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The Message In The Baghdad Bombing?

August  25  2003

If terrorism is the murder of innocents for political ends, Aug. 19 was the Day of the Terrorist.

In Jerusalem, a suicide bomber blew up a bus packed with Orthodox Jews. In Baghdad, a terrorist drove a truckload of bombs into the hotel-headquarters of the United Nations. Forty perished in the two attacks, 20 are still missing in Baghdad, over 200 were wounded.

Both were acts of pure terror, massacres of noncombatants. But as the World Trade Center attacks bore a message United States out of Saudi Arabia! so, too, did these twin massacres. Far from being "senseless acts of violence," they were savagely purposeful.

With the Jerusalem atrocity, Islamic Jihad and Hamas were paying Israel back for killing their leaders and using terror to say, "This is the price of your continued presence on Palestinian land." But what was the message of that bombing in Baghdad?

It is this: America's enemies in Iraq have decided to escalate, and widen, the war. Not only are they targeting U.S. soldiers, but, by car-bombing the Jordanian embassy, blowing up the oil pipeline to Turkey and the water main in Baghdad, and truck-bombing the U.N. headquarters, they mean to sabotage the U.S. reconstruction of Iraq.

Message: He who is not with us is against us. All collaborators in the U.S. occupation and reconstruction of Iraq, be they U.N. aid workers or Iraqi employees, will henceforth be regarded as enemies.

With Islamic radicals now pouring into Iraq from Syria, Iran, Turkey and Saudi Arabia, to join the anti-American guerrillas who are daily attacking our troops, we are in a new war.

For months on end before we invaded, some of us warned that if we occupied Baghdad, the call would go out in the mosques from Morocco to Malaysia for Islam's young to go to Iraq and wage jihad against America. What we predicted has now come to pass.

President Bush should go back and discover who misled him into believing the Iraqis would welcome us as liberators and that democracy would flourish in the Islamic world. If the creation of a democratic Iraq seemed a utopian goal before last week, today it is hard to see even a glimmer of light at the end of this tunnel.

Sen. John McCain is urging President Bush to add more troops to the 146,000 in Iraq. But it is a law of guerrilla war that the defending power needs 10 soldiers for every guerrilla. If 5,000 warriors of Islam make their way into Iraq, are we ready to add 50,000 more troops? Where do we get them? What do we do if the Islamic jihadists and the Iraqi guerrillas recruit another 10,000?

A second rule of Fourth Generation warfare, as strategist Bill Lind has named it, is that the guerrillas win if they do not lose.

Our enemies in Iraq Baathists, jihadists, former soldiers, humiliated Sunnis, religious zealots need only to keep attacking and killing Americans and terrorizing civilians who work with us to prevent us from reconstructing the country. Thus, the issue becomes a simple one: Will they tire of fighting and killing us before we tire of paying in blood and treasure for what seems a hopeless endeavor?

The difference between us and the Israelis is that we do not live in the neighborhood, we have no desire to occupy Arab land and our survival as a nation is not at risk in Iraq. We can go home.

But if the Israelis who considered southern Lebanon vital to their security could, fed up with the cost in blood, turn it over to Hezbollah, how long before we declare the democratization of Iraq mission impossible, turn it over to the United Nations and walk away?

As we now know, Saddam was not Osama's ally, and Iraq had no role in 9-11 or the anthrax attack and had no nuclear weapons program, no arsenal of weapons of mass destruction and no plans or any intent to attack the United States. It was an utterly unnecessary war.

But because President Bush launched this war, we now have 146,000 soldiers tied down in Iraq under daily attack and we face a $300 billion to $600 billion reconstruction effort while we must combat Iraqi guerrillas who want to drive us out and Islamic terrorists who want to smash our effort to build a new nation for the Iraqi people.

The neoconservatives who plotted this war before they ever met George Bush, and who prodded and pushed him into it, are now pushing for confrontation with Syria, Iran and Saudi Arabia. Their agenda is not now and has never been America's agenda. President Bush would be well advised to clean house of these neocons and go talk to the Old Man in Kennebunkport about what we should do now.

His father may not have understood politics, but he understood the world better than the crazed ideologues who captured his son.

2003 Creators Syndicate, Inc.

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