already invaded Kuwait and threatened Saudi Arabia in 1990-91.

For Iraqis, their place in history and the current battle had been sealed for over 1200 years. Yet, as a nation, they had yet to achieve a true position of power because of the very things that plague them now. Largely, they have struggled between their various allegiances to religious and political powers outside their nation and their identity as "Iraq". They have historically fell prey to these various factions and used them to gain power over their fellow Iraqis, subjugating those who are not of their religion or ethnic base. At the same time, giving away their true power to outside entities.

The only movement that had once tried to overcome these fault lines, Ba'athist Nationalists, found itself unable to do so and turned into the very thing that it had once hoped to overcome: a factional party largely representative of the Sunni-Arab population. That is mostly because it found it could not overcome the millenia defined population it sought to control and because it had imbibed the worst of nationalist tendencies. That is, it had determined that those who were not Arab or who defined themselves too closely with the "Persians" across the border, were not "pure" enough nor trustworthy enough to share power with. This led to the repressions and on-going struggles that defined Iraq for nearly sixty years and continues to fuel the "sectarian" fighting we see today.

Its a rift in Iraqi society that the Islamists have known about for decades and which they took full advantage of to see their own ends met. It was laid out in a plan by Zarqawi early on and he was easily successful in exploiting it because it was true. In fact, democracy would not and will not work until each side has determined that Iraq is a multi-faceted nation and no side should be in power when it has a singular goal of enforcing its religio/political ideology on the other and not respecting its diversity. Nor exacting revenge for eons long perceived and real damages. In that regard, it is clear that Al Qaeda in Iraq and its Islamist plan were only a catalyst to the battle and not the root cause. It means that, for Iraq to emerge whole and, possibly for once, a united nation with one allegiance, Iraq, those very fault lines once held in check by the sheer power and terror of Saddam's regime, were destined to erupt and burn until the wounds were cauterized. Or, at least, until the blood of the nation had run in the streets long enough and the children of Iraq had paid enough of a price for the misery of their parents that they finally decide they have paid the price to be free.

In some respects, the critics have been correct that the United States could not resolve a problem that was essentially an Iraqi problem. Yet, they ignored the strategic difficulties that would arise should one faction or the other become capable of totally subjugating the nation again. Or, the problems that would arise should Iraq split into three unevenly armed and resourced "states" without the power of one to defend itself. Nor, even further, the regional implications should the United States withdraw before these factional breaks were at least set on its way to mending. The fact that these ethnic and sectarian breaks would have led to a sort of proxy show down between the Arab states and the "Persian" factions leading to untold years of more unrest would have been damaging to the regional security and provided an entirely new base of possible recruits for the Islamist movement of Al Qaeda, above and beyond what people believe and fear has occurred today.

It very likely would have led to the probability that Saudi Arabia and other Arab states would have armed and financed these very groups openly, just as they had threatened in the past year. That would have made the Islamists even more powerful and more capable of attacking the United States, its interests and its allies in the region to further their stated goals. Finally, it would have left the strategic and historically significant Baghdad up for grabs, potentially under the hands of the Islamists, providing them with more than a victory over the United States, but, with an ideological legitimacy based on the ownership of the seat of the once and hoped for Caliphate.

The historical significance and the legitimacy it would have imparted on the Islamists' ideology and demands is lost on most westerners who tend to view the struggle in Iraq and all previous and recent terrorist attacks through an Anglo-centric window. For instance, September 11 (9/11) is viewed as a date whose Anglo-numeric significance has come to mean "emergency call". When, in Islamist history, it is the date that the Islamic Empire stormed the walls of Vienna, Austria. Had that attack on Vienna succeeded so many centuries ago, it would have collapsed the center of Christian Europe and the most powerful economic, military and political force in Europe at that time, leaving Europe open for the final conquest by Islam. Islam would have been the religion of the West, the "enlightenment" and "renaissance" would have disappeared and democracy would never have taken a breath.

Had the attacks on the United States been more successful, it may have led to a similar fate. Or, at least, a reduction in economic capability that would have placed the many Middle East nations and even Europe in significant danger. The only thing that was different was the geographic location of the "center" of the Anglo-Christian world as the Islamists perceived it. The attacks on London on July 7 (7/7) and on Madrid March 11 (3/11) have similar historical dates in common. It is these dates that have played a significant role in the planning and execution of major attacks as well as their strategic location. In their view, the advancement of the world and its political evolution has not changed the realities or importance of the lessons from the past.

It is all well and good for westerners to not place as much significance on these dates based on our modern view of history, but it totally ignores that significance when it comes to the development of the Islamist ideology. This ideology places much significance on the historical rise and decline of the Islamic world, coupled with religious instruction that they believe explains the phenomena as well as points to the eventual resurgence of the Islamic world. It is these tools that they use to educate and recruit their followers. It is these tools which they use to garner legitimacy, particularly among the "educated" in Saudi Arabia, Egypt and other fairly well advanced societies (for the region) because their education is steeped in similar religio-histiographic, sometimes mythologized, "truths".

Still, some realities have not changed and this is why the Islamist movement has translated the strategic history of Islamic military endeavors into modern day strategy. In early 2006, Zawahiri had urged Zarqawi to branch out into "the Levant", the historical name for the area that encompasses the Sinai peninsula in Egypt, Gaza, Israel, part of Syria and Lebanon. This area controls the Suez Canal and the eastern shore of the Mediterranean. A choke point for trade coming from east Africa, the Middle East, India and even Russia to Europe and the United States. It is why the Islamists have a long term plan to recruit followers and overthrow the Spanish government one day. Or, at least, to cause much havoc within the nation with the possibility of interdicting trade through the Straits of Gibalter. These two places represent a choke point, not only in trade, but military transiting and, most important, economic stability for the Anglo centric world.

In the same vein, Iraq and Baghdad represents the same for the Islamists as it does for the United States and its coalition partners. Namely, that it represents a geographic, economic, political and even historically important crossroads in the region with the ability to have a long term influence on the future of the region. In the end, Iraq and, thus, Baghdad, were destined to be a combat theater in the fight against Islamist extremists and their ideology. The only question was when.

From those that oppose the actions in Iraq, beyond the determined denial of any part of the Islamist ideology as an important signifier of future strategies, the argument has consistently been to deny Iraq and Baghdad their role and insist that the "real war" against terrorism was in Afghanistan and along the Pakistani border. This strategy believes that the fight is limited to only certain actors and that the destruction or reduction of those particular actors means the destruction or reduction of, at least, their ability to act in any significant way against the United States or its allies. The opposition bases their theory on a belief that the Islamist ideology and these non-state actors do not represent as great a threat to the United States and Western allies so much as other nation states and their movements to arm or otherwise take political/economic advantage of our distraction. They are willing to take certain hits and death of their citizens as a small sacrifice compared to the possible future where the position of the west is weakened economically, militarily and diplomatically from an extended military adventure in Iraq.

In short, they are willing to fight an even longer battle of attrition among individuals or small groups while maintaining forces capable of militarily destructing any nation state that may actually show an inclination towards or become an Islamist state. They also want to maintain the capability to fight off any military or political action by other non-Islamic nation-states such as China or even Russia that may want to use the distraction to further their control of other equally important economic and strategic areas or nations.

While the Iraq combat theater has tied up many of our forces and has been harsh on our equipment, using up some reserve supplies, it has not necessarily damaged our ability for projecting power via long range weapons and air craft carriers. Bombers and many fighter jets remain capable along with submarines and other weapons. The question may be whether we are in a vulnerable position regarding man power or land based equipment. That necessity in deterring Iran or China, for instance, is not our primary deterrence though either may act like it.

In either case, Afghanistan was never going to be and never will be the center of struggle, either for the Islamists, the right or the left. It is merely one small combat front that provided a low grade battlefield that had little significance or influence on the rest of the region. Except, of course, without Iraq, it would have turned into the major training ground for terrorist Islamists and probably caused Pakistan, a nuclear state, to be even more unstable from the influx of Islamists and the even more advanced radicalization of its population. The possibility of a Pakistan Nuclear state falling into the hands of Islamists with a bloody civil war that killed hundreds of thousands was even more of a threat than Baghdad or Iraq. Further, a direct attack on such a state by the United States or the west would have been harder, longer and even more bloody. Unless, of course, the strategy simply called for letting Pakistan fall and then having India as a counter that would turn the region into a mini-cold war with Kashmir and the Muslim Indian population between them. Additionally, while its economic and political influence on the Middle East would have been minimal, such a state providing nuclear technology to other rogue states was equally threatening. The last problem is whether a nuclear Islamic state is stable or in any way sane enough to see nuclear weapons as a largely unused strategic deterrence as opposed to an offensive weapon to subjugate or destroy world populations.

In the final estimation, opening a second front in Iraq and placing it at the center of the strategy to defeat the Islamist ideology presented a number of advantages, even while some strategic advantages against other Nation States was lost. Primarily, it represented the exact possibilities for the United States as it did for the Islamists: the possibility to control the geographic center of the Islamic Middle East and use it to control or influence the region militarily, economically and politically. Second, it forced the Islamists to split their material and human resources to confront the United States in Iraq. Based on both the ancient and recent historical importance of Iraq, the Islamists could not ignore this move.

Third, it forced them to speed up their own planning and operations. While some may lament this quickened path, it is not always a disadvantage to cause the enemy to move up operations or re-think their strategy. It forces them to move and make mistakes; mistakes that can be taken advantage of even if our own actions are sometimes "mistakes". As Sun Tzu once noted, the winner of a battle is not always the one that is better equipped, has the best strategic position or the most capable. It is the person that makes the least mistakes. And, just as importantly, can take advantage of their enemy's "mistakes". Fourth, it forced them to try to implement their ideology as more than a guerrilla manifest, but as an actual governing ideology that would create one or more enclaves of "rightly guided" "emirates" convincing others to follow and enforcing the rules that they believed were the epitome of this "new Caliphate". This they tried to implement throughout many areas of Iraq without educated or well indoctrinated forces that, instead, placed draconian rules on the population while the "enforcers" lived less than exemplary lives taking drugs, raping women, killing innocents and so on, that were expressly forbidden even in their own ideological history. In the end, they have been unable to establish these places for long and they are being rejected for their "takfiri" barbarism.

The failure to establish such areas in Iraq and to appear to be a just defender of the people is a failure that Mao once noted would keep such guerrilla forces from becoming a "legitimate" army "of" the people. They would remain, in his words, "rogue bands of criminals" who would eventually find themselves unwelcome and sought after even by those they once thought to incorporate and control. In fact, one of the major failures of the al Qaeda in Iraq activities was putting an Iraqi face on their endeavors. Most of al Qaeda leadership was from the outside; from other nations. Once "Omar Baghdadi" was outed as a fictitious person and not the "face of Iraq" they hoped to establish, al Qaeda's efforts were doomed to failure. Assisted by their continuing attacks against Iraqis of all sects, without mercy or compassion and including alleged allies that they deemed "traitors". Once those attacks became routine policy for Al Qaeda and the "Islamic State of Iraq", they had effectively cut off their welcome as guests. Something that Zawahiri and Zarqawi both feared would occur.

Fifth, it took some pressure off of Musharef and his generally secular government, allowing him to re-enforce his power base and secure his nuclear technology that had already begun to filter out of the state. Even though, Pakistan is still not the most stable nation and recent actions by the Pakistan courts indicate that Musharef's reign may not be for ever nor the staving off of a potential Islamist government that would not be conducive to US policy. This reality is what spurs both the Taliban/Al Qaeda forces in Waziristan to pick up in their offensive against coalition forces in Afghanistan, the recent rebellion at the al Masjid "Red Mosque" in Islamabad and the Coalition assistance to Pakistani forces in thinning out the Islamists in Waziristan.

The battle front may soon switch from Iraq to Afghanistan as a central front. Al Qaeda in Iraq has been losing its foot holds among the Iraqis and their "emirates" have collapsed as previous allies have turned on them. This will not be the "final" defeat for al Qaeda that will result in their total collapse, but it will be a set back to their original intentions in the region. From there they will fall back to their current protected base in the Pakistani border lands preparing to confront, defend and, possibly, push for a fight inside Pakistan as we see today.

The last equation that needs to be answered in regards to the strategy and bloody battle that has been and continues to be Iraq, is the long known and obvious outcome of any war with the Islamists and al Qaeda, was the recruiting of fighters. The fact of the matter is that this recruitment was going to take place whether the main battle was in Afghanistan or Iraq. For over a decade Islamists, particularly al Qaeda, have been working to recruit young men to their cause. These methods have increasingly evolved throughout the same period. During the current battles in Iraq and Afghanistan, this evolution has included the development of internet networks and propaganda videos released on free platforms like YouTube. This evolution may have been quickened by the battle in Iraq, but may also have been simply been in conjunction with the technological growth of these tools.

The numbers of those recruited are certainly a result of the ongoing battles. Whether they would have occurred with only a battle in Afghanistan and how fast it would have occurred is definitely a question that should be asked. However, it would be inaccurate and misleading to suppose that it would not have happened at all. Neither is it potentially an outcome that is strategically wrong at this time. The strategy to "drain the swamp" literally meant to pull in any known or would be Islamists to kill or capture while simultaneously instituting a system of governance and instilling an opposing ideology to counter the Islamists. Further, it may be better now to destroy or dissuade would be adherents earlier rather than later when the Islamists may have developed a larger force over a longer period of time that was largely intact as the other strategy called for a long, slow and limited attrition of leadership elements. Even today, in the decentralized organization that is Al Qaeda and the general Islamist movement, such deaths have not meant a change or destruction of ideology.

In the end, for the Islamist ideology to to be discredited, it had to be discredited as a "legitimate" military force that laid its claim to victory against the USSR and attempted the same against the United States as well as a "legitimate" system of governance for any body of people. The deaths of many would be mujaheddin and the strategic loss of Iraq was a necessary purge. While it may not result in the immediate death of the Islamist ideology, their long term plans or their ability to adapt and implement a new strategy that may include establishing an emirate in Pakistan have been damaged. Sadly, for the greater Arab and Muslim population to discover that Al Qaeda and the Islamist ideology is a losing proposition, it may take many more deaths before the Islamists of both the Shia and Salafist Sunni variety are not longer looked upon as the heroic underdogs fighting in defense of Islam, but as the destroyers or "takfiri" that Mohammed once warned his followers about. As seen in Iraq, the people who will pay most dearly for this lesson will be the Muslim population of the Middle East at the hands of their alleged defenders who have shown a willingness to kill their own and damage their own places more than they currently can any western nation. It may mean that these very people will have to experience the "joys" of Islamist rule as seen by these extremists many more times, enslaved and murdered for the least offense, before they recognize that such slavery is worse than any perceived slight or intrinsic damages caused by the infiltration of western culture into their enclosed societies.

As Lincoln once noted:

Fondly do we hope—fervently do we pray—that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue, until all the wealth piled by the bond-men’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash, shall be paid by another drawn by the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said “the judgments of the Lord, are true and righteous altogether.”

As Lincoln surmised, it is not only the enslaved nor the opposing forces that paid the price, but those who stood by believing that the enslaved deserved their condition and tacitly, or sometimes openly, gave their support for that enslavement. That price is in blood and it maybe that this is only the first of several installments. It may also be that this first bloody fight is the necessary catalyst for each group to evaluate their culpability over the long years. Others may believe they owe nothing, but the taint of totalitarian, fascist slavery as enacted by Saddam Hussein, supported by many current regimes and sought by the Islamists is wide and deep. It's a taint that history indicates can only be washed away by blood.

See also:
Al Qaeda's War For Oil and Other Things
Baghdad, Center of Jihad
Jihadis Agree, Fight In Iraq Central to Strategy
Why al Qaeda is Fighting in Iraq
Information War: Muslim Mushy Middle
Al Qaeda's Evolving Plans
Partisan Politics Spell Defeat for Islamists In Iraq: 11/05
Al Qaeda's Growing Public Relations Problem In Iraq: 11/05
Two Views of War: Quantraill's Raiders
Al Qaeda In Iraq: Power Struggles: 07/05
Battle For Baghdad: Zarqawi on the Offensive: 05/2006
Battle For Baghdad: Zarqawi's Alamo: 05/2006

Beyond Iraq

I posted all of these old links for reference on why I believe the above to be true. Just as importantly, I've been watching the events in Iraq since the moment we invaded. I believed strongly then, as I do now, that Iraq is a pivotal center for the war. Not because Saddam was a card carrying member of Al Qaeda, but because it had significant strategic importance as I wrote many times throughout the history of this blog. I also wanted to point out that, while the "new" strategy is seemingly instantaneously successful, without taking anything away from Petraeus and his advisers, the seeds for the current events were sown a long time ago even as the Democrats and other opponents have been calling for retreat. It's been a long hard struggle. It may still have another year to wrap it up or it could turn hot with a third war against the Iranian proxies or Iran itself. The story of Iraq is not finished by a long shot. It is simply starting a new chapter that was predicted for several years and took the hard work, blood, sweat and tears of many to bring it about.

As noted, its not just about who makes the least mistakes. Petraeus' strategy takes advantage of the real mistakes that Al Qaeda and its various adherents made throughout the war as well as the hard work of many of those Americans and Iraqis who came before. The final mistake, however, is ours to make. We can withdraw now on the cusp of victory, or we can finish what we started and prepare for the next battle front. This front may be hot and heavy with combat forces or it may seem luke warm with various counter-terrorist activities continuing through legal methods as well as many small groups of clandestine warriors in places you will never hear of.

In 2005, based on intelligence gathered through captures of various documents, including several letters from Zawahiri where he directs Zarqawi to begin moving operations beyond Iraq (largely preparing for the possibility that Al Qaeda would not be successful or would only hold a moderate space in Iraq and would need to expand it), I predicted that Egypt, the Sinai, Gaza, the West Bank and even Lebanon were on the hit list. Zawahiri told Zarqawi to move into the "Levant". Recent events and those over the last two years have shown this prediction to be correct as Fatah al Islam was holed up and subsequently attacked in Lebanon. It's also know that Fatah al Islam is making in roads in the West Bank due to the incompetence and corruption of Abbas' government, weakened considerably by their fall out with Hamas that now controls Gaza.

This prediction was not really the result of any in depth knowledge of terrorism or Al Qaeda beyond reading the terrorists correspondence and other documents released by the military. Their plans have been known for a long time. That is why when they said that Iraq was a central front in their war I believed that we should stay and fight for it. There is one consistency from Al Qaeda: they are not shy about stating their exact plans and they generally try to follow through with them.

I predicted that Egypt would be next after that and it may still be. But, I did leave off one important state, not understanding the true conditions until the last six months. That is Pakistan with its nuclear weapons, coming "elections" and rather large contingency of Islamic fundamentalists that have been routinely facing off with the government. The "Levant" (Sinai, Gaza, West Bank, Israel, part of Jordan, Part of Syria and Lebanon) may indeed be an important upcoming battle front. While many complain about letting go the aid we were withholding from Abbas' government because they are still regarded as "terrorists", its obvious we decided to bolster their ability to "govern" (more like "pay off") the Palestinian polity and secure the area against continuing infiltration by this Al Qaeda affiliate known as Fatah Al Islam.

Yet, Pakistan is also an immediate concern as it has several of the necessary key components:

1) Restricted, largely inaccessible area where Al Qaeda can organize, re-fit, train and make attacks from.
2) Group of people who are ideologically similar and offer protection.
3) Access to resources (largely via black market and corrupt military)
4) A divided population whose fault lines provide the cover Al Qaeda needs to establish themselves as a "defender of the faithful", thus garnering support among the locals and across the Islamic world.

Finally, Pakistan's nuclear weapons make a tasty bait for those that are looking for some strategic advantage that they are currently unable to create for themselves. The acquisition of biological or radioactive weapons of mass destruction has been an Al Qaeda major strategy since before 9/11 as noted by videos discovered in Afghanistan at an Al Qaeda camp at the beginning of the invasion, October 2001. These videos showed Al Qaeda testing biological weapons on animals in cages. This fear of their potential capabilities assisted by a country such as Iraq, widely suspected of having WMD, is one of the key reasons the President had ordered the invasion of Iraq. There is a potential here for Pakistan to do the same, knowing or unknowing.

This fear has prompted the US to put extreme pressure on Pakistan to assist in clearing the tribal areas in Waziristan as well as launching attacks against known strongholds. The possibility that al Qaeda could rise with their hosts and cause a civil war in Pakistan is a high possibility, decidedly dangerous and ultimately disastrous for the US war on terror. It is also a reason why the British may have determined that they now need to move their forces from Iraq into Afghanistan, above and beyond any anti-Iraq sentiments among the Prime Minister's constituents.

President Bush said at the beginning of this fight against the Islamists that this was a war that will span generations. He was right. But it isn't just generations of Americans that are at risk. It is the generations of many nations that will pay the price to prevent the Islamic Fascism from spreading. It will be a hard sell in many Middle Eastern nations who have made "Mein Kampf" a best seller in that region. Like the German's who came before them and who latched onto an evil ideology and leader as the "savior" of its people, many more Muslim's from the Middle East will have to pay the price for entertaining the same kind of totalitarian, fascist ideology. These people will also discover that, far from this payment being the result of Western actions, it will be those that they believe are their saviors that do most of the killing of their own people because they are not "pure enough" for this vaunted new state.

Someday, these very same people may produce a poet who can only look back and lament :

Als die Nazis die Kommunisten holten,
habe ich geschwiegen;
ich war ja kein Kommunist.

Als sie die Sozialdemokraten einsperrten,
habe ich geschwiegen;
ich war ja kein Sozialdemokrat.

Als sie die Gewerkschafter holten,
habe ich nicht protestiert;
ich war ja kein Gewerkschafter.

Als sie die Juden holten,
habe ich geschwiegen;
ich war ja kein Jude.

Als sie mich holten,
gab es keinen mehr, der protestieren konnte.

Translation found here: First They Came...

1 comment:

David M said...

Trackbacked by The Thunder Run - Web Reconnaissance for 08/29/2007
A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the check back often.